Creating Change

Gogoro eScooters

2018 / August

Cathy Teng /photos courtesy of Lin Min-hsuan /tr. by Scott Williams

Taiwan’s government has decreed that no new fossil­-fuel motorcycles or scooters will be sold here after 2035. With that deadline set, alternatives have begun to appear. China Motor Corporation gained first-mover advantage when its “e-moving” business group entered the market some years ago, and ­Kymco’s 55 years of motor­cycle manufacturing experience cannot be discounted. But over the last three years a startup named Go­goro has leapt to the forefront of Taiwan’s e-scooter market. The company's tech sensibility, fashionable styling, and unique charging network have shaken up the market and boosted the development of our electric vehicle industry.


Many of Tai­pei’s scooter-riding commuters are all too familiar with the Tai­pei Bridge “scooter waterfall.” During peak commuting hours, the huge numbers of scooters coming down the ramp off the bridge resemble a two-wheeled cataract. Sitting waiting for the lights to change, surrounded by the noise of running motors and the stink of exhaust, is a daily trial for countless ordinary citizens.

In 2016, a group of Go­goro riders created a new kind of “scooter waterfall” by gathering in San­chong, New Tai­pei City, and riding their silent, exhaust-free scooters across the bridge into Tai­pei City. In 2017, more than 500 Go­goro owners from all over Taiwan came together for another flash event on Tai­pei Bridge. Calling their gathering a “silent revolution,” participants expressed the hope that their quiet commute would become Tai­pei’s new norm.

A new kind of scooter

Two-wheelers are ubiquitous in Taiwan: our 23 million people own more than 16 million of them. They also occupy a place in our cultural iconography as symbols of freedom and independence, making the act of obtaining a driver’s license and buying a scooter a rite of passage for nearly every Taiwanese 18-year-old. Researchers have even connected scooters to the behavioral autonomy of women. But for all that scooters provide a convenient means of getting around, they also create a great deal of noise and pollution. Gogoro is changing that.

The company’s starting point for achieving positive change is to link scooters and the environment. Conventional scooters, though inexpensive, are powered by internal combustion engines that burn fossil fuels, creating particulate air pollution. E-scooters are powered instead by electricity. Go­goro marketing director Yang Chen says that the company wondered whether the reduction in exhaust emissions that would result from getting commuters onto electric scooters would effectively reduce global environmental pollution.

Believing that it would, the company applied itself to “environmentally friendly” scooter design, while also addressing concerns about how the market would respond to such scooters.

Gogoro has grown into Taiwan’s fourth largest scooter brand since launching its first product in 2015.

Much of that success can be traced to how the company designed its scooter’s body. Owners interviewed about their reasons for buying a Go­goro most frequently cited the firm’s “tech sensibility.” Unlike conventional scooters, Go­goro’s first-generation scooters feature a racing-grade alloy frame, bold colors, and a high level of attention to detail. The company then listened closely to the market and designed the second generation, the Go­goro 2, for a different kind of rider. “We learned that people don’t want to be preached at,” says Chen. Since most consumers aren’t thinking of the environment when they go shopping, Go­goro refocused its ­product narrative on design. “You can choose to do the right thing, but you still need the skill to say the right thing.”

A smart scooter

Gogoro’s smart scooter surprised everyone when the company introduced it at the 2015 CES in Las Vegas. Company cofounder Horace Luke had designed the scooter with his team, and incorporated all kinds of quirky innovations into the design.

Luke himself was born in Hong Kong, but moved to the US while in middle school. He went on to study industrial design, and worked for Nike, Microsoft and HTC before starting his own business in Taiwan. 

Designers face a perennial question when developing e-vehicles: whether to “refuel” them by swapping out their batteries, or by recharging the batteries in situ. Go­goro chose to pioneer the use of battery swapping, and developed its own system using Panasonic lithium-ion batteries. It then built a network of battery-swap locations to make “refueling” very convenient for customers. The system is so easy to use that it takes riders only about six seconds to swap their batteries and be on their way again. Users pay a fixed monthly charge for battery swaps.

Gogoro also installs numerous sensors in its scooters’ bodies and batteries to gather data on users’ riding styles. After big-data analysis, this information helps the company plan system upgrades and business developments.

Chen says Go­goro currently has over 600 ­“GoStations” around Taiwan that have facilitated more than 1.52 million battery changes. Every battery records the details of its swaps, including the time, the number of days it was used, and the distance ridden. Swap stations upload this data to cloud-based servers, which use it to manage recharges at swap locations and ensure there are enough charged batteries to meet demand at peak times. This enables the company to more efficiently manage its batteries and maintain a balance throughout its battery swapping infrastructure, which it calls the Gogoro Energy Network.

Gogoro’s battery swapping method draws on ideas from the sharing economy. Users don’t own, manage or maintain the batteries; Gogoro does, thinking of itself as more of an energy management company than a scooter manufacturer.

Flexible responses

Gogoro’s implementation of a viable battery ­swapping system has earned it a place among Taiwan’s innovators. Its next step is to take its system worldwide.

Chen says Go­goro has a flexible business model. In Europe, where scooters are not a major means of getting around, it has opted to provide scooter sharing services. The company initiated its European operations in Berlin, working with Coup, a Bosch subsidiary. It has since extended its operations to Paris, and expects to move into Madrid this summer. It has also expanded into Japan, working with the Su­mi­tomo Corporation on Ishi­gaki Island, Oki­nawa.

Gogoro began operating in overseas markets in 2016, and has since distributed more than 4,000 vehicles abroad, working towards its vision of using smart scooters to build a better world.

Luke has stated that Go­goro’s next objective will be Southeast Asia. He believes e-scooters offer an ideal solution to the region’s urban planning and smart city develop­ment issues.

Gogoro has released the standards for its battery swapping system, and collects no licensing fees, in hopes of encouraging other companies to get involved in electric vehicle R&D and in developing the international market. Chen says, “It doesn’t mean anything if Go­goro succeeds on its own. The key is to figure out how we can succeed together with our Taiwanese partners.”

Changing the starting point

Based on new vehicle registrations, Go­goro accounted for 8.14% of Taiwan’s new motorcycle and scooter sales in June 2018. The figure was a new high for the company, which has put more than 80,000 scooters on the road in the three years since its first product launch.

Chen says this achievement stems in part from Taiwan’s willingness to accept new ideas. The success of Taiwan’s personal computing, smartphone and semi­conductor industries in recent decades has turned us into a technology island both in name and in fact, and supported the development of still more innovations. For example, all the parts used in Go­goro scooters, except the battery, are made in Taiwan. Our island is an incubator for innovation. Entrepreneurs can bring their ideas to life and learn the ropes in our local market, then use Taiwan as a base to expand overseas. Chen adds, “Taiwan and Go­goro are mutually dependent partners.”

Gogoro’s website tracks the total distance traveled by Go­goro riders. The more than 293 million kilometers the scooters have been ridden as of mid-July 2018 has reduced tailpipe CO2 emissions by more than 24 million kilograms. As these figures continue to rise, every owner’s behavior is contributing to improving the global environment.

When I ask whether this means Go­­goro is a success, Chen mentions his boss. “Horace is always moving on to the newest thing, so he never considers success to have been achieved.” Chen adds, “[For him,] success isn’t what you’ve accomplished. It’s an endless road, the starting point you’ve yet to find for your next effort to impact the world.” The sentiment applies not only to Horace Luke himself, but to ­every person on Earth. Everyone who wants to make change happen can contribute to building a better world.

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文‧鄧慧純 圖‧林旻萱










這情況與Gogoro車體的設計感緊密相扣。陳彥揚訪談過許多車主,購買Gogoro的動機,得到最多的答案是「科技感」三個字。Gogoro把機車改造得不一樣了。渾圓的車體、超跑級鋁合金車架、大膽用色,再加上對細節的注重,Gogoro 1系列像是精雕細琢的精品。Gogoro 2系列更傾聽市場的聲音,考量不同騎乘者的需求。「說教畢竟太沈重」,陳彥揚說,環保訴求在民眾的購買行為中並非首要考量,Gogoro則選擇另一種說故事的方式,以設計感與民眾溝通,「你可以選擇做對的事情,但是你要有技巧地說對的話。」陳彥揚說。


2015年,首度在全球最大的國際消費電子展(Consumer Electronics Show, CES)中亮相的Smartscooter隨即驚艷各界,拿下「年度金獎」及「設計金獎」兩大獎項。而打造這一輛技驚四座雙輪電動車的人是陸學森及其團隊。他在香港出生,中學移居美國,學的是工業設計,職涯卻一路從Nike、微軟到宏達電不斷跨界,最終選擇在台灣創業,將各種稀奇古怪的創意投注在傳統的雙輪機車上。
















這一切改變得以成就,「來自台灣是一個很願意接受創新想法的地方。」陳彥揚說。過去數十年厚實的電腦、智慧型手機、半導體產業,成就台灣成為一個名副其實的科技島,是發展新創的絕佳後盾。Gogoro所有的零組件,除了電池以外,百分百Made in Taiwan。




変化を創造する エネルギー・マネジメント企業

Gogoro eScooters

文・鄧慧純 写真・林旻萱 翻訳・笹岡 敦子









それはGogoroのデザイン性と密接に結びついている。陳彦揚はたくさんのオーナーに購入動機を聞いている。最も多かった答えが「ハイテク感」だった。Gogoroはスクーターをこれまでにない形にした。丸いフォルム、スーパーカークラスのアルミ合金フレーム、大胆な色使い、さらに繊細なディテールが相まって、Gogoro 1シリーズは精巧なアートのようである。Gogoro 2シリーズは市場の声を聞き込み、異なるニーズを反映した。「お説教はうるさいものです」環境問題は購買行動の最大要因にはなっていない。Gogoroは別のストーリー、デザイン性をコミュニケーションに選んだ。「正しい行いだって、うまく伝えなければ」と陳彦揚は言う。




















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