Renewable Energy SmartPod

A Bright Future For Battery Swapping

April 20, 2022 Sean McMahon Season 2 Episode 3
Renewable Energy SmartPod
A Bright Future For Battery Swapping
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Horace Luke, the Founder and CEO of Gogoro, has a vision. It's a vision that involves tackling a huge energy challenge the transportation sector is facing. While companies like Tesla, Rivian and BYD are electrifying four-wheel vehicles, less attention is being paid to electrifying two-wheel vehicles. That's where Luke sees opportunity because two-wheelers account for billions of commuter miles around the world every year.

In this episode, Luke explains the basics of battery swapping and outlines how Gogoro's network of charging stations is revolutionizing urban transportation. However, Gogoro's platform doesn't just change how riders get from Point A to Point B, it also works to enhance grid resiliency by working with power companies to manage two-way load.

Luke also sees a use for Gogoro's batteries beyond vehicles. From stoplights and parking meters to in-home use and glamping, Luke sees a wide range of sustainable uses for batteries. Luke isn't the only one who sees opportunity in the lanes Gogoro is occupying as the company recently went public on the NASDAQ after receiving early backing from the likes of Al Gore, Temasek and Engine No. 1.

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(Note: This transcript was created using artificial intelligence. It has not been edited verbatim.)

Sean McMahon  00:10

What’s up everyone and welcome to another episode of the renewable energy smartpod. I’m your host Sean McMahon - and today we are going to be talking with Horace Luke, the founder and CEO of Gogoro. Gogoro’s battery-swapping technology aims to help electrify the transportation sector. If you are listening to this podcast, you might already know that transportation is one of the sectors that produces the most greenhouse gas emissions and. Efforts are already underway to tackle the problem. Airlines are working on sustainable fuel, long-haul trucking is being electrified .. the shipping industry has even started to pivot to greener fuels. And oh … juuuuust in case you have been living under a rock for the last decade or so, consumer automobiles are also going electric with the help of some guy named Elon. Perhaps you’ve heard of him?

So where does Gogoro fit into this electrification puzzle? If you’ll pardon the pun,  what is the battery swapping company’s lane?  The answer is two-wheel vehicles. N., I’m not talking about electric bikes like the ones you see kids zooming around on seemingly everywhere … seriously - do any kids actually pedal bikes anymore these days? 

Gogoro’s network of batteries is powering the scooters that are massively popular in urban areas across Asia. This is a huge challenge, especially when you consider the billions of miles commuters on two-wheelers travel each year. Yep BILLIONS! Electrifying those miles is a very big deal.

Horace is going to share more about the technology Gogoro deploys and the vision the company, which was recently listed on the Nasdaq, has for the future of swappable batteries. Here’s a hint … it’s a future that extends beyond transportation.

Looking ahead … pretty soon I will be talking with John Belizaire, the founder and CEO of Soluna Computing. John is gonna join the show to talk about how sustainable computing can play a crucial role in making renewable energy projects more profitable and maybe, just maybe, clean up the image of cryptocurrency mining. Crypto mining has taken a bit of a beating recently, but John has a different perspective. It’s one he recently shared on capitol hill when he testified before Congress … and one that might make you see crypto mining as something that will help, rather than hurt, grid resiliency and the growth of renewables.

That episode is coming up soon, but for now, let’s get today’s conversation rolling 

Hello, everyone, and thank you for joining me for this episode of the Renewable Energy SmartPod. I'm very excited to have our guests joining us today from Taiwan. Horace Luke is the Founder and CEO of Gogoro. Horace, how're you doing today?


Horace Luke  02:56

Hey, Sean, I'm doing well. Thank you for having me.


Sean McMahon  02:59

There's a lot of exciting things going on in your world these days. The company, you know, just was listed on the NASDAQ. You're one of the leading companies around the world and battery swapping technology. And so I wanted to kind of have you come on and talk to our listeners a little bit about that. So let's start at the very beginning. What are the basics here? What is battery swapping


Horace Luke  03:16

People in the West most often don't realize is how much the people in the East depend on two wheelers in order to go about their everyday life, right? Over 50% of all urban commute miles done daily around the world is done on two wheelers. In just China, India, and Taiwan alone, we're talking about half 1,000,000,000 2-wheelers roaming around taking people you know, to be taking people to work picking kids up from school, going to the supermarket, etc, etc. But yet the urban environment that these vehicles are in is impossible for them to be electrified. I mean, we you know, we now hear about electric vehicle, I mean, unfold wheel space, you got the Tesla, you got, you know, lucid, you got everybody, you know, from from four wheelers to semi trucks, you know, electrified but two wheeler, you know, if you look at cities across the east, you know, it's really difficult for these two wheelers to be to be electrified, because it's just impossible to find places to park, therefore, it's impossible to find places to recharge your vehicle. So that's kind of where the aha moment came in for Gogoro was really about you know, battery included, you know, instead of owning your battery instead of having to wait to charge it, you know, out in the open, you know, you you're swapping in seconds. So, you know, you buy a vehicle doesn't come with a battery, you subscribe to the battery, just like you buy an iPhone, or Android phone in the US. It does. It does not come with a mobile plan, right. You got your device and then you sign up for a mobile plan. Same thing with us. We are now working with a number of vehicle makers. You know, we work on top of our own brand we work in with Yamaha. We work in Suzuki Taiwan, we work with A Moto and eon we work in PGL a number of other vehicle makers to build vehicles, they're compatible with our swapping network. So instead of charging the battery, you simply by the, by the vehicle, and then you subscribe to the network use a number variety of plans that we got, starting from, like, let's say 10 bucks, you know, a month for about 60 miles. And then anything over 60 miles, you pay incrementally on top of all the way to their couple planes in between all the way to all you can ride and the ability for you to pay like 4050 bucks, and you can ride as much as you ever want on a two wheeler per month. And through throughout the city, you would simply when the battery goes low, you stop by one of our station, and then you swap it out in seconds. So going from serial view to 100% fuel in just seconds.


Sean McMahon  05:52

Yeah, I want to talk about this charging stations for better called GoStations. Is that right?


Horace Luke  05:56

Yeah, they're called GoStations. Think of them as really like, like Coca Cola vending machine sighs Okay, they're a little bit bigger than that. But they're placed in places like convenience store supermarket. Universities, underneath apartment buildings in, in, in kind of apartment complexes, a gas stations, at bus stops and train stops, and very conveniently placed. And, you know, in Taiwan, we've been doing this since 2015. Today, we have more locations than gas station in urban centers in the cities. By the end of this year, across the entire island of Taiwan, we will have more swapping location than we do with with gas stations. We just shipped our 1 million battery. And we have almost about half a million riders on the network swapping batteries literally several times a second. Our network is fully autonomous people go and just you know, swap batteries on their own. It just refueling in seconds.


Sean McMahon  06:58

And so how many batteries are at each charging station? I mean, I'm sure they vary by size, but you know, give me the range.


Horace Luke  07:03

Yeah, they vary by size. They vary from like 30 batteries all the way up to you know, little more than 100 You know, a small scale station services, you know, several 100 customers. And then you got you know, the large scale stations, that what we call super go stations, they serve as you know, well over 1000 customers. People come in every you know, several days every three, three days or so, they come in and swap a battery. The best way to think about it for Americans is blue Rhino. You know that the propane gas tank? Yeah, barbecues. Yeah, kinda like that.


Sean McMahon  07:37

Kind of, but the batteries are much smaller. I'm gonna make it clear the batteries are much smaller than people heavy propane tank, they're kind of a they, to me like kind of a like one of those portable speakers like a JBL or Bose speaker that you carry around, like how much these things weighing like


Horace Luke  07:52

You know, I've been living in Taiwan for so long, I go back kilograms, they, they weighed 10 kilograms. So kind of like a jug of milk about a jug of milk.


Sean McMahon  08:00

And you kind of lift up the seat, plug in and plug it in and rock and roll and get going.


Horace Luke  08:04

Exactly right. And it's high power terminals or physical, the communication terminals or through Wi Fi, or NFC through wireless. And so it's environmental proof is completely waterproof, you know, rainy day, you plug it, you know, ticket out of vehicles plugin and our station station, do the analytics. Did you pay your bill? You know, what's your profile, you know what, you know, how much have you written, get all that data out, transfer that data into the new set of batteries and eject two batteries so we can put in your trunk, we can do it in, you know about, you know, several seconds. And it's a great user experience for the consumer. And when before we started in Taiwan, there was really less than 1% of two wheelers are sold. That was electric. Last year we ended the year with about in Taipei about 26% market share. So one out of four vehicles sold is actually a Google and Google Partner vehicle. And then that what's perhaps most most important is that that represented 95% of all, all electric vehicles sold our battery swapping. So we're not only you know, a game changer in this equation, but also definitely, you know, the de facto standard as we host I think in Taiwan now we have 45 or 4040 43 or 45 different vehicle models. So you want ones that are high performance and we got it. You want ones that are three wheelers, we got it. We've got ones that are like super low performance and super easy to ride. We've got that too. We've got tall ones for big families so they can actually, you know, grab a whole family and put it on it or you got a single rider one, you know, just a variety of vehicles using the identical same swapping network. So think of us as really a technology platform guy you know, I always say where the enjoyed the movie, or the windows Intel of computing. We created analogy that enable other people to build great vehicles, in addition to our vehicles that we built,


Sean McMahon  10:06

Yeah, it's funny you said, Android, because that's what I was thinking to I was like, this is their building kind of the platform that everyone can use to power their vehicles. What what kind of energy sources do you use to power the network of charging stations? You know, this is renewable podcasts, are you guys using renewable energies for energy for that?


Horace Luke  10:21

Yeah, Taiwan to renew renewable energy is is starting to come up. It's predominantly not renewable today, but it's making it there, we will prioritize that as as it's available. What's interesting is that is, you know, just not just renewable energy that's important. But also when you take energy and also how you how you are, you're being part of the grid. So a good example of, of how we do things is a lot of stations are connected to our central nervous system, so to speak out to a central server. So most recently, we announced a partnership with Enel X, the world's largest VPP, or virtual powerplant provider, to basically do a demand response. So if the grid, you know, the grid needs to balance at about 65 hertz, right, and, and in the next 10 minutes, if they see a surge coming, you know, they ask everybody around town to basically contribute by slowing down or stopping their their energy use, well, we actually have a smart system in the background that actually allows us to do that, we not only look at the way that you ride and how you use energy, but also because of that we can predict when it is that we need to actually charge these batteries just in time to get ready for the consumer to pick up in between, then we can actually be a good grid participant by either, you know, participating demand respond by slowing down our charge. And, of course, you know, that comes from revenue stream that comes inbound because of, you know, because of demand response participation. But also on top of that, our stations are bi directionally ready. So we also working with high power the single energy provider in Taiwan, to actually push the energy back into the grid, today, we have close to about 200 megawatt hour of, of battery on the side of the road at any given time, that is a great opportunity for us to participate in distributed storage all throughout the city. So that's something that we're, we're, we're absolutely working on. And then on top of that, we, most recently, we announced several other use of our battery, outside of the mobility, we're using a portable battery to power things like smart parking meter pool. So you know, you're from Portland's a, you know, you know, their, their parking meters that actually uses solar, you know, to power itself. But unfortunately, in a city like Taipei, or in a lot of emerging countries that I'm going into the, you know, the ability to see Sun is actually next to none. Not only a building's tall, but also at the same time, you know, the sky is great, right, the sky is extremely polluted. So instead of using solar, we're using our portable battery to power the spark parking pole for 27 days. So every 27 days, you know, somebody goes out and swap a battery, and that extends the life use of these batteries beyond mobility, you know, and for most of the listeners, they know that you know, electric vehicle batteries get too close to retirement at 80% of SOC, right of available energy. Well, instead of recycling, we really ourselves and inside of a company really believe in sustainability and reusability we just announced several weeks ago, our partnership with the city to to backup stoplights, you know, the Taiwan government is really looking to improve safety when it comes to rolling brownouts you know, in cities that I'm going into in Jakarta in OG Minh City in in cities across India, it's a big headache you know, power goes out and then stoplight goes out nobody you know traffic jam, and accidents happen. You know, we can actually put batteries at every one of the stoplights to power it for three hours. So you know while the while the power gives out we are keeping keeping traffic you know going in a very safe and predictable way so you know, it's not just about mobility is about you know, smart portable power that can be powering cities for it for the future.


Sean McMahon  14:11

Yeah, I love what you're saying about kind of being able to push the power back from the charging stations to the grid because I mean that's obviously a really hot topic here in the US right now. Even even the vehicle to home power I mean you know I'm one of those people is on the waiting list for a Ford F 150 lightning and they've you know, one of the selling points there is it can power your home for a couple of days and you know when we have these blackouts and power outages so so that's fascinating so and you said earlier you're right now you're obviously you know, huge in the two wheeler space you got models that you offer the three wheels, any thoughts on going to four wheel and kind of challenging some of the the big companies mentioned you know, the Tesla's, Rivian and things like that, are you going to kind of stay two and three wheel?


Horace Luke  14:45

Yeah, you know, I think four wheels is a is a is a great market, but it's no two I moved to the yeast because I really wanted to solve the problem with the yeast and in the yeast, you know, a good example of a usage of two wheels in India 80% of all commute miles done every day is done on two wheelers. 60% of all gasoline spent every year is spent on two wheelers is a gigantic problem to solve. You know, we want to focus on two wheels and three wheelers, solve that so that we have a better future for our future generation. In a four wheeler, you got sofas, you got stereo system, you got windshields, you got air conditioner, you got a lot of things you need to move around, the energy efficiency of a four wheeler is really a fraction of what it is on a two wheeler, you know, I'm able to go 100 kilometer or 60 miles, or with just 3.4, you know, 3.4 kilowatt hour of energy, you can't do that in a four wheeler, you know, you need easily five times more than that energy in order to actually go the same distance. So we you know, in order to go four wheelers, we need to actually get the energy, the energy density up so that we can get that usability, easier to swap out those batteries. But in the meantime, a huge market, right? Half 1,000,000,002 wheelers moving around in, in Asia alone, that requires us, you know, people like us to really pay some attention to


Sean McMahon  16:11

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. To me, it sounds like you're saying where the where the batteries are most efficient right now. So and you mentioned some of the markets, you're in Taiwan, India, some of this is a little bit about what is your footprint look like right now? And what's the plan going for the next couple years,


Horace Luke  16:24

We have over the last several years, proved our model in Taiwan, we, you know, we started the company back in 2011, spent about four or five years developing the first wave of technology. And then it's kind of like, with a network, it's kind of like a sim, it's like Sim City, you have to have live network in order to develop the tools and systems and algorithms to actually run it. Everything, you know, that you simulate might not be the same as how people use it. And so over the last couple of years, we've actually developed a lot of tools and systems to get ready for expansion. today. We are in all of Taiwan, we have about half a million riders in Taiwan using about you know, 11,000 cabinets, you know, just swapped stick the cabinets in 2000 some 2200 locations. So, you know, the model is kind of proven, we've got our system ready. We've you know, expanded into Korea with food delivery to power basically last mile to be clean, you know, no vibration, no, no heat, no, no, no smelly for your, for your food, which is good. We are also enabling a partner called tear in, in Germany to do ride sharing, as well, as you know, we've created ride sharing in tents called Gosha. There's 100% owned by us and Taiwan also, as well. We started a pilot in Jakarta. With go to and go Jack, if you don't know, that's a largest technology company in Indonesia, that also just went public has 2 million riders on that network, we're getting ready to go fully electric. You know, in Japan, we do holiday rental and and try to get, you know, tourism to be clean. So we kind of dabbled in a lot of different things at the moment. You know, on On April, the fifth, we went public on the NASDAQ getting the for the getting ready for the moment to expand and getting the needed resources and the partnership that it takes to go into places like India, China, Indonesia, and many other emerging markets. And that's kind of a big next step for us. To really, you know, we secured a really good amount of resources for ourselves to be able to go expand. And that's a that's a huge step for us. Trying to start deploying in hospital in Wushi. And coming. A couple more cities to come in the later part of the year, as our vehicle makers get ready to commercialize in Jakarta, we're working on expanding our pilot to a couple 1000 vehicles, you know, it's really tough market will take time to develop. And we're just at that cusp of that moment, where we're going to take advantage of this kind of trend towards electric to commercialize


Sean McMahon  19:03

Any plans to push into the United States?


Horace Luke  19:06

You know, I have lots of friends that you can tell from my accent. I grew up on the West Coast. You know, I grew up in Seattle, and I spent some time in Portland, you know, lots of friends going, Hey, man, what about my backyard? You know, to be very honest with you, we we are looking at places in the United States, but they're not of the priority at the moment for us. The world has a big problem with pollution in places like you know, og Minh City, places like Jakarta with places like Taipei here. Places like you know, many, many, many cities across China and India. You know, we're just so focused with the limited resources we have to do a great job getting into those markets today.


Sean McMahon  19:44

Yeah, that makes sense. And plus, I mean, the two wheeler adoption that you mentioned is so many more trips taking place, you know, in Asia than there is here in the US. Obviously you're you're now public on the NASDAQ and I was digging into some of your early backers you have quite a quite an impressive list. Kind of talk to me about how that process went you know in the build up to being listed


Horace Luke  20:01

Well, we've been, we've been very fortunate to be very honest with you, you know, we started with a simple thesis, right? So, you know, computing has done great, right? The fact that you and I are talking on podcasts has to do with all computers has to do with, you know, I started my career at Nike. And then eventually a friend of mine said, hey, the internet, it's gonna change everything, you got to go check it up. So I packed my stuff in Portland and drove up to Seattle join Microsoft, eventually became the creative director of of Xbox was early founders …


Sean McMahon  20:30

How did that work out? Did Xbox ever become a popular,?


Horace Luke  20:34

It was a great way for us to engage with what was called the future generation at the time, right? People like you and me, you know, I eventually became, you know, the great director of Windows XP, kind of helping it become more consumer centric, you know, kind of rebranding windows, we doing the user interface of windows with a big team, you know, I believed in computing so much that it needed to fit in your pocket that I went and joined a little company at the time called High Tech Computer, and eventually became HTC. Perhaps most famous for building the world's first half a dozen Android phones, I helped build, you know, for our friends in the US. T Mobile, T Mobile, my touch, you know, for generations of my touch phones, for Android, for the droid for Verizon, for a number of different Android phones across the across the world. You know, I helped the company build it from a white label company to the world's number one, smartphone builder, in 2010 2011. And as I looked around, I said, you know, is that going to be the most important thing? I just turned 40. And I was looking around and going, okay, is that where I'm going to spend the most of my life doing? Or is something else more important? And just as you know, technology has kind of improved human productivity and efficiency. I really believe we're entering into the decade of, of electrification and sustainability, you know, how can you take energy and make it better, and make it more sustainable? So that we can all I mean, it's, you can't stop people from moving into the cities, that that is going to happen over the next decade or two decades. But how do you


Sean McMahon  22:16

Remember everyone, everyone thought that the pandemic was going to change that? And it was like, you know, people will end up coming back, don't worry,


Horace Luke  22:22

Because urban living is too good. Right? Modern lifestyles too good, right? It's too convenient, right? It's too attractive. And especially in big cities across Asia, you know, there's 20, some people call 2627 mega cities around the world today, is going to go by 2030, probably about somewhere in the 40s. Right? According to the UN, there's a lot of cities that are they're going to get massively overpopulated. You can't stop that from happening. But how can you actually use technology to make those cities more sustainable? More, you know, sustainability is not about not taking minerals on the ground, not using resources, but how do you maximize the use of resources, so you can actually extend the life as long as possible? Right, and that's what sustainability is. And as we entered into this decade of sustainability, you know, several of us looked around the table and said, you know, are we going to dedicate the rest of our career to do quite honestly, smartphones and electronic devices, or we're gonna go apply our innovation and engineering effort toward making making life better. And that thesis has attracted, you know, it literally took me 20 minutes. In talking to a billionaire in Taiwan. His name is Dr. Samuel yen. He is perhaps most famous for innovation in construction, as well as starting the first hypermarket in China beating out Walmart in China. It took me literally 20 minutes to talk to him and share with him my vision. And he's doing it, let's do it. He's been my angel, founder and supporter all along the way. And then we we along the way, we also attracted, you know, great interview individuals, like former Vice President Al Gore to his his investment fund called generation that is based out of San Francisco and also in, in in London, that has joined up for years now supporting us and really believing in us. We got tamasic the largest and one of the largest investment house in, in Asia, out of Singapore, and India, number one, you know, the guys that put, you know, three board, you know, independent board members into ExxonMobil, right, and the guys behind GMs, you know, and championing GMs electrification, they also joined up in this in this effort, as well as the list goes on and on and on, as well as the world's, you know, the iPhone maker Foxconn, you know, through our strategic partnership they decide to also invest in in us as we go public. So, The roster has been a bunch of people that really has a long term view on sustainability. It's been flattering to work with, you know, the who's who of the investment community.


Sean McMahon  25:11

Yeah, it's definitely has a roster of some big names there. So you mentioned a little bit about sustainability and raw materials. And that kind of segues to my next question, like, what kind of headwinds? Are you concerned about? Because obviously, right now, a lot of news about, you know, access to raw materials and minerals and supply chain and things like that. So, so, you know, what, what kind of questions is getting on that front? Because it seems like there's a lot of uncertainty out there right now, I mean, around the globe, not just with your company, but with a with almost every company.


Horace Luke  25:38

Yeah, I mean, you know, what's amazing is that we took a topic of less is more, if you're not going to figure it out by now that we pick two wheelers, because it takes less resources to become sustainable, it takes less resources for to, you know, so for example, you know, we there's about 9000, battery cells inside, inside of Tesla today, you know, we have, you know, less than 200 to power a, you know, a vehicle that is that does his job within the city, right about 125, cc 250 cc performance. So the amount of electronics and resources it takes is very, very small. That's number one, it we do a lot more with less. Number two thing is, we're actually a being looked at as a game changer in this industry. So we get great support from people like LG, from, from Samsung SDI, from component makers, to chip makers to to manufacturing, our system, you know, everybody's been there to help us because they see us, as you know, the the guys that that just got started and can tick off. And, you know, we are today if you think about swappable battery on lithium ion, we are perhaps the world's number one purchaser on on battery cell, but that is in the fraction to what Tesla buys today, we probably don't even buy a quarter of a percent of what Tesla buys when it comes to batteries today. But we're able to power half a million riders on the network. So you know, the amount of resources it takes helps us with solving that problem of instability in the in the economy. But you know, it's just overall, you know, like, like I was saying, we're just getting started, you know, going into markets like like China and Indonesia, and India is going to change that, of course, because just the sheer size of it. So Taiwan has sold in the previous couple of years, on average of about 700,000 to 800,002 wheelers every year. But if you look at the region, just in, in in, in China and India and Indonesia alone, more than 64 million vehicles sold every year. So that's almost like 100 times 100x. So it's a happy problem to have. Right. By that time. Hopefully, you know, we'll have we'll face it, we're going to face the music of shortage, right. But in the meantime, I think we're, we're doing good. You know, of course, I'm not gonna say no problem at all. But, you know, I think we're able to solve those problems and, you know, in the foreseeable future,


Sean McMahon  28:06

And speaking of happy problems, you know, one of the things I like to ask guests on the show is their, for their bold predictions, you know, anything they see, like, say, five to 10 years out either about, you know, your market and what you're trying to achieve, or just kind of, you know, for you, I'll ask you just the broader transportation market, maybe right, so like, you know, what kind of things do you envision, or, you know, dream about, you know, might be commonplace? You know, like I said, that timeframe, five to 10 years?


Horace Luke  28:28

Yeah, you know, I think it's, you know, consolidation will happen, you know, not everybody is going to be, you know, there's not going to be all these brands out there, of electric vehicles. And that's one of the things that we we've done a good job, I think Google has, in that we approach the problem as a platform. So remember, when when, when Android phones first started, you know, there was a Nexus phone, you know, with a with a funny, swivel, swivel, a keyboard, and, you know, a number of different kinds of keyboard devices? Well, you know, I built a lot of those. And, you know, I saw a world where, you know, let the let the innovators and let the device maker built their own thing. But at the end of the day, they all come back to one common denominator, which was the operating platform. And so for us Go girl is really building the vehicle that is similar to the Nexus phone at the time. So we continue to push boundaries and create new vehicles and new style new new design and new functionality, only to share those functionality with all our vehicle partners. A great example of that is we a couple of weeks ago, we couple months ago actually, we before the rainy season, we launched what we call the rain mode. So we let vehicle you know that vehicles, our subscribers, update their net, update their vehicle with ring mode option. So when you know when your phone sees where you're parked and where you're standing, happens to be ringing. It will say when you unlock your vehicle Do you want to engage ring mode versus a regular High Torque mode, you know is a rainbow then it helps your vehicle not skip and not slide in, in the, in the rain in the wet in the wet ground. And that ability to filter the vehicles not only to us, but also to, you know, the Yamaha vehicle, the Zucchi Taiwan vehicle, you know, and a number of other vehicle makers that now also has that functionality, you know, we built a first set of vehicles, and enable, you know, nine other vehicle makers to build their vehicles, and then expand the models. So, you know, they now create 47 different models, you know, two wheelers, three wheelers, heavy duty, full battery, one, two, battery one, single battery one, so variety to solve different problems. And I think that consolidation to a platform that builds with efficiency over time, is where you're going to see, you know, where you're going to see a lot of a lot of us moving toward,


Sean McMahon  30:52

Well, great. I mean, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where, where this whole marketplace, you know, take shape, because I find it, you know, the perfect solution for, like you said, for kind of urban areas, high density areas where, you know, millions and billions of short trips.


Horace Luke  31:04

So yeah, I think for real is a great for, you know, for long haul. But you know, as you think about, you know, these urban centers, what I call, hyper commute, right, you got, you know, you've got to run like two miles in one direction, not long enough to take a car, not short enough to walk, that's kind of where we live, the sweet spot in which we live. And the fact that two wheelers are so massively adopted in these densely populated cities, is where the opportunity lies, they are not going to get a place to charge. But if you're in a city, you know, it's not in if you're in front of me, right, and you, you just plugged in, and you're taking 20 minutes to charge. And I'm standing there 20 minutes plus my 20 minutes. So that's kind of where the sweet spot we live in is the ability to provide for these, you know, for these two wheelers, choose to quickly swap in and get on their way. And that hyper efficiency of that network, you know, and how we are best to, to calculate when, where, and how much energy you're going to bring back. And how much energy expecting is where Go girl lives. We know when, you know, if I ask you, where do you? Where do you which gas station? Do you go to? If you happen to own a gas car today, which gas station you go to, you probably can name two, three or four. And when do you go to that probably about the three or four times that you go every week, right. And so similarly, we kind of use that data to create our mesh, create our intelligence behind the network, to do prediction, who's going to come? When are they going to come and, and not take energy when they don't need energy, you know, the worst thing to do is charge these batteries and let them sit there. So which we charge just in time, we distribute the right battery to the right user, right, and we can predict when you're going to come back. And then you know, in condition these batteries do you know during the time in which it is in the rack. And that's kind of where we where we are, you know, what the consumer sees is a great shiny, you know, kind of fun two wheeler, you know, I'm a, you know, I went to school wanting to be an actuary, and in insurance and probability, so that I get to do my dream job, which is really calculating probability of a network and creating the most efficient network that is in you know, in electric mobility. And that's kind of where we were living today.


Sean McMahon  33:24

Are you able to use some of that data? You're talking about, you know, the riders and their usage? And when they charge? Are you able to? Is there any vision to kind of use that to incentivize them to charge at a different time, you know, when the when the network's not so weighted down, there's not so much demand?


Horace Luke  33:38

Yeah, we have what we call green pin. So in our app today, if you open our app, you'll see a whole bunch of dot dot, dot, dot dots on the network. And they'll say telling you, this network that usually go to is great, but it's a little stress. But if you're willing to make a right turn, just a couple, you know, couple 100 feet, that direction, will give you a discount. It's all based on supply and demand. Right? So you know, I've stations that are large scale that has higher efficiency, that offer discount more often. And they have smallest station that you have to pay regular price. And so we do we do incentivize user base on that behavior, because we know the prediction of when people are going to come. That's one thing we do. The other thing we also do is, you know, if you give us permission, we will actually help collect some of the data that you use. So for example, do you twist the throttle heavy? Do you squeeze your brakes hard? Do you turn on your blinkers before you make a turn? Those are all data that actually we can collect from your vehicle, and then share with your insurance company so you can actually reduce your premiums. So we do that also. Today, we don't you know, we take your kilometers that you've written and share with the insurance company and we're working on taking even more to reduce your premium. So connected smart system offers more than just kind of clean propulsion. But also at the same time, we were talking about, you know, how do we actually make The user experience of owning an electric vehicle far better than that of gas, right? Not only is it quicker, cleaner, but because it's smarter and more connected, you can actually have more functionalities and more around your living circle. So, you know, you know, other services that we bring up with that data could be everything from location based advertising, if you're willing to go to 711, to swap a battery, maybe 711 will pay you something, instead of, you know, going to, you know, one that is in an apartment building


Sean McMahon  35:30

Free Slurpees to grab a battery from 7-11?


Horace Luke  35:33

Something like that, right? So, the ability for us to use that to incentivize, you know, if our partners, they love traffic, they love to see that traffic come to the front door, you know, and we can, we can transfer that saving if, if the consumer allows us to, to, of course, there's a lot of privacy, a lot of, you know, a lot of user, you know, acknowledgement and agreement that we need to make sure we cross the t's and dot the i's to. But you know, at the same time, you know, the possibilities are endless as to what we can do with it with a system that is that it connected upgradable, you know, not only is outstation upgradeable, so our station goes through, you know, goes to photo update firmware, firmware upgrade, just like your smartphone does, you know, periodically, a battery also do the same think about battery as a smartphone, we all a lot of us in our smartphone space. So think about a battery as a, as a smartphone without a screen, but a huge battery behind it. That's kind of how programmable it is. And then vehicles are also programmable and upgradable. So I can actually program that station station and program the battery battery, then program the vehicle. And, and vice versa, I can dispatch patches to the network, as well as I can collect information back up to the network, you know, real time if we wanted to. So it's a it's a very sophisticated system that, you know, that we've been able to, to today been able to kind of develop and, and made, you know, made very efficient in Taiwan. And the next step for us is really to take this and cookie cut with our partners into all these other regions that we're we're talking about?


Sean McMahon  37:10

Yeah, just one comment on the on the data go into insurers, you know, I don't know if the Evil Knievel drivers out there will like that. They're gonna probably want not want you to share that with your insurance company.


Horace Luke  37:19

Yeah, well, and they can opt up. They don't need you. Right. They, you know, only only upon you agreeing to share with the insurance company. Yeah, I got that data. Right. So yeah, the evil can evils of the world don't want to share that. And that's great. Yeah. Or they do, I don't know.


Sean McMahon  37:36

Any other topics you want to cover,


Horace Luke  37:38

You know, what most interesting thing you know about your, your, you know, your, your channel, you and your listener is, you know, it's around sustainability, right? Sustainability is not just in, you know, mobility itself, our batteries are able to power, you know, all sorts of different things. Think of us as you know, you have to, you have to D cell batteries, if you got the supersize Go girl batteries, but just really think of us as portable batteries that can power innovation. And in you know, can, can it be used for camping, maybe one day, kind of retire them from mobility, you know, and then replenish, you know, with new batteries onto the network and upgrade to consumer, you know, we can actually take these batteries, and we apply them to different things. Sustainability is about not just, you know, electric vehicle was fun, of course, but it's really about how do you actually use these energy system and put it everywhere, you know, and, and have it easily accessible to, to the masses. And today, we've done that with, you know, with transportation, we've done with infrastructure, we're even powering and backing up 5g deployment, in, you know, in cities, where, you know, these, these, you know, Pico towers actually need power backup, because, you know, the power might go out. So we're, we're there to, to really take energy and put that into better use into portable use into swappable use. That's how we should really think of us. Mobility is only one sector. But of course, mobility is a gigantic sector that everybody's talking about today. But if you've rolled forward 20 or 30 years from now, it's really about battery distributed everywhere within the city. And how do you make these batteries more accessible, safer, more connected, and upgradable and updatable and accessible? And that's kind of what Google was working on?


Sean McMahon  39:35

Well, it sounds like very exciting times. I gotta tell you, I'm fascinated by what Gogoro is doing and how, what the future looks like for you in the company. So thank you very much for your time. I really appreciate it Horace. 

Horace Luke

Hey, thank you. 

Sean McMahon

Well, that's our show for today. If you liked this podcast, please share it with your friends and colleagues. And be sure to follow us on Apple, Google, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow us on Twitter, where our handle is @RenewablesPod. And if you'd like a daily dose of renewable news delivered to your inbox, head to and sign up for the Renewable Energy SmartBrief. The Renewable Energy SmartPod is a production of SmartBrief - a Future company.

The basics of battery swapping
How do battery swapping stations work?
How battery swapping enhances grid resiliency
Is Gogoro going to challenge Tesla, Rivian and other EV makers?
Where Gogoro is looking to expand
The journey to going public on the NASDAQ
Roster of impressive backers
Why Gogoro is less concerned about raw material shortages
Bold predictions
How Gogoro leverages user data