Sat, Sep 21, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Gogoro unveils battery-swap unit

BOTH WAYS:Founder Horace Luke said that GoStation 3.0s give the company a chance to fulfill its dreams, as they are designed to put energy into the national grid

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Electric scooter manufacturer Gogoro Inc founder Horace Luke, right, unveils the company’s latest battery-swapping system at a conference in Taipei.

Photo: Lisa Wang

Electric scooter maker Gogoro Inc (睿能) has launched its newly separated battery-swapping business unit, Gogoro Network, taking another step closer to becoming an energy platform provider.

Gogoro Network, which builds and manages Gogoro’s battery-swapping network, on Thursday unveiled a next-generation battery-swapping station named GoStation 3.0, which has 50 percent greater battery capacity compared with existing stations to meet demand for energy storage.

Gogoro, which dominates Taiwan’s electric scooter market with a 90 percent market share, faces increased demand for batteries, as it also provides services for electric scooters from Yamaha Motor Co, Aeon Motor Co (宏佳騰) and Motive Power Industry Co (摩特動力).

Gogoro has set up a partnership with the three firms and is manufacturing electric scooters for them.

To ensure sufficient supply of batteries, the company plans to add at least one Super GoStation in each of the nation’s six special municipalities this year.

Each Super GoStation has more than 200 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of battery capacity, sufficient for the needs of more than 1,000 riders, Gogoro Network said.

Gogoro’s ambition does not end at being a major electric scooter maker: From day one it has wanted to be an energy platform provider, company founder Horace Luke (陸學森) has said.

With the launch of GoStation 3.0, Gogoro has a chance to fulfill its dream, as the new stations not only charge batteries from Taiwan Power Co’s (Taipower, 台電) grid, but can also put energy back into it.

“Our [new] battery-swapping stations are ready for bi-directionality and can operate as a micro-grid,” Luke told reporters on Thursday. “We are in discussion with Taipower over how to make it happen.”

Gogoro has a combined battery capacity of 560kWh, which is the same as 35 minutes of electricity consumption in Taipei, Gogoro Network president Allan Pan (潘璟倫) said.

The capacity is about twice that of a similar battery-storage program launched by Telsa Inc and the Australian government, Gororo Network said.

By February next year, Gogoro Network will see its total battery capacity rise to 1 gigawatt-hour, Pan said.

With such huge capacity, Gogoro Network can help the nation better manage its electricity grid, the company said.

“That is definitely a positive direction,” Taipower spokesman Hsu Tsao-hua (徐造華) said by telephone yesterday.

However, there are challenges, including finding a profitable business model and ensuring battery quality, Hsu said.

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