Gogoro Network to Be Spun Off as a New Entity Focusing on Smart Battery Swap Platform for E-Scooters

published: 2019-07-30 9:30 | editor: | category: News

Gogoro, Taiwan’s e-scooter manufacturer and provider of green transportation solutions, announced on July 22 that its platform for smart battery swapping known the Gogoro Network will be maintained under a separate business entity. This news comes on the heels of Gogoro forming partnerships with several brand vehicle manufacturers such as Yamaha, Aeon Motor, and PGO. In the future, these partners will be developing e-scooter models based on Gogoro’s open platform. With the number of clients serviced by the Gogoro Network approaching the 200,000 mark, Gogoro has decided it is time to establish an independent business unit dedicated to the battery swap platform and intelligent mobility services. This way, the e-scooter models from other brands but “Powered by Gogoro Network” will be able to increase their market presence and contribute to a stronger ecosystem for this particular transportation technology in Taiwan.

Since its creation, the Gogoro Network has centered on battery swapping as the principal method for range extension, while battery charging is included as the secondary option. The success of this platform has upended the previous operational paradigm, where e-scooter users have to wait for the battery to charge up.

After Gogoro launched its first model in 2015, the share of e-scooter users favoring battery swapping over battery charging has been increasing at a rapid pace. As of now, more than 95% of e-scooter purchasers in Taiwan have chosen the concept of battery swapping. At the same time, the expansion of the Gogoro Network, which offers an as-a-service model for acquiring and changing batteries, has also limited the demand for an additional battery charger. Only around 1% of the users of battery-swapping scooters in Taiwan have also bought a battery charger, proving that battery swapping is now the mainstream method for recharging e-scooters.

According to data gleaned from the Gogoro Network, the cumulative number of battery swaps performed by users of the Gogoro Smartscooters has surpassed 44 million, and the average number of battery swaps performed in a day has hit 100,000.

To sustain and scale up its technology ecosystem, Gogoro has devised a strategy known as Powered by Gogoro Network. Several brand vehicle manufacturers have been invited onto the Gogoro’s platform so that they can develop their own e-scooter models on the basis of Gogoro’s solutions for power management, smart battery, and battery swap infrastructure. Yamaha, for example, formally unveiled its first e-scooter model adopting Gogoro’s platform in late June. Known as EC-05, this vehicle can swap batteries at any of Gogoro’s GoStations across Taiwan. Following Yamaha’s footsteps, other partners including Aeon Motor and PGO will also be launching new e-scooters that are compatible with the Gogoro Network during the second half of this year.

The Gogoro Network comprises four key solutions that address the immediate challenges to the adoption of e-scooters among consumers:

Cloud-based infrastructure

The Gogoro Network is not simply a group of standalone battery swap stations but a highly sophisticated and interconnected transportation system. Machine learning and other AI technologies are incorporated into the design of this next-gen platform for smart battery swapping. To ensure its system of GoStations is the most stable and efficient of its kind in the world, Gogoro has built a cloud-based “Network Operation Center (NOC)” to monitor and manage its entire infrastructure 24/7.

GoStations everywhere

GoStations, where users of the Gogoro Smartscooters can change their batteries on the go, are now ubiquitous in Taiwan’s major cities. Presently, the Gogoro Network has expanded to 1,292 service points on the island (note that this figure includes stations that are being planned). In order to rapidly build out the infrastructure, Gogoro has been working with gas station chains and franchises (e.g. CPC and FPCC) to set up battery swap kiosks at their service locations. Currently, there are more than 390 GoStations that are integrated with local gas stations on the island.

Other local partners that Gogoro has enlisted to help with the expansion of the Gogoro Network in Taiwan include convenience stores (e.g. 7-Eleven, FamilyMart, and Hi-Life) and supermarkets (e.g. PX Mart). The number of GoStations that are featured in these types of venues in Taiwan has also surpassed 400.

Additionally, local transportation agencies such as the Department of Transportation of Taoyuan City and Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation (Taipei Metro) have allocated public space for the setup of over 100 GoStations. Hence, users of the Gogoro Smartscooters can find battery swap kiosks at municipal car parks in Taoyuan City and near the entrances of several key hubs along the metro routes in Taipei.

The total number of operating GoStations in Taiwan is expected to reach 1,500 by the end of this year. In the densely populated urban areas of the island, users of the Gogoro Smartscooters (or e-scooter models compatible with the Gogoro Network) will be able to find a battery swap kiosk within a three-minute riding distance.

The Gogoro Network’s smart battery solution

As a union of many breakthrough patented technologies, Gogoro’s smart battery solution leads the industry in safety and efficiency. It features a protection mechanism that runs self-diagnostic tests and provides continuous updates so as to keep the entire battery pack at its peak operating condition. Furthermore, the Gogoro Network will be gradually introducing battery packs featuring 21700 Li-ion cells starting from the end of July. With Gogoro adopting the same cell specification that Tesla has chosen for the powertrain batteries in its vehicles, users of the Gogoro’s Network will be upgraded to battery packs that are more advanced than those offered by Gogoro’s competitors (i.e. around 2.8 times larger in capacity plus a 27% gain in the overall performance). Furthermore, 21700 cells will further extend the range of the Gogoro Smartscooters to 170km.

Gogoro Network App

Gogoro pays as much attention to software as it does to hardware and infrastructure. The prime example of this is the new Gogoro Network App that is now available on both Google Play and Apple Store. Besides helping to find the nearest GoStation, the app allows users of the Gogoro Network to manage their service accounts (including making changes to the battery rental plans at any time), troubleshoot vehicle issues, and track their travel histories. The app is a one-stop solution providing Gogoro customers with valuable information that leads to better user experience.

With the announcement on July 22, the Gogoro Network will begin the process of spinning off to become an independent incorporated entity. Alan Pan, who has been promoted from vice president of Gogoro’s energy division to president of the Gogoro Network, said that Gogoro is now the global leader in terms of the scale of its battery swap platform. Going forward, the newly formed Gogoro Network will be pushing ahead with technological advances in the various aspects of its smart battery solution. This R&D process will draw upon AI-based innovations to improve the battery swap service and the setup of GoStations.

At the same time, the new spin-off is committed to supporting its partners that have signed up for Powered by the Gogoro Network. Together, Gogoro and its allies will be rolling out a diverse range of smart e-scooter models. They will also explore innovative service models based on the shared battery technology and the open platform for battery swapping.

 (This article is an English translation of news content provided by EnergyTrend’s media partner TechNews. Photo credit: Gogoro Inc.)

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