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The Rise of Battery Swapping

Two wheel electric mopeds are a roaring success in Asia because it takes just one minute to get a full charge.


Gogoro battery swapping station
Gogoro battery swapping station | Credit: Gogoro

That’s thanks Gogoro Inc., the Taipei-based company, that lets riders swap out its batteries as often as they like for up to 630 km (392 miles) of driving each month, all for a subscription fee of 849 new Taiwan dollars ($27.80).


The company's app identifies the nearest swapping station with charged batteries in stock. Once there, riders simply pull out thier moped’s depleted batteries, insert them into a vending-machine-like device, which then distributes fresh ones. Within 60 seconds, riders are on the road again with 40 miles of new range.


Many people in Asia are starting to embrace electric mobility with the help of batteries that can be changed out on the fly. While battery-swapping is complicated to implement in electric cars, companies like Gogoro are proving that mopeds, rickshaws and other two- and three-wheelers are well suited to quick-and-easy battery switches, which can both alleviate range anxiety and spur wider EV adoption. And, of course, greatly reduce air pollution and carbon emissions.


The boost can’t come soon enough, either. In India, for example, nearly 80 percent of vehicles sold are two-wheelers, and motorcycles and rickshaws account for roughly one third of fuel consumed on the road, according to clean energy research group BloombergNEF.


“Electrifying two-wheelers and rickshaws can help increase emissions mitigation in this decade before electric vehicle adoption takes off in other segments,” says BloombergNEF. In 2020, just 2 percent of two-wheelers in Southeast Asia were electric. BloombergNEF expects that figure to reach 20 percent by 2030, thanks in part to battery-swapping.

 

Graphic illustrating a battery

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