Electric powered scooters by interchangeable, rechargeable batteries, Gogoro now accounts for nearly a quarter of monthly sales in Taiwan, its home market. But one of the most frequently asked questions of co-founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke is when will Gogoro launch his scooters in other countries.
“He always said, ‘we prepare, we prepare, we prepare,” he told TechCrunch. Gogoro answered that question today by announcing a strategic partnership with Hero MotoCorp, one of the largest manufacturers of two-wheeled vehicles the world and the market leader in India, where it is headquartered.
Gogoro and Hero MotoCorp’s agreement includes a joint venture to build a battery exchange network in India. Hero MotoCorp will also launch electric two-wheelers based on Gogoro technology under its own brand. This will mark the first time the company has launched electric vehicles. (The partnership should not be confused with Hero Electric, which is run by the relatives of the founders of Hero MotoCorp, but is a separate company).
The deal will focus on India before expanding into other Hero MotoCorp markets (it serves a total of 40 countries). Details, such as the first vehicle, launch and pricing cities, will be announced later, but Luke said Gogoro and Hero MotoCorp are “using very fast.”
Luke described the strategic partnership as a validation of Gogoro’s goal of becoming a smart battery and mobility exchange platform, packaging its technology as a single-contractor solution for companies looking to produce energy efficient vehicles.
“We designed our technology, capabilities and business model in the hope that one day we can seek a giant as a Hero,” said Luke.
The first Gogoro Smartscooter was launched in 2015. Since then, it has struck partnerships with manufacturers such as Yamaha, PGO and A-Motor to build electric scooters with its technology under their own brands, but Gogoro’s international rollout has been very gradual : for example, a supply fleet in South Korea and a partnership with the now-defunct scooter sharing service Coup in Europe. His first product launch in the United States was for scooters, his electric bike brand Eeyo.
Gogoro and Hero MotoCorp have been talking for more than a year and Luke described the strategic partnership as one of the most important deals the company has made so far.
“To make a huge change, we need massive adoption, and Taiwan has served us very well as a pilot market for us to develop technology, refine it and show the world that it is possible, through this technology of exchange and going . rather than a plug-and-charge scenario tied up, so that light personal mobility takes off, ”says Luke.
But clearly India is a much bigger market, both geographically and population, than Taiwan. The Indian government wants to put more electric vehicles on the road with subsidy programs, and the high cost of fuel in the country is another incentive for people to switch from gas to electricity. A major barrier for many consumers, however, is “range anxiety,” or concerns about how long their electric vehicle can run on charge.
This is why the joint venture of Gogoro and Hero MotoCorp exchange station is important. In Taiwan, Gogoro now has more than 375,000 cyclists and 2,000 battery exchange / charging stations, handling 265,000 exchanges per day. That density is a key selling point because cyclists can quickly find a nearby exchange station via the Gogoro smartphone app.
Gogoro’s batteries and charging stations are connected to its Gogoro Network cloud service, which monitors battery condition and controls how fast they are charged. This allows the batteries to last longer – Luke said the company has not retired any of its Smart Batteries in six years. Data from the Gogoro Network also shows the company where it needs to install more stations. In India, Gogoro and Hero MotoCorp will start with highly populated areas, before adding demand-based stations, similar to Gogoro’s approach to its Taiwan network.
After India, Gogoro and Hero MotoCorp plan to enter other markets, promoting Gogoro’s international expansion.
“What is really important about this partnership is their influence on the two-wheel market, and the importance of the two-wheel market in emerging markets,” said Luke.
In a press release, Hero MotoCorp’s chairman and CEO, Dr. Pawan Munjal, said the strategic partnership is an extension of the research and the development has already been put into creating an electric vehicle portfolio.
“Today marks another important milestone in our journey, as we bring Hero’s leadership in two-wheelers, our world-class powerhouse and innovation, with Gogoro’s leadership in the exchange business model, as they have shown over the years. years in Taiwan and the rest. from the world, ”added Munjal.