For those of you, who missed the news the first time around, the Smartscooter by Gogoro is a sleek, high-tech two wheeler, which comes with all the extras one could possibly desire from such a transport mode. But while many, including some electric bikes, already offer numerous of little gadgets and smartphone apps, Gogoro’s two-wheeler has a special twist. It comes with its very own, one-of-a-kind, no-plugin charging system- a charging station, where the owner can swap the empty battery for a full one- in a matter of seconds.
When I first introduced the concept, there were a lot of uncertainties circulating in the air. Yes, huge investment was secured, and yes, the idea was definitely a profitable one, but the price of construction of the charging stations seemed a bit too high to make the installation of a sufficient number of those around feasible.
Well, it seems all fears and negativism was pointless, because the makers of the Smartscooter just announced that it is officially available to pre-order on 27 June in Taipei, Taiwan. It comes at a price of $4,140, at which owners receive the scooter, along with theft insurance for one year, free-of-charge maintenance for two years, and two years of unlimited access to the no plug-in charging stations.
Now, there are still some down sides. Firstly, the only way to recharge the battery of your scooter is by visiting one of the company’s newly installed stations. Yes, the benefit is the super-speedy battery swap, and I guess this is a way to secure the return of investment in all charging stations, but many could question whether owners, who do have some spare hours, should not be able to recharge whenever convenient.
Another uncertainty surrounds that two year period. Yes, there will be free maintenance, and yes the charging stations can be used free of charge any time of the day, but no one knows what will happen after these two years, and how much they will have to pay for making use of the charging stations.
Nevertheless, the reception by citizens of Taipei has been incredible, according to Gogoro’s founder and CEO, Horace Luke. Whether he is right or not, however, we will have to wait and see. I guess, it all depends on that network of charging stations, and how conveniently they are situated around the city to allow the necessary freedom.
Image (c) Gogoro