What do you do when the battery in your e-bike drains out? Well, simply swap it with a new one at a gas station and zoom away! In the last two blogs of this series, this blogger discussed how e-bikes are poised to change the future of urban mobility, with smart wheels that make riding easier. Alongside come smart e-scooters too that allow you to step into a gas station, pick a charged battery, replace it with the drained one in your bike and jump back onto the road.
The CES 2015 was a feast for the automobile maniac. While fantabulous smart wheel technologies and futuristic e-bikes were on display, what fascinated many visitors was the Gogoro. Designed by former HTC executives Horace Luke and Matt Taylor, the Gogoro is an electric scooter (or e-scooter) that has the potential to take the electric vehicles market to a new level. Elegantly designed and fitted with LED lighting, LED display systems, custom sounds and smartphone integration, this e-bike can travel 60 miles on swappable batteries.
Even better is the fact that you can go in and out of a gas station (or e-station if there are many dotting the landscape) in a fraction of the time taken to fill regular gas. All you need to do is get in with your discharging battery, hand it over the counter, pick a charged cell, fit it into the slot and vroom away.
Battery swapping is the key
A major drawback of all electric vehicles is the charging time; even the best systems take about three to four hours to power up. An easy-to-use battery swapping technology means that any electric vehicle can be easily made ready for reuse after battery depletion within a very short period of time. E-bikes can benefit strongly from this system. This stands true for all e-bikes mentioned in the earlier blogs of this series – the Bosch E-bike System, the FlyKly smart wheel, the Copenhagen Wheel. Now, battery swapping technology is not new. Tesla had proposed a robotic system for this too. But the ease and simplicity of Gogoro’s system is what makes it attractive. In fact, the battery packs of both Tesla and Gogoro are made of Panasonic’s Li-ion cells.
It’s all in the patent power
“Gogoro’s current patent portfolio shows a strong leaning toward interchangeable batteries and power-packs, smarter access to distributed recharging stations, and ways in which electric vehicles could be improved”– says Vincent Nguyen of SlashGear. This points to a highly beneficial system that could change the face of urban mobility.
For a start, battery swapping is clearly advantageous because of the nearly instantaneous charging that it offers. But that’s not all. Batteries are one of the most expensive components of an electric vehicle, a business model designed around renting or leasing battery packs can reduce the cost of ownership of batteries for the end consumer. Another problem is the smaller lifespan of batteries. Most electric scooter batteries in the market need replacement after two to five years, which amounts to a considerable cost. This system can reduce such costs too. If Gogoro makes itself heard in the market with a sound business model, this technology has the potential to revolutionize not only the electric scooter industry, but the automobile industry as a whole.
(Featured image source: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Red-Scooter-Panning-Speed-1750941)