Fast-growing metropolises in Asia, such as Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City, use scooters as the primary mode of commuting and the environment is notoriously polluted, mainly because majority of the vehicles lack good emission standards. Eco-friendly, lightweight and easy-to-charge vehicles would go a long way towards addressing this massive problem of air-pollution in Asian mega-cities.
Though electric vehicles can fix these issues, they take a long time to charge and most people can’t afford a Tesla- so Taiwanese startup Gogoro founded by ex-HTC executives has just unveiled a zippy electric scooter dubbed smartscooter that is accessible to the majority of city dwellers.
The Gogoro Battery
Gogoro founders Horace Luke and Matt taylor have designed not only an electric scooter from scratch, but have also partnered with Panasonic to deliver interchangeable, NFC-enabled battery packs , and swapping stations to recharge them. Gogoro plans to set up every swapping station within a square mile of its neighbor, in places you might expect like gas stations, parking lots and even in convenience stores. Unlike the Tesla battery, Gogoro’ dark gray battery has the same weight as a bowling ball, equipped with an ergonomic bright green handle on one end. If a scooter is low of power, you would drop by GoStations placed strategically around a city, grab both batteries from underneath the seat, and pop them into the ATM-sized battery swapping station’s spring-loaded slots.
The kiosk identifies you based on the batteries’ unique IDs, welcomes you with a message, scans for any warnings or problems related to your scooter, offers service options and ejects a fresh set of batteries, all in a matter of about six seconds. By signing in for a monthly subscription plan, you will be able to access as many batteries as needed.
The Gogoro smartscooter can hit 50 km/h in just 4.2 seconds and has a max speed of 60mph. The ultra lightweight smartscooter will be showcased at the Consumers Electronics Show 2015 in Las Vegas. Crafted from aluminum, the 207.3 pounds ultra-weight smartscooter is equipped with 30 onboard sensors. You can check on your smartscooter from a preloaded smartphone app like when the battery needs to be replaced, at which point they’ll be directed to the nearest charging station and so on. The app also allows you to customize the display and color of the dashboard.
The smartscooter is powered by the Gogoro G1 motor which is about the size of a football and has highest performance of 8.58 hp at 4,000 rpm with 25 Nm of torque at 0-2, 250 rpm. And what’s more, the smartscooter is water resistant.