Gogoro announces major partnership to help accelerate global expansion

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Gogoro, the global leader in battery-swapping for light electric vehicles like scooters and motorcycles, just can’t seem to slow down. After a week full of major news, the company is back with perhaps its biggest announcement lately: a plan for a major partnership that will see the company greatly expand the use of its swappable battery standard.

Oh, and not just for light electric vehicles anymore.

Today, Gogoro announced signing an MOU to form a new partnership with Japanese giants Sumitomo Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Co., Ltd. (SMFL) to accelerate Gogoro’s global business expansion. The agreement is set to provide Sumitomo and SMFL access to Gogoro’s Smart Batteries and battery-swapping system to allow the companies to expand their mobility business and second-life battery use cases.

It’s hard to overstate Sumitomo’s magnitude, owning over 900 subsidiary companies with 80,000 employees. With a reach across broad industries including automotive, transportation & construction systems, and diverse urban development, Sumitomo is poised to help drastically expand the use of Gogoro’s swappable battery standard.

Many people think of Gogoro as an electric scooter company, but Gogoro is really more of an energy platform. Sure, the company is famous for its fashion-forward and high-performance electric scooters, but the Gogoro swappable battery standard is the key to Gogoro’s success.

The batteries are designed to power not just electric scooters (either Gogoro’s own or the countless other OEMs that now build light electric vehicles powered by Gogoro batteries), but also to power many other devices. That’s why partnerships are a key part of Gogoro’s growth model, leveraging the success of the batteries in its electric scooters to position them for even more far-flung energy uses.

“Gogoro’s innovative business ecosystem is designed to create broader business partnerships and business models that were not previously possible. Today, Sumitomo and SMFL are looking to accelerate Gogoro’s global business expansion while utilizing Gogoro Smart Batteries and battery swapping to drive expansion of their own mobility business and second life battery revenue,” said Horace Luke, founder and CEO of Gogoro. “Together, Gogoro, Sumitomo and SMFL share a vision for accelerating the expansion of sustainable energy and transportation in the world’s most densely populated cities.”

gogoro battery swap

“Gogoro’s potential partnership with Sumitomo and SMFL, a global leader in financing and leasing, would establish a new asset class using Gogoro smart batteries to create new business opportunities for Sumitomo and SMFL to utilize Gogoro’s batteries for expanding their mobility business as well as generating second life battery revenue,” said Bruce Aiken, CFO of Gogoro. “Amongst the many new business opportunities, this partnership would enable a new asset-light expansion model for Gogoro that doesn’t require a large upfront capital investment while increasing the financial efficiency of our new markets.”

Gogoro has been on a tear lately, expanding into new markets with both its SmartScooters and its swappable batteries. This new partnership could help expedite that expansion and open up new opportunities for those very batteries to extend their useful lives even further.

By using Big Data to intelligently charge and cycle its battery packs by monitoring dozens of parameters across millions of batteries, Gogoro has been able to pull an impressive lifespan from its more than 1.8 million battery packs and counting. When the batteries first began circulation back in 2015, Gogoro estimated that the packs would last nearly a decade. More recently, the company has pushed that estimate out to around 12 years, largely thanks to its intelligent charging capabilities and sophisticated operations management that helps optimize battery distribution and use.

But even when the batteries have finished their useful life for mobility applications, an entire range of second-life uses remain. Gogoro already has several stationary energy storage applications in use, such as powering smart parking meters and serving as backup power for traffic lights when the energy grid falls. But there are countless more examples of energy storage projects that would be ideal for such a small format and easily manageable battery packs built on a common standard.

An agreement with Sumitomo could be a key accelerator for Gogoro, as SMFL’s mid-term management plan strategy includes the realization of a battery circular economy through the creation of a battery reuse and recycling business using Gogoro’s smart batteries. According to the announcement, SMFL plans to seek new unique business opportunities using Gogoro’s smart batteries as a new asset class for mobile second-life sustainable energy usage.

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