Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - ‘Game changer’ e-moped batteries spread from Taiwan to the world

‘Game changer’ e-moped batteries spread from Taiwan to the world

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Horace Luke, founder and chief executive officer of Gogoro, during an interview at the company’s headquarters in Taipei. AFP

‘Game changer’ e-moped batteries spread from Taiwan to the world

Every day, Aiden Lee joins the hundreds of thousands of people getting around Taipei on two wheels.

But when most of his fellow riders head to a petrol pump to refuel, he takes his e-motorbike to one of Taiwan’s increasingly commonplace battery-swapping stations – tech its creators say could supercharge the shift from fossil fuels.

“Honestly, if it weren’t for battery swapping – which by the way is even faster than filling up at a petrol station – I wouldn’t use an electric bike,” the marketing executive said.

“I don’t think I have the time to wait for the battery to charge.”

Lee has used the rechargeable batteries provided by Taiwan startup Gogoro since 2015, putting him among the 450,000 subscribers who swap an average of 330,000 batteries each day, according to company figures.

He says it costs about 10 per cent more than buying petrol each month.

Now eyeing regional expansion and a New York listing, Gogoro has more than 2,300 stations outside convenience stores or in car parks across Taiwan, where e-moped riders stop to exchange depleted batteries for freshly charged cells.

Quick swap

Previous attempts to roll out battery swaps have proved tricky, especially for electric cars.

Companies in China, the US and Israel have struggled to provide easy access to swappable batteries for e-cars, in part because of the high cost of building charging facilities and the time needed to charge much larger cells.

But the tech works better for mopeds, said Gogoro founder and chief executive Horace Luke, as the batteries and stations need not be so large.

“Instead of the four-wheeler infrastructure that needs to be built, our system is really like a vending machine that goes into different locations based on where the consumer goes and where the consumer needs energy,” he said.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Batteries designed by Gogoro, a Taiwan company that develops a battery-swapping refuelling platform for urban electric two-wheel scooters, mopeds and motorcycles, at the company’s headquarters in Taipei. AFP

The facilities already outnumber petrol stations in four major Taiwan cities, the company said, and vice-president Alan Pan told a news conference last week that the firm’s goal for 2022 was to “surpass the number of petrol stations island-wide”.

With more than 240 million battery swaps since 2015, Gogoro says it has kept about 360,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

“We are working on solutions that . . . create a new industry as the world looks now to sustainability and how to curb global warming and climate change,” Luke said in an interview.

According to the Taiwan administration’s sales figures, e-bikes make up 21 per cent of all motorbikes in Taiwan, with sales of traditional petrol models in double-digit decline annually.

India, China, Indonesia

Luke said that, through local partnerships, Gogoro was moving to expand into the world’s largest motorbike markets: China, India and Indonesia – all countries with smog-choked cities.

The company has teamed up with top players in the industry, including Hero MotoCorp in India, the world’s biggest motorcycle maker, China’s world-leading e-bike maker Yadea and, most recently, Indonesian ride-hailing firm Gojek.

In China its battery-swapping system was launched in October in the city of Hangzhou, with plans to expand to other places this year.

The push could benefit from major incentives for e-vehicles in the giant Asian countries.

Last year, India rolled out $3.5 billion in incentives for the auto sector to boost production of electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, while Indonesia has offered tax perks for manufacturers, transport companies and consumers.

Gogoro plans to list on the Nasdaq in the first quarter of this year through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, establishing an entity valued at $2.35 billion.

Global sales of electric motorbikes, scooters and mopeds are estimated to have topped 25 million units in 2020, or 35 percent of total sales of two-wheeled vehicles, according to BloombergNEF.

And market research firm Guidehouse Insights says “battery swapping has become a legitimate technology platform solution that is being exported to original equipment manufacturers in foreign markets”.

Countries in Southeast Asia “with strong two-wheeler cultures, high urban density rates, supportive policy frameworks for EVs, and a strong desire to reduce urban air pollution will likely be next in line”, it said in a report.

Luke added: “I think battery swapping was a real game changer and is a real game changer.”


  • Ream base allegations must end, urges official

    A senior government official urges an end to the allegations and suspicions surrounding the development of Cambodia’s Ream Naval Base, now that Prime Minister Hun Manet has addressed the issue on the floor of the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78). Jean-Francois Tain, a geopolitical

  • Ministry taking steps over Thai ‘replica’ of Angkor Wat

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has dispatched experts to inspect the ongoing construction of a temple in Wat Phu Man Fah, located in Thailand’s Buriram province. This temple appears to be a replica of Cambodia’s renowned Angkor Wat. The ministry said

  • CP denied registration documents by ministry

    The Ministry of Interior will not reissue registration documents to the Candlelight Party (CP). Following a September 21 meeting between ministry secretary of state Bun Honn and CP representatives, the ministry cited the fact that there is no relevant law which would authorise it to do

  • PM to open new Siem Reap int’l airport December 1

    Prime Minister Hun Manet and Chinese leaders would jointly participate in the official opening of the new Chinese-invested Siem Reap-Angkor International Airport on December 1. The airport symbolises a new page in the history of Cambodian aviation, which will be able to welcome long-distance flights to

  • Minimum wage set at $204, after Sep 28 vote

    The minimum wage for factory workers in the garment, footwear and travel goods industries for 2024 has been decided at $204 per month, with the government contributing $2. Following several negotiation sessions, the tripartite talks reached an agreement during a September 28 vote, with 46 of 51 votes supporting the $202 figure.

  • Cambodian diaspora laud Manet’s UN Assembly visit

    Members of the Cambodian diaspora are rallying in support of Prime Minister Hun Manet’s forthcoming visit to the 78th UN General Assembly (UNGA 78) in the US’ New York City this week. Their move is an apparent response to a recent call by self-exiled former