Gogoro is expanding the electric scooter-sharing service it launched last August in Berlin. The Taiwanese company will add 800 scooters to the network starting April 1st, bringing the total available number to 1,000. The company which is handled by former HTC executive Horace Luke started the scooter-sharing program last year as a trial with Coup, a subsidiary of electronics giant Bosch. That partnership will continue, and the cost will remain same after the expansion, €20 gets you a full day of riding, or Berliners can pay for just 30 minutes that’s about $22.50 and $3.40, respectively, including basic insurance.
The head-turning electric scooters have a top speed of around 60 miles per hour, smartphone connectivity and a beautiful digital dashboard. They were originally revealed at CES 2015, but have so far only been sold in scooter-friendly Taiwan. Batteries are the one that makes Gogoro’s scooters different from other electric options, which are easy to swap. Similar to the battery swap plan that Tesla abandoned, the benefit is supposed to be that riders rarely have to worry about charging times. Instead, you just hit up a battery swap kiosk when you’re low on juice and swap in a few that are fully charged.
Gogoro says that riders swap up to 12,000 batteries at 300 charging stations every day in Taiwan, accounting for almost 3 million battery swaps since the company launched the scooters in 2015. Gogoro says that has powered more than 45 million miles of riding on about 18,000 scooters. Success in Taiwan and Berlin shows that there’s demand in the right places, and Jason Gordon, Gogoro’s vice president of communications, says “2017 is going to be a very busy year” for the company. But Gogoro had no more data or information to share on proposed rollouts in places like Amsterdam, which was supposed to get the scooters in some form in 2016.
Gogoro seemed like a pioneering force in the electric area of the scooter market way back at the beginning of 2015. The impressive design along with the scooter-sharing solution and battery swap technology and give the company an edge over charge-only options like BMW’s electric C Evolution scooter. But more legacy competition is coming: an all-electric Vespa is slated to roll out later this year.