Has the future arrived as Gogoro sets out to conquer Japan?

About a year ago, we wrote about a brand new company coming out of Taiwan that may just reshape the future of electric propulsion in cars...

About a year ago, we wrote about a brand new company coming out of Taiwan that may just reshape the future of electric propulsion in cars, and it doesn’t even make cars; no, it makes Scooters. (Read also: Is this the Tesla of Scooters?) Well, just twelve short months later, Gogoro has announced a JV with Japanese giant, Sumitomo, to launch its battery-sharing scooter service in Japan, and compete head-to-head with industry giants such as Honda.

This really could be the future of transportation. 

Gogoro is really the new kid on the block; so new that it is still referred to as a start-up, but it is amongst a growing legion of companies that are trying to take on the established giants in their own backyards. Thus far, most have focussed on the very cute/neat little scooter that Gogoro has been manufacturing, which is really designed for getting around town in a low-emission way, but this is not what the company is about; it is all about batteries and sharing them around.

One of the biggest problems with EVs is the recharge. It doesn’t take a few minutes like when you pump petrol into your car—it takes hours. So, range anxiety is a key mental block that stops people from investing in EVs. Where Gogoro is different is that you don’t own the battery—you rent it—and when you need it recharged, an app on your phone simply tells you that you need to replace the battery and then directs you to the nearest available battery.

 Who isn’t controlled by apps these days?

It is brilliant really; just a few moments in the re-charge station and you are on way again. Gogoro wouldn’t describe itself as a scooter company, probably not even as a transport company, but more of a battery company. So what is stopping the universal adoption of its method, well apart from the complete lack of a common battery architecture and use of completely different battery configuration? Probably the main problem is because all the car companies are trying NOT to share too much, with the exception of Tesla of course.

As easy as going to a 7-11 then.

So far, Gogoro has raised USD300 million from Sumitomo and Singapore’s Temasek, along with funds from Panasonic, who are the battery manufacturer. And with that much horsepower behind you, perhaps this time it can create enough sparks to create a lot of change, and start to get automakers to adopt the battery infrastructure that it is creating.


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