Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Communal Electric Scooters - Gogoro and Scoot Network

I have admired the Gogoro from afar, but I have resisted writing about it here. I love the idea. I love the design. I love the scale. I love the low-carbon mission.

But I have figured it's an idea that would stay on the other side of the world.

Until now. There may be hope for electric scooter fans in the US (all ten of us).

The deal with the Gogoro is that it's not just a cool scooter - it's a cool scooter that comes with its own infrastructure that keeps you from worrying about range anxiety or charge times. The creators of the Gogoro focused on swappable batteries and battery swapping stations - the whole package. Yep, you scoot around until you're low on electrons. Then you pull over to a battery swapping station. You swap out two small-ish battery packs. Then you hop back on and scoot away fully charged.

It's a cool idea, but you need several scooters and several battery stations to make the whole thing viable. And this is America where we don't much care for scooters and electric vehicles aren't faring that well either.

Gogoro article from Fortune

If you read through the article you learn that (a) the Gogoro is going like gangbusters in Taiwan, (b) that they are headed to Amsterdam next, and (c) then they are looking at the States. You also learn that (d) they had a presence this year at the CES (Consumer Electronics show) in Vegas, (e) they would like for you to nominate US cities that would be great candidates for a Gogoro network, and (I am really jazzed about letter "f") they are looking at selling Gogoro scooters with chargers for people who do not live in a place where there is a network. Yep, there is a lot of exciting news there. Gogoro fans rejoice!

As a DIY sidebar, I have this goofy dream of being able to build my own vintage scooter that take advantage of the Gogoro battery swapping network. My (unfinished project) ElectroPigeon and I could very happily hop on that scootwagon.

So, North Americans, if all of this scooter network infrastructure talk has you drooling and dreaming and such, you are (sort of) in luck. On this side of the planet (San Francisco), there is a setup that's vaguely similar. Really, it's more of a bike share program that features electric scooters, but it's still pretty cool.

Yep, you can pretty easily find yourself scooting around the city by the bay on a bright red electric scooter. I wonder if they have locations near the City Lights Bookstore (one of my lifetime dream destinations)...
May you find yourself electrically scooting about a beautiful place (or your dingy home town) and enjoying the ride sooner rather than later.
PS for those of you who read yesterday's post:
Here is what greeted me when I logged in this morning (and it felt much better than watching an odometer roll over on a car):
PPS for Knippa - Can we set up the Lubbock Gogoro battery swap station outside your oh-so-cool scooter workshop?