Gogoro: Berlin just got an army of rentable, all-electric scooters
London may have Boris bikes, but Berlin just got its own fleet of shareable electric scooters – and they look awesome. Starting from today, 200 of the swanky mopeds will hit the German capital’s streets.
The premise is pretty simple: the scooters will be available to anyone over 21 with a valid driver’s or motorcycle licence, and customers will be able to pay a reasonable €3 for 30 minutes of riding or €20 for a full day.
For some context, a Boris – or should I say Santander – bike will cost you £2 a ride or the same for a 24-hour hire, but the first 30 minutes of every journey is free. That makes Berlin’s scooters seem pretty pricey, but it’s important to remember they’re electric – and can achieve speeds of up to 60mph. The scooters can also communicate with your phone via an app because, well, it is 2016 after all.
The project is still only in the pilot stages, but
The project is still only in the pilot stages, butright now the service resembles something like Zipcar. Users download the counterpart app, put in their licence info and then find the nearest scooter. After getting a helmet from the top box, they’re good to go. Once they’re done, they just need to leave the scooter in one of Berlin’s most popular neighbourhoods: Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain or Kreuzberg. That sounds pretty limited, but once the programme kicks off properly, there’s every chance those areas will be extended upon.
As for battery life? There’s no mention of the range of each scooter, but the current setup looks simple enough. Rather than giving the user a responsibility to charge bikes, the company behind the service, Gogoro, will send teams of employees to swap any batteries below 20% for fully charged ones – ideally within 12 hours of them being run down.
In Taiwan, where the service has already launched, scooter users can swap batteries in charging kiosks, but for now things will work a little differently in Berlin.
So will it succeed?
The project is the work of Gogoro, and although that name might not mean much, it comes with a serious amount of backing. Gogoro was created by former HTC chief innovation officer Horace Luke, and also comes with financial backing from serious companies such as Panasonic – one of Tesla’s key battery suppliers. Throw in partnership with Coup – a branch of German automotive and consumer tech giant Bosch – and Gogoro has all the pedigree it needs to be a success. And with any luck, it’ll be coming to London soon, too.