Smart Cities are Beginning to Adopt Electric Scooters as the Future of Transport
As cities expand and demand for electric scooters and vehicles grows, Gogoro is trying to bring a new urban energy infrastructure to market
By 2025 the number of smart cities around the world is predicted to quadruple from 2013, from 21 to 88. Gogoro is an electric scooter and energy company that is helping to lead this transformation by making megacities more connected, sustainable, and smart. Already in Amsterdam and Taipei, Gogoro is seeking out new metropolitan regions. But what cities are fitting for this mobility technology, and what will be the long-term impact?
To get a better sense of Gogoro, it seems fair to say that it’s like Tesla, but with scooters. The company has created the “world’s first high-performance, zero emissions two-wheeled electric vehicle”, as well as an urban battery infrastructure for quick charging.
The scooter also gathers, analyzes, and shares rider data to help riders understand best practices for reducing energy consumption and optimizing performance. Vending machines called GoStations allow riders to swap out dead batteries with new ones, and are spread throughout the city for easy access.
Cities naturally seem like good locations for the Gogoro system, but other geographical, social, and political forces also help determine suitable regions for adoption. Gogoro’s VP of communications Jason Gordon gave PSFK three practical reasons as to why Taipei made sense:
1) Taiwan having the highest percentage of scooter ownership per capita in the world. 2) Taipei, New Taipei and Taiwan overall are progressive in adoption new and connected innovation. 3) We are based in Taipei so as a pilot city we are able to address issues and refine the consumer experience before expanding.
He also described Amsterdam city government’s progressive approach towards innovation, and how it embraces the vision of a smart city with a new urban energy experience. The relationship seemed natural, Gordon said: “Amsterdam really showed interest in working with Gogoro.”
While Gordon didn’t express any specific cities for expansion, he did emphasize that they are in communications with various municipalities around the world. But which could be potential suitors?
For the U.S., a SmartAsset study found that it doesn’t always make financial sense to own and drive an EV, especially with dropping gas prices. 29% of the 150 cities in the study demonstrated a total cost for electric vehicles that is lower than that for gasoline-powered vehicles. These cities include Atlanta, Augusta, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Naples, Charleston, Denver, Chicago, Fort Collins.
While it may make financial sense to own an EV in these cities, it probably doesn’t make practical sense to own a scooter in all of them. In the U.S., there are cities with denser urban cores such as New York, Chicago, and San Francisco that may be more reasonable.
Around the world, Barcelona, London, Nice, and Singapore demonstrate essential components of smart cities and roads favorable to two-wheelers. Barcelona specifically has scored high on smart parking, as well as the environment in a Juniper Research study. And while EV’s have been slow to take off in Singapore, at a cheaper price point than four wheeled automobiles, scooters might be a good fit for the city-state’s limited road space.
One of the greatest challenges for cities going forward will be preparing for massive growth, while ensuring long-term sustainable practices. New forms of energy are finding their way onto city streets, and Gogoro is taking the first steps in using them to improve urban experiences. As for the future of the business, Gordon says “Gogoro’s Smartscooter is just the beginning from a product perspective.”