Electric vehicles are the future — and Gogoro is paving the way. The company behind the innovative battery-swapping Smartscooter just announced plans to launch their new GoShare program in Japan this year. The news comes hot on the heels of Gogoro’s $300 million in series C funding revealed last week.
The new Smartscooter sharing service, called GoShare, will begin its pilot launch in the Okinawan island of Ishigaki this year with expansion to other cities in 2018. GoShare was created through Gogoro’s new partnership with Sumitomo Corporation, a leading Fortune 500 company in Japan that’s also one of Gogoro’s major Series C investors. Although GoShare will begin with the two-wheeled, Smartscooters, its energy network will eventually be used to power a fleet of compact four-wheel electric vehicles in the future as well.
The real innovation behind the Smartscooters is the brilliant Gogoro Energy Network. This unique open battery-swapping system comprises GoStations, cloud-connected battery depots, locatable through a smartphone app, where users can swap their used Smartscooter batteries for fresh ones in as little as six seconds—no plugging in to recharge required. The network of battery stations use real-time energy usage monitoring and analytics to charge the batteries when needed, thus lessening pressure on the energy grid and improving overall energy efficiency. In Taiwan, where Gogoro was launched, there is one GoStation every kilometer in dense urban areas of Taipei.
“The Sumitomo Corporation and Gogoro partnership represent two companies that share a similar vision for making the world a better place through offering sustainable energy solutions that can transition people away from gas and to electric,” said Horace Luke, founder and CEO of Gogoro. “The Smartscooter and Gogoro Energy Network demonstrate how technology innovation can transform an industry and introduce a new urban transportation paradigm.” Gogoro launched in Taiwan in 2015 and recently expanded to Berlin and Paris.