The Ministry of Economic Affairs’ Industrial Development Bureau is planning to use Gogoro Inc’s battery specification as a universal standard for electric scooters with swappable batteries. However, the plan has sparked a dispute with rival manufacturers. Gogoro CEO Horace Luke last week announced the company would open up its battery control units for purchase by other electric scooter makers and would also waive all licensing fees. Luke says he hopes the move would allow other electric scooter manufacturers to form a “Team Taiwan” that can take on the global market. Gogoro started selling its electric scooters two and a half years ago and in doing so opened up the domestic market for electric scooters with swappable batteries. There are currently 500 battery-swapping stations nationwide which have handled 9 million battery swaps to date. On average, customers carry out 30,000 battery swaps every day.
Luke believes that Gogoro’s electric scooter battery-swapping network is already mature and ready to be opened up for everyone to use, which will reduce component costs and increase efficiency. If companies work together to build the industry, they can take the technology to overseas markets including India, Vietnam, Indonesia or Malaysia, where the scooter markets are several times the size of Taiwan’s, he says.
However, Taiwan’s leading scooter manufacturer Kwang Yang Motor Co (KYMCO) didn’t mince its words: “We will not be using Gogoro’s swappable battery system.” Meanwhile, Sanyang Motor Co (SYM) said that it has yet to see the details of Gogoro’s proposal, and would refrain from making any further comment at this stage. China Motor Corp also said it needed to carry out further evaluation since current information around the proposal is incomplete.
Photo: Yang Ya-min, Liberty Times
Other scooter manufacturers have said that although Gogoro will waive royalty fees, its battery control units and component sets are too expensive and using them would amount to nothing more than “putting old wine in a new bottle.” Critics of the plan added that the technology behind the batteries, battery-swapping stations and battery control units would all rest in the hands of a single manufacturer, which would be too great an operational risk.
(LIBERTY TIMES, TRANSLATED BY EDWARD JONES)
1. Is it a good idea to standardize swappable battery technology across the industry using only one company’s technology? Is there a better way to create an industry standard?
2. Are Gogoro’s competitors right to view the proposal as too great an operational risk?
3. Is there any difference between a licensing fee and a royalty fee?
4. Do you think Gogoro’s products would be successful in markets such as India or Indonesia?
(Edward Jones, Taipei Times)
1. universal standard phr.
統一標準 (tong3 yi1 biao1 zhun3)
2. licensing fee phr.
權利金 (quan2 li4 jin1)
3. mature adj.
成熟 (cheng2 shou2)
4. royalty fee phr.
授權金 (shou4 quan3 jin1)
5. operational risk phr.
營運風險 (ying2 yun4 feng1 xian3)
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