Gogoro, the startup whose battery-powered scooters were one of the highlights of CES in January, announced today that the bikes will go on sale for the first time this summer starting in Taiwan, where it is based.
The company, which generated buzz by raising $150 million during three years in stealth mode, will also open its first retail store in Taipei this week and launch a pilot program in the city to test Smartscooters, its first vehicle.
Gogoro did not reveal how much Smartscooters will cost. TechCrunch has contacted the company to ask about pricing details and its launch schedule for other countries. In a blog post, Gogoro said that most of the inquiries it received after its scooters were unveiled at CES came from India, China, Brazil, and Thailand, countries where scooters are a popular form of transportation.
Though it is based there and is arguably a quintessential Taiwanese startup with its focus on hardware and connections with HTC (several of its engineers are HTC alum and it also received financial backing from chairwoman Cher Wang), Gogoro still took pains to explain why it decided to launch in Taiwan first. With just 23 million people, the country is often overlooked by other companies.
“Many people have said the Taiwan market is small and, in fact, even some Taiwanese brands are reluctant to focus on the Taiwanese market, but Gogoro has a different point of view. Gogoro believes Taiwan is extremely important. Taiwanese people are used to riding scooters and are also especially open to trying new products, which means Taiwan is Gogoro’s ideal market. Plus, there is a focus on making cities cleaner and finding smarter energy sources, which combines to make Taiwan the best option for Gogoro’s launch.”
Another benefit of launching in Taiwan first is that Gogoro is working with the city governments in Taipei City (the nation’s capitol) and New Taipei City to build an infrastructure of its battery-swapping stations, called GoStations, for Smartscooters. This is essential because having easily accessible places where they can power up their bikes will help convince consumers to buy a Smartscooter.
Gogoro’s retail store will be in Xinyi, one of Taipei City’s busiest shopping and business districts, and it is also inviting 100 people to participate in its pilot program, during which each rider will log about 1,000 hours on a Smartscooter.