Electric scooters blazing a trail for Taiwan’s economic future- Nikkei Asian Review

TAIPEI — The drone of scooter engines reaches near-deafening levels on the streets of the Taiwanese capital during the morning rush hour. The island’s roughly 23 million people own some 13.6 million scooters, the highest number per person in the world.

In a city infamous for its gridlock, scooters are an indispensable means of transportation for Taiwanese of all ages, from busy working mothers to pensioners. “It’s very convenient and, more than anything, you don’t get stuck in traffic jams,” said Helen-Cheng, a 28-year-old woman who commutes by scooter.

Thanks to a simple way of solving a technological challenge, electric models are increasingly becoming the two-wheeler of choice for many Taiwanese, and their success offers hope for President Tsai Ing-wen’s plans to diversify industry away from its traditional strength in the information technology sector.

The problem with previous-generation electric scooters was the lengthy charge time, often needing to be left overnight to reach full power. This deterred many from switching over from gasoline models.

Six-second charge

That was until local venture Gogoro resolved the issue with its “six-second” charging system. Instead of drivers having to endure the seemingly eternal wait, the key lies in unmanned swap stations, where drivers can exchange low-running battery packs for a fully charged replacement.

Performance of new-generation models has also seen significant improvements. On a fully charged battery, a Gogoro scooter can travel a total of around 100km at 40kph. It can go from 0kph to 50kph in 4.2 seconds and reach speeds of up to 95kph.

There are over 220 Gogoro swap stations in the larger cities. In Taipei and New Taipei City, battery stations outnumber gas stations.

A smartphone app lets users know how much power is left and guides them to the nearest station. It also flags any problems with the vehicle using data gathered by attached sensors, and can be used to start the engine and unlock the seat compartment.

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications, a mere 5,000 of the 660,000 scooters registered in 2014 were electric types. In 2015, the figure more than doubled to 11,000 thanks to Gogoro’s launch in June. This year, 9,225 units were registered in the first seven months — over 60% of them were Gogoro models — meaning a new annual record will almost certainly be hit by a sizeable margin. The rapid success has earned Gogoro the nickname “the Tesla of scooters.”

Bigger picture

Some see the company as a model case for overcoming structural problems in Taiwan’s industrial structure. Taiwan made its name as the workhorse of the global IT industry by providing manufacturing services to the world’s electronics companies. But it has seen its lead in the field gradually eaten into by a rapidly advancing China.

“Taiwan’s IT industry is facing a massive challenge,” Tsai said after taking office in May. The new leader has made no secret of the fact that reforming the industrial structure is her most pressing task. Gogoro may offer a valuable example for how to promote creativity and value added products and services.

Meanwhile for the company, hopes are high for overseas expansion. At January’s Consumer Electronics Show in the U.S., Gogoro unveiled plans to share its battery stations with rivals in a bid to promote them. Gogoro’s scooters have been chosen by Germany’s Bosch, the world’s leading auto component maker, for its electric scooter sharing project, which began in Berlin in August.

The original article is here: http://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Electric-scooters-blazing-a-trail-for-Taiwan-s-economic-future?n_cid=NARAN012

European Mobility Week showcases electro-mobility in European cities

Around 2,000 European towns and cities are raising awareness of sustainability from 16 to 22 September. For many cities, the annual EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK campaign is an opportunity to showcase their measures to boost electro-mobility:

Brno, Czech Republic, is promoting electric car sharing, electric bikes and scooters. The city is organising a guided tour of an electric aircraft developed at the Brno University of Technology.

Gijón, Spain, will put on an exhibition of electric bikes and electric cars for local residents. The city is also hoping to address people with limited mobility.

Residents in Aberdeen, UK, will be able to discover the benefits of electric vehicles and test them at an electric vehicle roadshow. A new park and ride service will be introduced in the east of the city, which will allow for the charging of electric vehicles as well as bike parking.

Utrecht, Netherlands, will host an electric bike roadshow and a temporary test course on a business site. In addition, the Dutch city of Leerdam is implementing a new strategy to promote the use of electric cars.

In France, Versailles will put on electric bikes and electric buses for people who want to discover the city’s cultural treasures over the weekend. Cagliari, Italy, and Barcelona, Spain, will launch new electric buses at the end of the week.

Pavia, Italy, has installed a ‘solar flower’, an artificial flower equipped with solar panels to provide power to an electric car charging station.

The Portuguese city of Guimarâes is organising an exhibition of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Lidköping, Sweden, is inviting people to test electric bikes. There will be a competition and the prize will be…an electric bike. This takes place as part of a bigger event focusing on health.

The Platform for Electro-Mobility believes that: “Europe needs to speed up the electrification of all means of transport and become a leader in electro-mobility.

‘Smart and sustainable mobility – an investment for Europe’ is the theme of EUROPEANMOBILITYWEEK 2016. The call-to-action ‘Smart mobility. Strong economy.’ reflects the principle that investing in sustainable mobility moves our economy forward.

This year’s message on the economic benefits of smart and sustainable mobility is in line with the new EU strategy towards a low-carbon economy. Two thirds of total oil demand comes from transport. In 2015, overall spending on crude oil imports in the EU was €187 billion. The shift from fossil to hybrid and electric vehicles would enable Europe to save €47 billion by 2030.[1]

Electro-mobility also has economic benefits at an individual level: the owner of an average new car in 2020 will save about €300 to €400 on fuel each year compared to an owner of an average manufactured car in 2010. Replacement of an ICE car by a Light Electric Vehicle will result in even bigger savings.

The electrification of urban transport would contribute to the EU’s jobs and growth priority, as electric vehicles can create 11 million net new jobs by 2030[2].

[1] European Climate Foundation, Fuelling Europe’s Future, http://www.camecon.com/Libraries/Downloadable_Files/Fuelling_Europe_s_Future-_How_auto_innovation_leads_to_EU_jobs.sflb.ashx

[2] European Climate Foundation, Fuelling Europe’s Future, http://www.camecon.com/Libraries/Downloadable_Files/Fuelling_Europe_s_Future-_How_auto_innovation_leads_to_EU_jobs.sflb.ashx

EVS30 Call for Papers

The International Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition (EVS) is returning to Europe. The 30th edition will take place on October 9-11, 2017 in Stuttgart, Germany.

EVS30 Call for Papers now open

Submit your paper abstract now to be part of EVS30 – recognized as the premier event for academic, government and industry professionals involved in electric drive technologies. Establishing the connection between technology advancements and market implementation, EVS30 will be a forum to discuss how electromobility and new mobility technologies can contribute to a sustainable future.

Use this unique platform to present your latest research results, technical developments, best practice guidelines or practical experience in all fields related to batteries, fuel cell and hybrid electric vehicles, their components and the required infrastructure.

In addition to technical papers on electric powertrain and applications, components, the charging infrastructure and vehicle and transportation systems, we are inviting papers on innovative business models, market development strategies, public policies and strategies as well as field reports on mobility concepts to reflect the advancing stage of mass market entry.

Take a look at the full list of topics we are inviting papers: http://www.messe-stuttgart.de/en/evs30/exhibitors/symposium-call-for-papers/submit-paper-now/

There is a specific topic “light vehicles”, whereas several topics are suitable for the submission of papers on light electric vehicles.

Last chance to register for the 1st Light Electric Vehicle Summit

Thursday is the last registration day for the LEVS, the 1st World Light Electric Vehicle Summit, to take place in Barcelona on 20th & 21st September 2016.

So, do not miss the chance to

– listen to over 70 presentations & get a complete overview of the current activities in Europe dealing with Light Vehicle eMobility
– participate in constructive discussions to build the LEVs future
– meet top specialists in the field and start new projects and/or discover business opportunities
– enjoy Barcelona, probably the most advanced city when it comes to urban smart mobility

For organizational reasons, no more registration will be possible after thursday 23.00 CET.
For registration click here: http://levs.mobi/?page=registration.