Electric Scooter Maker Gogoro Turns to AI, Smart Grids

Electric Scooter Maker Gogoro Turns to AI, Smart Grids
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What you need to know

Gogoro's new offerings are about new ways of charging, not about the electric scooters themselves.

Taiwan-based Gogoro introduced two new products this week: the GoCharge Mobile onboard battery charger, a portable battery charger; and the GoStation 2, their new charging station.

At a March 30 press conference in Taipei, the company announced users can finally charge their Gogoros at home – before this, owners of the high-end electric bikes were reliant on GoStations, centralized charging stations where batteries could be swapped out.

The press conference also showcased Gogoro’s emerging smart electrical grid – GoStations will soon function as autonomous electric storage banks, using AI to decide when to charge and when to hold power.

In the past three years on the market, Gogoro has sold 60,000 electric scooters on the Taiwanese market. Riders have traveled over 200 million kilometers, batteries have been charged 10 million times, and 520 charging stations have been set up around the country.

Marketing director Chen Yen-yang (陳彥揚) told the press conference, “We can charge our batteries at off-peak hours so as not to cause additional strain on the electrical grid. Shared batteries mean that there is less waste in the system in general – this is really the neatest solution.”

Chris Hubbard, a Gogoro owner who lives in Taipei and often writes about the topic, said that the portable battery was always on the cards. "Not having that capability was always going to be a problem. They tried to bypass that with the battery swapping network, which is innovative, awesome and cool, but it’s a limitation," he said, adding that GoCharge Mobile opens up the possibility to ride his scooter to places like Fulong that currently lack charging infrastructure.

“Our scooters have the same horsepower as a 125cc scooter, and they’re constantly getting better,” Chen added, while conceding that some problems have yet to be resolved, primarily a pokey top speed and short range.

He also mentioned the safety of the batteries – they can withstand a 9.5 metric ton squeeze test, well above the 4.5 ton industry standard aimed to prevent explosions in the event of crashes.

Gogoro CEO Horace Luke (陸學森) made an appearance to announce new battery exchange stations called GoStation 2.0 that will be independently powered; even in the event of an electrical failure, they would be able to keep operating for 48 hours.

He also announced that Gogoro would introduce an AI powered battery system called “Smartgen” that would learn to predict the consumption behavior of each user and deploy batteries more effectively. “In the next few months, we won’t have any shortage of full batteries to give to customers,” Lu said.

They also announced that the company would complete the deployment of an island-wide power grid, allowing Gogoro users to ride all the way around the island – there are currently some blank spots in GoStation coverage, especially on the east coast.

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Luke also hinted that Gogoro, like their competitor Taiwanese KYMKO, would be able to enter the B2B arena, saying that Gogoros were “suitable for logistics.”

He said that in April, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA) did not specify standards for changing out batteries, but set aside NT$4 billion (US$130 million) for battery charging stations around the country, enough to singlehandedly determine the future of electric vehicles around the country.

Gogoro or KYMCO: Whoever wins will become Taiwan’s national team in the global race towards vehicle electrification.

The original version of this article can be found here.

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Translation: Morley J Weston