Taiwan's Gogoro sets $4,100 price tag for its electronic scooter

The Smartscooter -- drawing eyes in scooter-centric regions around the globe -- is more much more expensive than gasoline-powered alternatives, but will pay off after two years, the company says.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
3 min read

Gogoro's Smartscooter will set customers back about $4,100 when it launches in Taiwan next month. Gogoro

Gogoro, the electric scooter company that has attracted all kinds of attention in areas of the world where gas-powered scooters reign supreme, has set its pricing.

Gogoro's Smartscooter will cost NT$128,000 (about $4,100), the Taiwan-based company announced on Wednesday at a press event in its home country. The higher-end Smartscooter Plus will go for NT$138,000.

Both vehicles are at the higher end for scooters in Taiwan, where gas-powered alternatives sell for an average of $2,600, the company said during its press conference, according to TechCrunch. To prove its cost-effectiveness, however, Gogoro showed a slide that illustrates how, with help from government subsidies and savings on gas, the Smartscooter is cheaper after two years of ownership.

Gogoro unveiled its Smartscooter at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The vehicle is a slick, battery-powered motor scooter that can be monitored via a smartphone app. The scooter, which includes 30 sensors, is designed to conserve energy in a world where fuel consumption runs rampant.

Gogoro was co-founded by CEO Horace Luke, a former chief innovation officer at HTC. The device's unveiling at CES was bolstered by an announcement just a couple of months earlier that it had already raised $150 million, as investors flocked to what Panasonic, a strategic partner, has called a "compelling vision of transformation."

Central to Gogoro's sales pitch are the potential "green" benefits it offers. In crowded streets around the world, gas-powered scooters are weaving in and out of traffic. Meanwhile, they're producing emissions that are extremely harmful to the environment.

A key component in Gogoro's efforts is its Gogoro Energy Network of stations, where subscription-paying customers will be able to swap batteries in seconds. Speaking to CNET in January, Luke explained how the Smartscooter and the Energy Network will interact. The batteries include several sensors and a near-field communication chip that can talk to the battery-swapping stations, he said. Once a rider pulls up, a station recognizes the bike and associated account, opens up a spot for the spent battery and unlocks a fresh battery. The rider lifts up the seat to swap the battery, which weighs about 20 pounds. Luke told CNET that it takes about six seconds to swap a battery.

The Energy Network could also prove to be a bottleneck for the company as it looks to expand. Gogoro needs to get cities around the world to embrace a network of battery-swapping stations, and so far, has used Taipei City and its neighbor New Taipei City as proofs of concept. Taiwan is a smart place to start: it has a ratio of one-to-one of scooters to people. Gogoro hopes its efforts will be enough to get other cities and governments onboard and allow it to expand to crowded areas.

Until then, Gogoro will begin offering preorders on its Smartscooter to customers in Taiwan on June 27. For some additional cash, customers can add personalization features and aluminum footmats. The Smartscooter will launch on July 25.

Gogoro did not immediately respond to a request for comment.