Gogoro: The Tesla of NOT TESLAS

Yeah, we’ve all heard “the Tesla of _____” get tossed out.  It’s usually hype, all hype.  You know what?  A scooter startup might actually resemble Tesla more, and not how most people would expect.  Bear with me now.

Gogoro kept mum ’til CES.  No one let on what was in progress, except to say energy.  They raised $150 million in seed money somehow- way more than Rimac Motors of course, and into aerospace territory.  Also, the founders are from Taiwan tech firm HTC (of phone fame); backer #1 is HTC’s Cher Wang.  This is like Tesla’s Elon Musk coming from Paypal.  So, some new kind of charger maybe?  Boy, were we wrong; Gogoro revealed they are, at first glance, a scooter company, yet not- they happen to have a scooter, and something else in progress.

Sure, other people are building electric scooters, not the least of which is BMW- that’s right, the ultimate scootering machines.  Gogoro’s ride is suitably phone-like; it has sleek, hard lines more like bizzaro furniture, and LEDs shimmering front and back.  No, Gogoro’s trick is not some vehicle, but a platform, and not for your boots.  Gogoro battery modules pull out of the chassis, and slot back to recharge in public kiosks.  Kiosks that will rent batteries to Gogoro riders, plus other customers they don’t say yet.  Who else do Gogoro plan on attracting?  Let’s speculate:gklcf

-The original scooter riders
-Other electric 2-wheelers
-Electric cars
-Other consumer electronics: Lawn care
-Other consumer electronics: Home hubs
-Grid backups and grid substitutes Continue reading

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NAIAS Vast: B2B EV

I’ve said it before: there’s an entire, enormous world the consumer on the street doesn’t see.  Except this time, it’s still on the street.

Via Motors sells electrified vehicles, just not to you.  Via takes truck and van chassis, and finishes them out (“coachbuilding”) as plug-in hybrids with a Volt-like drivetrain.  (Founder Bob Lutz came from GM, and no surprise, uses GM platforms.)  The resulting vehicles are not merely saving gas; they are now huge, self-propelled generators.  The company, then, predicted their killer app would be selling work trucks to utilities.

They seem to be on to something.  Via has a functional factory, and announced their latest big score: approximately $100 million from Canadian buyers.  Sun Country Highway has electrified the Transcontinental Highway, primarily through EVSEs at Best Western hotels.  Sun Country Highway and Best Western are now starting with their first $10 million in Via vehicles, as shuttle vans for the hotels.  Charging will be at SCH charge points, which will save the hotel chain money, and then be available for guest vehicles. Continue reading