Horace Luke hopes the electric Smartscooters from his Taipei-based company, Gogoro, will help snuff out some of Taiwan’s air pollution, as well as provide a fun and efficient ride for consumers. The industrial country has high levels of PM2.5 (particulate matter at 2.5 micrometers), pollution caused by decades of heavy manufacturing and unfettered vehicle exhaust—particularly from motorbikes.
Gogoro, founded in 2011 by CEO Luke and CTO Matt Taylor, rolled out its scooters in July. The gorgeously designed, fully customizable bikes go from zero to 30 mph in about four seconds and top out at 60 mph, all without a single belch of emissions. Powered by an electric drive-train and a pair of swappable lithium-ion batteries, the scooter connects to the driver’s smartphone and the cloud so that its performance can be continually analyzed and improved. And when the batteries wear down—as they’re likely to do every 60 miles or so—the driver can simply pull over to a roadside charging kiosk (a “GoStation”) to grab fresh power cells and drop off used ones for recharging. All this at a $4,100 price tag (plus a battery lease agreement) that leaves the competition in the dust.
“We want to create excitement around consumer products that are going to hit the heart of a 20- or 25-year-old as they’re getting out of college and making decisions about transportation,” Luke says. “Instead of buying a vehicle that would be burning gas for 10 years, they could go and use something that is electric.”
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