Known for its electric scooters, Gogoro moves toward its future as a mobility platform
Since the launch of its first electric scooter in 2015, Gogoro co-founder and CEO Horace Luke has frequently been asked when the startup is going to expand beyond Taiwan. In its home country, Gogoro’s two-wheel vehicles, with their distinctive swappable battery system, are now the top-selling electric scooters.
But Luke says the company has always seen itself as a platform company, with the ultimate goal of providing a turnkey solution for energy-efficient vehicles. Now with the launch of GoShare*, its new vehicle-sharing platform, and partnerships with manufacturers such as Yamaha, Gogoro is ready to go global.
Founded by Luke, HTC’s former chief innovation officer, and chief technology officer Matt Taylor in 2011, Gogoro develops most of its technology in-house, including scooter motors, telematics units, backend servers and software. GoShare’s pilot program will launch next month in Taoyuan City, where Gogoro’s research and development center is located, with the goal of expanding with partners into cities around the world over the next year, starting in Europe, Australia and Southeast Asia.
“Gogoro has always been out with a thesis that we will be a platform enabler,” Luke told Extra Crunch during an interview in the company’s Taipei City headquarters. “Now you’ve seen the transformation of the company. Doing something this big, like what Gogoro is doing, takes time.”
Since the release of Gogoro’s first Smartscooter in 2015, the company says it has become the best-selling brand of electric two-wheel vehicles in Taiwan, holding a 17 percent share of the country’s vehicle market, including gas vehicles.
Last year, the company began licensing its technology to manufacturers Yamaha, Aeon and PGO to produce scooters that run on Gogoro’s batteries and charging infrastructure. It also has a partnership with Coup, the European electric-scooter sharing startup that plans to increase its fleet to more than 5,000 scooters on the streets of Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Tübingen this year, and is seeking similar deals with other vehicle-sharing services, as well as local governments that want to reduce traffic and pollution (the GoShare pilot program is being launched in collaboration with Taoyuan City’s government).
GoShare’s platform is meant to be a “very robust and cost-effective, very worry-free solution for municipalities and entrepreneurs,” Luke says. Parts of the system can be licensed separately or packaged as a turnkey solution that can be deployed in as little as two weeks.
The company describes GoShare as a “mobility solution.” When asked if this means the platform can be used for other electric vehicles, including cars, Luke says “just think of us as batteries and a motor.”
“It’s just like computers and processing ram,” he adds. “It can be any form factor. It just happens to be that the two-wheel form factor is the one we’re working on and focusing on at the moment.”