Alternative Electric Mobility

Last week at CES, there was plenty of automotive/electric/advanced tech buzz around such things as the Faraday Future FFZERO1 concept and the product Chevrolet Bolt.

Last week at CES, there was plenty of automotive/electric/advanced tech buzz around such things as the Faraday Future FFZERO1 concept and the product Chevrolet Bolt.

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There were more automotive suppliers talking about connecting to the cloud and doing things that might ordinarily require physical interface with a few swipes on the screen of a smartphone than you could shake a selfie-stick at.

There are some people who became concerned that CES is going to overshadow NAIAS.

This week, it is no less about advanced technology, but pretty much all about cars. Which is the sweet spot of NAIAS.

But everyone, it seems, is talking mobility and transportation, even in Detroit.

So we happened—almost by accident—to glom onto something that was introduced at CES last week that was seemingly overshadowed the bigger announcements.

Gogoro introduced that is launching the Gogoro OPEN Initiative.

“Huh?” you might be thinking.

Well, Gogoro is the producer of the Smartscooter EV, which it introduced at the 2015 CES.

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Yes, it is an electric scooter. It has sold more than 4,000 of them (it launched in Taipei last August). It has swappable batteries, and according to the company there are more than 125 battery swapping stations and there are more than 2,000 battery swaps per day—presumably this is on a global basis. (Take that, Elon Musk!)

The scooter features a permanent magnet synchronous motor that produces a maximum 8.58 horsepower; it uses Panasonic lithium ion batteries. The maximum riding range they’ve calculated is 100 km (riding at 40 km/h on a flat asphalt road).

The OPEN Initiative is the “Owner Proposed Energy Network.” Owners—consumers and businesses—can propose that they get the scooters and battery swapping stations, and should there be sufficient mass, voila! (This undertaking is going to occur in Europe first, this summer, then in the U.S. later.)

And while we’ve seen that automotive OEMs have created apps that allow remote starts through a smartphone, Gogoro is going there, or at least part of the way, by offering iOS and Android smartphone keyless operation.

It is electric, smart and mobile.