Gogoro, the all-electric, Bluetooth-connected scooter designed in large part by former HTC staff, has announced its first launch beyond its home market of Taiwan: Amsterdam, a city well known for its love of two-wheeled things. The machine — and the network of battery swap kiosks to go along with it — is expected to launch in the first half of 2016. Pricing and other details haven't been announced, but the actual scooter will be largely the same because it had already been designed to meet European regulations, Gogoro CEO Horace Luke tells The Verge. Just as it did in Taipei, the company will be building a flagship-style "experience boutique" in Amsterdam where locals can learn about the product.
The Amsterdam announcement is part of a bigger push into Europe fueled by over $130 million in new funding that comes in part from Panasonic, Gogoro's battery cell supplier — and notably, the same company behind Tesla's cells and the Gigafactory. There aren't any cities being announced other than Amsterdam at this point, but considering how widespread scooters are across much of Europe — and the fact that Gogoro is making today's announcement at an event in Milan, Italy — it's easy to see how the company could spread across the continent if things go well in the Netherlands.
Unlike regular scooters, Gogoro must launch on a city-by-city basis because of the way its scooter works: instead of charging from a socket, buyers drive up to one of the company's battery swap kiosks to plug in two milk jug-sized batteries when they're running low. In Taipei, Luke says that there are currently around 90 of the kiosks, positioned in a variety of locations like 7-Eleven stores and near gas stations.
Back in Taipei where Gogoro launched initially, Luke says that they've achieved a 5 percent market share in the market's new scooter sales — a far cry from dominance, but perhaps not bad for a new company with a new business model and a novel powertrain. (Recent price cuts and a new, cheaper model might be helping that along.) He says that the company's machines have now driven 1 million kilometers in and around Taipei, which works out to around 620,000 miles.
As for a launch in a US city, that might be a ways off yet: Luke notes that the US market has different lighting requirements that they're still working through.