Gogoro is expanding the electric scooter-sharing service it launched in Berlin last August. 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 run 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 pricing will remain the 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), with basic insurance included.
The head-turning electric scooters have a top speed of around 60 miles per hour, a beautiful digital dashboard, and smartphone connectivity. They were originally unveiled at CES 2015, but have so far only been sold in scooter-friendly Taiwan.
What make Gogoro’s scooters different from other electric options are the batteries, which are easy to swap. Much like 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. That has powered more than 45 million miles of riding on about 18,000 scooters, Gogoro says.
Success in Berlin and Taiwan 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 information to share on proposed rollouts in places like Amsterdam, which was supposed to get the scooters in some form in 2016.
Gogoro looked like a pioneering force in the electric section of the scooter market way back at the beginning of 2015. The impressive design — along with the battery swap technology and scooter-sharing solution — give the company an edge over charge-only options like BMW’s electric C Evolution scooter (though the BMW C Evolution is admittedly more powerful). But more legacy competition is coming: an all-electric Vespa is slated to roll out later this year.