Gogoro Electric Scooter Offers Easy, Fast battery Swap

Gogoro Smartscooter 18 photos
Photo: Gogoro
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Taiwan manufacturer Gogoro looks like having solid chances of making it in a new industry niche where others have failed so far. The new Gogoro Smartscooter project is more than yet another EV in the market - it comes as a part of a complex, integrated infrastructure concept which might just be the change we’ve all been waiting.
Needless to say, the limits of electric vehicles are dictated by their batteries. While technological advances are aimed at creating batteries which can store more power more rapidly, Gogoro want to circumvent the whole obstacle by introducing a battery swapping program. Sure, the idea is not new, but Gogoro’s idea has good chances to work in the long run.

HTC is involved

Gogoro is founded by Horace Luke and his buddy Matt Taylor, both having spent a great deal of time in Microsoft’s Xbox department and in HTC’s innovation thinktanks. In fact, part of the $150 million (€) funding Gogoro drawn during the past years seems to come from HTC’s Chairwoman Cher Wang. However, money only helped put together a solid idea…

Since batteries represent around 40 percent in the cost of an EV project, ditching them from the big picture, as far as the user is concerned has a very cool effect: lower prices. The Gogoro customers will basically rent the batteries and the subscription will provide access to the charging service. So they will only pay for the scoot and battery “rent”, which is yet another cool fact.

Battery hubs, or GoStation Hubs can be installed wherever one can supply current, and thanks to their weatherproof and modular construction, they are easy to deploy and group together in places where the estimated traffic demands it. The batteries have multiple sensors inside and they communicate with the Smartscooter, rider’s smartphone and the hub network constantly, so you know when recharging is needed, and can also get directions to the nearest station.

Panasonic cells used in Tesla cars

Gogoro batteries are built with Panasonic’s 18650 lithium-ion cells which can be found inside Tesla Model S cars, and when a pair is used, they provide 100 miles (160 km) of freedom. When replacing is needed, all you have to do is park near a GoStation, take the cells out from your Smartscooter and place them in the hub.

The system will ID each user by means of a fob and seconds later two freshly-charged units will pop out. Ready to go in some 15 seconds, how does this sound? Now, users will not be able to charge batteries at home, but this is only a minor inconvenient.

Smart gets smarter

While the “smart” tag is usually applied to almost any vehicle which can link to one’s smartphone, the Gogoro Smartscooter is really upping the ante big time. It will learn each user’s riding habits and will thus be able to provide the best power deployment and regenerative braking performance. For example, it will alert users if they pull the throttle excessively while going uphill. That is, because the Smartscooter has certain limitations and trying to make it go faster than it can is… useless.

Decent tech specs

The Gogoro Smartscooter comes with a monocoque chassis, aluminium wheels with center hub locking, a 8.6 hp motor with integrated planetary gears and carbon fiber belt transmission and ride-by-wire. The scoot can produce 25 Nm (18.4 lb-ft) of torque and will do 0-50 km/h (0-31 mph) in 4.2 seconds. Riding with a heavy hand can hurl you at 95 km/h (60 mph), but the recommended speed for decent range is 40 km/h (25 mph).

Other notable features are the color customization possibilities for the dashboard, keyless ride, remote locking and unlocking, Android and iOS compatibility, auto headlights and customizable breathing effect plus a tone more.

No word on pricing on the scooter or battery subscription so far, but you could definitely get more info on the Gogoro official website. The Smartscooter has just been showed at CES 2015, so more info will flow in soon.

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