Scooters don’t usually generate buzz without some sort of gimmick – unless they’re connected to a well-known company and features a crazy business model. The all-electric Gogoro Smartscooter perfectly fits that description perfectly, as it’s the brainchild of former HTC executives and relies on a network of swappable batteries. After debuting at CES, it will launch commercially this summer in the Taipei area following a pilot program. The centerpiece is the Gogoro Experience Center, a retail outlet that will show off the Smartscooter EV’s design and options. It’ll also teach consumers about the GoStation, a removable battery vending machine that’s part of the company’s Gogoro Energy Network.
In fact, riders can’t charge the Smartscooters themselves – the only way to juice up is to subscribe to the network and swap the encrypted, Panasonic-built batteries at kiosks around the city. You’ll also get an app that tells you when you need to swap the batteries and where to find a kiosk, among other functions.
While Smartscotters will cost about the same as regular scooters, riders won’t be able to use them without a subscription that may cost more than gas – similar to how printer companies make their money from ink. There’s no word on exact pricing yet, but Gogoro will test the program with 100 riders ahead of the summer launch to work out any bugs. They may also appear elsewhere around the world later this year, though we assume that’ll depend on how the Taiwan trial goes.