Gogoro, the Taiwan-based company founded by ex-HTC staffers and funded in part by HTC co-founder Cher Wang, drummed up a lot of buzz at CES this January with its futuristic all-electric Smartscooter — but the company hadn't announced when or where the bike would launch. Now, we know: it'll hit Taipei City and the greater New Taipei City region, right in Gogoro's backyard, this summer.
No pricing information yet
Before that summer launch, Gogoro is opening a retail store this week in Taipei that's designed to educate potential customers on what the product is all about. That'll be particularly important here because you can't just plug the Smartscooter in — you have to subscribe to a plan that lets you swap batteries in and out of kiosks placed throughout the city as you need them. Two of the batteries, designed in partnership with Panasonic, slip into docks underneath the Smartscooter's seat. The company is also launching a pilot program that'll let 100 riders effectively "beta test" the scooter and its infrastructure leading up to the summer launch, intended to help iron out the kinks.
Inside Gogoro's Taipei store.
Pricing hasn't been announced, but Gogoro had previously stated that it expected the Smartscooter to sell for roughly the same as a competing gas scooter because the very expensive batteries aren't included — you get them on a subscription plan in lieu of gasoline. Additionally, Taipei will be offering buyers some incentives that should lower the bill.
Of course, Taipei is just a single market, and unlike other scooters, you can't just buy a Smartscooter and use it somewhere else — it needs to be used where the infrastructure to support it exists. There's nothing on the schedule yet, but Gogoro says it hasn't ruled out additional launches in other cities around the world for later in 2015.