Taipei, June 17 (CNA) Gogoro Inc., a Taiwanese startup founded by former HTC Corp. (宏達電) executives, announced Wednesday its pricing and battery-swapping station network for its electric scooters as the company aims to build smart vehicles for cities.
The Gogoro Smartscooter will begin delivery July 25, starting from NT$128,000 (US$4,147), along with a monthly fee of NT$899 for an unlimited battery-swap service, the company said at a press event in Taipei.
Gogoro also announced the operations of 32 battery-swap stations at gas stations and parking lots in Taipei and New Taipei, and said the number is expected to increase to over 70 by July 25 and to 150 by the end of this year.
"We have been very well received, "Gogoro co-founder and CEO Horace Luke (陸學森) said at the press event, adding that 97.4 percent of the 3,521 people who have tested the Smartscooter are satisfied with the electric vehicle.
Peng Ming-I (彭明義), vice president of marketing at Gogoro, said he expects his company "not to make too much loss" in its first year of operations because running such a new business model requires heavy investment.
The biggest investment is to build the Gogoro Energy Network, a modular battery-swapping infrastructure, with each battery-swapping station costing from "several hundred thousand" to "several million" Taiwan dollars, depending on the scale of installment, Peng said.
Although the Smartscooter is priced higher than what Gogoro desrcribed as "an average of NT$81,000" for a gas scooter, Peng said the total cost of using the Smartscooter for two years would be equivalent to that of a gas scooter because of Gogoro's promotions and government subsidies for electric vehicles.
Gogoro is aimed at building a complete infrastructure for the Smartscooter in Taipei and New Taipei in its initial phase of development, and the company has no near-term plans to expand into more cities in Taiwan or other countries, Peng added.
Founded in 2011, Gogoro has received US$50 million in funding from Taiwanese entrepreneur Samuel Yin (尹衍樑) and HTC Chairwoman Cher Wang (王雪紅).
In March this year, Gogoro announced Taipei City and New Taipei as the pilot markets for the Smartscooter and Gogoro Energy Network.
A total of 5,011 electric motorbikes were sold in Taiwan last year, with China Motor Corp.'s (CMC, 中華汽車) e-moving range dominating the market with 4,563 units.
Kwang Yang Motor Co. (光陽機車), Taiwan's largest motorcycle manufacturer, ranked second with 325 electric motorbikes sold in 2014, followed by Sanyang Motor Co.'s (三陽工業) 111 units.
(By Jeffrey Wu)ENDITEM/ke/J