Gogoro, the buzzy electric scooter and battery swap startup, is finally pushing beyond its Taipei borders with the help of German industrial conglomerate Robert Bosch Group.
Gogoro is partnering with a new Bosch subsidiary called Coup, a smart electric scooter-sharing service that is launching in Berlin and could eventually expand to other European cities. Initially, 200 of Gogoro’s flashy Smartscooter vehicles equipped with Coup’s cloud and app ecosystem will hit the streets of Berlin. Boston Consulting Group (THE-BOSTON-CONSULTING-GROUP) Digital Ventures built the scooter-sharing software.
Anyone over the age of 21 can use the Coup app to locate and rent a Gogoro scooter in the Berlin neighborhoods of Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain, and Kreuzberg. The scooters will be rented for a flat-rate fee of 3 euros ($3.34) for 30 minutes or 20 euros ($22.29) for the whole day.
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Of course, vehicle-sharing programs are nothing new. Car2go, a Daimler-owned brand, operates one of the largest car-sharing operations globally. Zipcar has been around for more than 15 years. And there are many more.
What’s different here—besides the obvious observation that this is a scooter, and not a car—is that there’s a battery swap component to Gogoro’s business model. The scooters are equipped with two lithium-ion battery packs from Panasonic (PCRFY), one of Gogoro’s backers. Instead of waiting around for the electric scooter to charge, drivers can grab the batteries out of the vehicle, place them into a special charging kiosk, and then replace them with two fresh ones.
Since Gogoro started selling its electric scooters in Taiwan last year, the company has built a network of the battery charging and swapping kiosks in the region. As of April, the company had 175 GoStation battery-swap stations, with 7,000 batteries being swapped daily in Taipei and New Taipei City.
Gogoro’s entry into Berlin isn’t entirely surprising. The company has publicly stated plans to move into Europe and the U.S.—and initially, it looked like Amsterdam would become Gogoro’s second electric scooter network. (The company says it has partnered with Amsterdam to bring scooters there this summer.)
What is perhaps more curious is Bosch’s new independent brand Coup. Bosch’s mobility unit is its largest business sector, providing 41.7 billion euros ($46.48 billion) in sales last year, or about 59% of total group sales. But this unit has typically focused on developing technology for companies like Tesla, Google, and Porsche, not a direct service to an individual consumer.
Coup marks the company’s interest in providing services that make moving from Point A to Point B easier for the individual consumer, while boosting its own bottom line.