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PHOTO CAPTION: Gogoro electric scooter showing simplicity of its underlying design.

Gogoro Garners More Accolades

The Gogoro electric scooter is a bold experiment in clean, pollution-free urban mobility.

Published: 12-Jun-2015

It could become the electric motor scooter equivalent to the Tesla Model S, given the ongoing level of acclaim the stylish yet elegantly simple Gogoro continues to garne: the latest being The Verges' Vlad Savov, who titled his report I never wanted a scooter until I met the Gogoro.

Noting that the "Gogoro Smartscooter earned The Verge’s Best in Show award and was universally hailed for its ambitious, potentially revolutionary vision...", Savov explained "it wasn’t until I saw the Gogoro in person that I properly understood its appeal."

For nearly two decades, various entrepreneurs have tried to develop a practical electric alternative to the classic motor scooter that was, itself, an outgrowth of the post-World War Two economic morass in Europe: Italy especially. People needed an affordable alternative to the automobile and scooters like the Vespa were the result. They are still enormously popular in Europe and Asia.

As with electric cars, batteries and their long charge times have been the hang-up. You had two choices. Go fast, but not far; or far, but not fast. In stealth mode for some three years, Gogoro not only rethought how you build an electric scooter, but how you power it and here they turned to a century old solution: battery swapping. They not only would design and build a modern, state-of-the-art smartscooter, but also a battery exchange system build around neighborhood kiosks.

Working with Panasonic, the same company that builds batteries for Tesla, Gogoro developed an easy to swap system using two battery modules that take just seconds to exchange. What Savov learned during this trip to Taipei is that in order for the company to deliver on its promise of 60 miles of range per charge, Gogoro plans to remove modules from its system after 500 recharge cycles. Those batteries will then be repurposed at least twice. With an estimated cycle life of 2,000 cycles, they will first be used "to help power data centers, home appliances, and offices." After that, they may have yet another life:

Once that second life is over, Gogoro’s aim will be to give the batteries away to impoverished areas around the world where people have no easy access to electricity.

Of course that does beg the question of what happens to them after that, since no one wants to see these communities become a dumping grown for dead batteries.

Savov concludes his article, "The Gogoro Smartscooter is a beautifully and thoughtfully designed piece of mobile technology. It has the potential to do for electric scooters what Tesla did for electric cars. "

We'll have a better idea whether or not it can live up to such high expectations when the system starts to deploy at selected cities on Taiwan later this year. Finally, be sure to see the wonderful set of photos included with Savov's article on The Verge.

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