Gogoro have launched the first Smartscooter which is powered by swappable electric batteries.
Navigating our megacities in the modern day is an unpredictable combination of high speed rushes and mind-numbing traffic jams. Petrol prices climb skyward and it becomes ever clearer how unsustainable our non-renewable energy consumption is. The fleet of electric vehicles on the roads is growing worldwide at an encouraging rate but the inefficiency of existing charging infrastructure has undoubtedly been a deterrent for many potential consumers.
We recently wrote about Ubitricity’s mobile charging device — which can diminish the problem of recharge time by allowing drivers to take power from retrofit lamppost anywhere, anytime. Now, Gogoro offer up another solution to accompany the launch of the first Smartscooter.
Powered by swappable electric batteries, the Smartscooter and its proposed infrastructure provide a viable green alternative for energy-conscious riders. Gogoro suggest a growing network of ATM-sized swapping stations, holding eight batteries each and costing less than USD 10,000 each to install. The rider parks at a station, removes their dead battery and swaps it for a fresh one — the process takes six seconds. An additional benefit of the system is that the batteries can store excess energy collected by renewable energy sources making it an intriguing prospect for energy providers.
The Smartscooter itself is a sleek machine, with a body formed from a single sheet of alluminium and a top speed of 60 mph. Gogoro will sell the scooters and a subscription service for the batteries at an as yet undeclared prices. You can watch the promotional video below:
The proposition is essentially a downsizing of the ill-fated Better Place scheme which attempted to create a battery swapping framework for electric cars but folded due to poor sales. Since scooters are simpler and smaller than cars they require far smaller, cheaper batteries — meaning Gogoro’s scheme could certainly succeed where Better Place failed. What adjustments could be made to other electric vehicles to capitalize on this progress?