Five months after announcing a deal with two of China’s biggest two-wheel vehicle makers, Gogoro officially launched there today, opening 45 battery swapping stations in Hangzhou. The company’s co-founder and chief executive officer Horace Luke told TechCrunch that it targets 80 stations by the end of the year, before expanding into other major cities with its partners, Yadea and Dachangjiang Group (DCJ).
In China, Gogoro’s battery swapping technology will operate under the Huan Huan brand, a partnership between Gogoro, Yadea and DCJ.
Yadea and DCJ are both developing vehicles that run on Gogoro’s battery swapping technology, with Yadea launching two models for sale today, starting in Hangzhou.
The companies expect consumer demand to be driven by government regulations for electric two-wheel vehicles that (among other things) require the use of lithium batteries instead of lead-acid. An estimated 270 million vehicles that don’t meet the new regulations will need to be retired by 2025.
Gogoro announced last month that it will go public on Nasdaq after a $2.35 billion SPAC deal with Poema Global that is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022. In addition to its battery swapping network, Gogoro is also known for its own range of high-end two-wheel scooters, but has made deals with other manufacturers to produce vehicles that use its batteries and charging stations, including Yamaha, Suzuki and AeonMotor.
Its partnerships have been an important factor in increasing the accessibility of Gogoro’s technology, and the company also announced a deal this year with Hero MotoCorp, the market leader for two-wheeled vehicles in India.
“We’ve always been looked at as ‘Gogoro is too premium, we are out of reach to the people that really matter in major cities,’ and with Yadea and DCJ, everyone is going to be able to ride and buy the vehicles, which won’t be any more expensive than previously-sold mass vehicles,” said Luke.