Taiwan | Scooters with replacements instead of rechargeable batteries

(Taipei) Like hundreds of thousands of Taipei residents, Aiden Lee travels on a scooter, but he is not full and is content to change the battery at one of the many stations in Taiwan’s capital.

Posted on January 19th

Amber Wang |
France Media Agency

He is one of 450,000 people who, every day, replace one of the batteries supplied, since 2015, by Taiwanese start-up Gogoro. On average, about 330,000 batteries are exchanged daily, according to company figures.

E-bikes now represent 21% of the two-wheelers in circulation on the island, where sales of petroleum models are experiencing double-digit annual declines.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t use an electric two-wheeler if it didn’t have a battery exchange that was faster than a full tank of gas at a service station”, admits its marketing manager.

“I don’t have time to wait for the battery to recharge,” he explains, while estimating that it costs about 10% per month than filling up on gas.

Gogoro, which now aims to expand into Asia and be listed on the New York Stock Exchange, has more than 2,300 stations across Taiwan. Located in front of local stores or in parking lots, moped riders stop there for a few minutes to replace their empty battery for a fully charged one.

“Maintenance”

Many companies, especially in China, the United States and Israel, started exchanging batteries, especially for electric vehicles, but broke their teeth there. The cost of installations and the time required to load them is greater.

This technology works best for motorcycles, says Horace Luke, founder and chief executive of Gogoro, because it doesn’t have to be as big as batteries and stations.

“Instead of an infrastructure for four wheels that needs to be built, our system is a type of vending machine that can be installed in different places, depending on the movements and needs of the consumer,” he explains.

These stations now have more than four times the gas pumps in Taiwan’s four major cities, according to Gogoro.

Last week, the start-up’s vice-president indicated at a press conference that the company intends, in 2022, to “surpass the number of service stations on the island”.

With more than 240 million battery replacements since 2015, Gogoro claims he has prevented approximately 360,000 tons of CO emissions.2 in the air.

“We are working on solutions […] as the world now turns to sustainability and how to slow global warming, ”Mr. Luke said.

India, China, Indonesia

Gogoro now aims to seize the world’s largest motorcycle markets of China, India and Indonesia, where cities are regularly enveloped in a thick cloud of pollution.

The company has partnered with key players in the industry, including India’s Hero MotoCorp, the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, Yadea, China’s leading e-bike manufacturer, and most recently the door-to-door transport company of Indonesia and Gojek.

In China, its battery replacement system was launched in October in the eastern city of Hangzhou, and it plans to expand to other locations this year.

In these different countries, the company can benefit from public assistance for the development of electric vehicles.

Last year, India provided $ 3.5 billion in automotive subsidies to boost the production of electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Indonesia offers tax benefits to manufacturers, transportation companies and consumers who want to get started.

Gogoro plans to list on the New York Stock Exchange this year by merging with a acquisition company, an entity expected to be worth $ 2.35 billion.

By 2020, global sales of e-bikes, scooters and motorcycles will reach 25 million units and account for 35% of total two-wheeler sales.

According to market research firm Guidehouse Insights, “battery replacement has become an exported technology platform solution.”

Countries in Southeast Asia that “experience a strong two-wheeler culture, high urban density, supportive policies for two-wheelers as well as a strong desire to reduce air pollution are likely to follow suit. list ”, according to this report.

“Replacing the battery is a real game-changer and continues to be,” Luke concludes.

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