Anyone familiar with Taiwan will know that this country is packed with 2-wheeled vehicles – scooters, motorcycles and bicycles; there are so many scooters and motorcycles on the road that traffic light intersections have dedicated spaces for them. Thus it comes as no surprise that Taiwan is the place of innovation for these 2-wheeled mobiles.
Early last year, we had covered the Taiwan-based electric Gogoro Smartscooter and its innovative battery swap solution so you never have to wait for hours to get your scooter charged. The Gogoro is also no slouch, accelerating from 0 to 50 km/h in 4.2 seconds; the high-performance Gogoro S variant does it in 3.7 seconds, thanks to a more powerful 7.2 kW G1-S motor. Top speed however, is limited to 95 km/h for safety.
In 2016, electric scooter sales reached 20,000 units according to Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (up 98% year-on-year) and Gogoro’s estimated market share is about 65%. This is still a drop in the ocean of an estimated 13.7 million scooters on the island but the Taiwan government is attempting to increase the sales of electric scooters through incentives and subsidies in its bid to cut down noise and emissions pollution from petrol-powered vehicles.
On sale in July 2017 is the Gogoro 2 and 2 Plus which sit on a longer wheelbase that results in a more stable ride, better rider comfort (it now fits a pillion comfortably) and bigger under-seat storage (for 2 helmets). It’s powered by an improved motor which still delivers the same power (6.4 kW) but is claimed to have smoother torque delivery. The wheels are also larger (14″ in front, 13″ in rear), with a synchronized braking system for better handling and stability. As a result, 0 – 50 km/h acceleration is a tad slower (4.3 seconds) than its predecessor. Top speed too seems to have been reduced to 90 km/h but riding range is now 110 km (from 100 km).
The most notable change however, is the price. While the first Gogoro sold for US$ 4,000, Gogoro 2 is expected to start from US$ 1,295 (with subsidies).
The Gogoro 2 Plus will come with an updated mobile app, better security features (fingerprint or PIN to start), customizable full-color LED display, LED halo position light, and numerous accessories for personalization. The Gogoro 2 has a mechanical main switch with magnet anti-theft cover, single color LCD display, mechanical switch start button and LED position light. The new Gogoro 2 is still powered by the same swappable dual battery pack and the company is planning to add 500 battery swap stations to the existing 350.
Outside of Taiwan, Gogoro scooters are available in Berlin and Paris as a ride-sharing service. Practical as it may be, when and if it will get here is a big question mark as Gogoro will need to work with the authorities to establish the infrastructure, which is costly. A big challenge of course is the lack of noise, which is sometimes necessary to make a scooter’s presence known to other bigger vehicles.