After first entering Korea in 2019 as part of a food delivery partnership, Gogoro is now expanding its battery-swapping electric scooters around the country and opening up ridership for everyday commuters. It’s a move that follows Gogoro’s tried and true strategy of entering countries with an initial focus on business customers and then expanding to private consumers.
Gogoro is well-known for its high-speed electric scooters and their swappable batteries, which eliminate the need to stop and charge the scooter for several hours. Instead, riders simply pull into a battery swap station and roll back out seconds later with new, fully charged batteries. Gogoro’s battery model has become something of a de facto standard, though other industry heavyweights like Honda have tried imitating it in order to eventually offer a competing standard.
In Gogoro’s domestic market of Taiwan, thousands of swap stations cover the country and ensure riders are always within a few minutes of a station. The company counts hundreds of thousands of battery swaps each day across those stations.
Moving beyond its home market, Gogoro has been aggressively expanding internationally over the last few years to reach countries across Asia including China, India, Indonesia, the Philippines, Korea, Japan, Singapore, and Israel.
The Korean expansion announcement comes as part of an evolving partnership with BikeBank, a leading electric two-wheeled vehicle service in Korea.
Together, the two companies will introduce Gogoro’s Smartscooters and the company’s lauded battery swapping to Korean consumers in Q3 2023 under the Dotstation brand, expanding the battery swapping network to seven additional cities beyond the current operations in Seoul.
Gogoro founder and CEO Horace Luke discussed the expanded partnership, saying:
It is great to be growing our partnership with Bikebank, a company that shares similar values and is committed to accelerating the shift to electric transportation in Korea. Seoul has one of the largest food delivery ecosystems in the world and was one of the first markets to embrace Gogoro battery swapping for food deliverie. Together, we are introducing Gogoro Smartscooters and battery swapping to Korean consumers while we continue to grow our B2B food delivery business where we work with market leaders to enable sustainable food delivery.
To support the major growth expected by the expansion of services, Bikebank has opened two Dotstation retail stores for consumers and last mile delivery riders as well as expanded the battery swapping network to more than 70 battery swapping stations across Korea. Those battery swapping stations will be available in the cities of Seoul, Daegu, Sejong, Changwon, Incheon, Gyeongsan, Gyeonggi, and Ulsan.
Minkyu Kim, CEO of Bikebank, expanded on the announcement:
Together with Gogoro, we are accelerating the transformation of urban mobility in Korea. We created Dotstation to lead us forward into a new era of sustainable urban transportation that provides a path for Korean consumers to embrace sustainability in a new and practical way. Dotstation is expanding Gogoro battery swapping services to eight Korean cities, and we anticipate launching more battery swapping locations this year with a range of vehicles including Gogoro Smartscooters for consumers.
The move could signal an increased focus on expanding B2C (business to consumer) operations around the world, after Gogoro has spent the last few years significantly growing its international B2B (business to business) operations.
That would align with the existing Gogoro strategy we’ve seen lately, as, Luke explained to Electrek:
“The expansion of our partnership with Bikebank in Korea today exemplifies our market entry and international expansion strategy. In Korea, we began with a pilot program and then progressed to a successful B2B food delivery service in Seoul and are now introducing Smartscooters and battery swapping to consumers across eight Korean cities.”
This is big news for anyone who has drooled over Gogoro’s battery-swapping electric scooters. I happen to be lucky enough to live in a country that already received Gogoro’s scooters for consumers, and now I count the Gogoro S2 Performance ABS as my daily rider. I’m happy for Koreans that they’ll get to experience these awesome scooters and battery swapping system soon, too.
The model of course makes sense for delivery riders, since they can spend all day on their scooters and don’t have the luxury of waiting for a recharge. Compared to combustion engine motorcycles and scooters, a battery swap takes even less time than a fuel stop at a gas station. And of courser riders get all the other benefits of electric vehicles, such as the reduced noise, smoother operation, cleaner and lower maintenance experience, etc.
But for consumers, the ability to never worry about charging again is also a welcome advantage. And while Gogoro has significantly expanded its commercial operations to partner with food delivery companies around Asia, its consumer operations haven’t expanded quite as quickly. Seeing Koreans finally get the chance to buy Gogoro’s scooters for personal use is a major step and demonstrates that Gogoro is still focusing on expanding its consumer operations as well, marking the third and final move in the Pilot > B2B > B2C strategy it has followed.
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