Gogoro Smartscooter First Look

January 6, 2015
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
Associate Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

Electric motorcycles and scooters continue to develop as technological advancements extend the range, performance and affordability of such machines. One of the biggest challenges is the time needed for a full charge. Gogoro, a start-up that revealed its new Smartscooter during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, has proposed a new idea to dramatically reduce battery recharge time – the Gogoro Energy Network, “a modular battery-swapping infrastructure for electric vehicles like the Smartscooter that can be deployed across a city to provide portable power.”

These proposed “GoStations” would be “ATM-sized vending machines” where riders swap out a depleted battery for a fully charged unit. Riders would subscribe to a monthly plan that includes unlimited battery swaps and roadside assistance.

But wait…what the hell is Gogoro?

In 2011 Horace Luke and Matt Taylor, former executives at HTC, came together and secured $50 million in funding to start the project from a “variety of influential Asian investors, including Dr. Samuel Yin of Ruentex Group and Cher Wang of HTC.” Gogoro has secured an additional $100 million to aid in its 2015 Smartscooter rollout.

Luke and Taylor have extensive experience in mobile phone technology and both spent multiple years working for Microsoft prior to HTC as well. For the Smartscooter/GoStation project Gogoro has also partnered with Panasonic “to deliver on the smart cities vision through a variety of innovations and industry firsts.” One of the first items to come from the Panasonic partnership is the Gogoro-designed battery, which utilizes Panasonic’s cylindrical 18650-size automotive-grade lithium-ion energy cells.

Gogoro’s initial focus will be “megacities,” where it plans to develop the GoStation infrastructure. Initial plans call for GoStations within one square mile of each other and to get the Smartscooter produced and in the hands of urban riders.

In the years since founding the company, Gogoro has been designing the Smartscooter piece-by-piece. The liquid-cooled, permanent magnet synchronous G1 Motor drives power to the rear wheel via race-grade carbon composite belt engineered by Gates. A ride-by-wire electric throttle transmits rider inputs to the road and there are two drive modes, Normal and “Super Boost.” Gogoro claims 8.5 horsepower at 3250 rpm.

The company developed an aluminum monocoque chassis it calls the Aeroframe. The scoot is suspended by an inverted single-piston, single-arm unit at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear with a pre-load adjustable shock. A dual-piston caliper grips a 205mm disc at the front and a single-piston caliper, 162mm disc provide braking at the back. The Smartscooter comes with aluminum wheels and dual compound 12-inch Maxxis tires, front and rear. Total claimed weight with two batteries is 247 pounds.

Performance claims list a 60 mph top speed and more than 60 miles per battery swap, though the latter is contingent on riding at 25 mph.

So far so good, not astounding in the performance department but perhaps suitable for “megacity” commuting, especially if there are GoStations handy. What sets the Smartscooter apart is its litany of technological do-dads.

Smartscooter communicates with your smartphone via an iQ System with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity. Get the Gogoro App and you’ll be able to pull up maps of all nearby GoStations, manage ride modes and customize performance aspects, receive instant diagnostic information and get stats from recent rides. There are even Gogoro “badges” you can collect for milestones achieved, like a new top-speed, first group ride or first battery swap. The app also lets riders personalize the color display of the dynamic dashboard. The SmartBrite Programmable Vehicle LED system automatically adjusts brightness to conditions to help conserve energy and the turn signals are self-cancelling. There’s a wireless trunk release, customizable headlight and taillight patterns, and a Smart mode which analyzes riding patterns to optimize power and performance. Ride data is loaded to the cloud every 10 minutes, so you will have up-to-date information every time you check.

No specifics are mentioned for the initial purchase price, or the monthly plan for the unlimited GoStation battery swaps and roadside assistance.