The Scooter That Could Make Battery Swapping Work Costs $4K

The Scooter That Could Make Battery Swapping Work Costs $4K
Posted under: Fuzion X-3 Pro Scooter, Red
From Wired - June 17, 2015

The company that believes it can transform how people move around cities and how we store and use electricity has announced its debut product, the all-electric SmartScooter, will cost $4,140 to pre-order in Taiwan.

Gogoro is the long-hyped, well-funded (to the tune of $150 million) startup that revealed the Smartscooter at CES this year. The ride is sleek and boasts impressive stats, but the real innovation is the system that lets customers swap depleted batteries for fresh ones at stations located at convenient intervals.

Battery swapping for electric cars has a troubled history (see: Better Place), but Gogoro has good reason to think it can work here. The Smartscooters batteries weigh just 20 pounds and are easily accessible, so you dont need a complicated and expensive machine to swap it out. A rider can pull them out himself, throw them in the station, and grab two fresh ones. Based on a Gogoro demo, the whole process should take six seconds.

The stations, which hold eight batteries, are about the size of an ATM and will cost under $10,000 to install. They can be added as demand increases. CEO Horace Luke calls it modular capital investment. And they make the question of charging timesa significant problem EV adoptioninsignificant. It doesnt matter how long a battery takes to charge if its fully loaded when you pick it up. We no longer want to talk about charge time, Luke says. We want to talk about swap time.

The $4,100 price point, announced at a press conference today, is well north of what customers now pay for the small gas-powered scooters Gogoro wants to replace. It does come with a year of theft insurance and two years of maintenance and servicing, according to The Verge. Crucially, it also includes two years of unlimited access to fresh batteries, so at least customers dont have to worry about gas money anymore.

The scooters are available only in Taipei to start (where the company has been running a pilot project for about three months). Gogoro has plans to expand internationally, but hasnt revealed its next destination.

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