Gogoro, the Taiwanese company that markets battery-swap ecosystems for electric scooters, is targeting the Philippines as its next market. The startup said Tuesday it is partnering with Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corporation, telecom provider Globe and corporate venture builder 917Ventures to launch a B2B battery swapping pilot in Manila in the first quarter of 2023.
917Ventures is a subsidiary of Globe, which is part of the Ayala Corporation umbrella.
The collaboration with heavy hitters in the Philippine ecosystem comes a few days after the The Philippines approved the elimination of import duties on electric vehicles and their components for the next five years. The move is part of the Philippines’ Electric Vehicle Development Act, signed into law this year, to promote clean energy innovation. Gogoro founder and CEO Horace Luke told londonbusinessblog.com that the tariff elimination also applies to battery charging and swapping, making it the perfect time for Gogoro to introduce its battery swap stations and Smartscooters in the country.
“The Philippines is trying to electrify, so we’re gradually saying we’ll be the first to really take a leadership position in that and lead the market,” Luke said. “We see a huge opportunity for us to grow the market because there just hasn’t been mass adoption of two-wheelers yet. And if they adopt, it would be great if it moves toward electrification.
Ultimately, Gogoro aims to bring an open-network battery swap system to the Philippines, one that is compatible with both locally produced electric two-wheelers and Gogoro’s own Smartscooters. Gogoro has been working with electric two-wheeler manufacturers in India and China to include its own interchangeable batteries in their scooters for easier market entry, rather than having to import their own Smartscooters as well.
The Philippines, however, is a different kind of market. Two-wheelers have historically not been as popular in the country as they are in India or China, Luke said. Market acceptance is starting to pick up now alongside the increase in delivery and logistics services, hence Gogoro’s strategy to enter the market with a B2B pilot focused on the logistics sector.
Gogoro would not announce which delivery service it will initially partner with, but Ayala Corp does have its own special unit, AC logistics. Luke said Gogoro will have several hundred of its Smartscooters and several hundred batteries forwarded by early next year, as well as half a dozen swap stations, which will be placed all over Manila for delivery drivers.
“We’re going to use B2B as the first step to really build what we call the base load,” said Luke. “Baseload is basically the minimum number of users using the network that actually allows you to create a business model that has been proven to work. Now, given the gasoline prices in the Philippines, given the daily output of logistics drivers, this is an opportunity for us to demonstrate that the business model is viable.”
The pilot will run for at least six months before expanding to new B2B partners or even retail consumers, Luke said. During that time, Gogoro hopes to get feedback from the market on both whether two-wheelers can be adopted in the Philippines and whether battery swapping will take place alongside two-wheeler adoption. Gogoro will also collect data from vehicles as they travel to fine-tune the system, Luke said.
“More than 25% of Taiwan’s fast trade deliveries and almost all of their electrical deliveries are powered by Gogoro’s battery swap technology, and we see this solution most beneficial for a densely populated region like Metro Manila, which is also the center of business districts,” said Patrick Aquino, director of the Energy Utilization Management Bureau of the Department of Energy in the Philippines, in a statement. “The success of this pilot will also pave the way for a new sustainable business model in other cities across the country. Philippines can learn from Taiwan’s experience.”
Gogoro’s global network includes nearly 11,000 battery exchange stations in more than 2,260 locations. The company, which has market dominance in Taiwan, says it organizes more than 370,000 daily battery swaps with more than 360 million total swaps to date.
The company recently announced a similar B2B partnership with EV-as-a-Service platform Zypp Electric to electrify logistics fleets and last-mile deliveries in India. Gogoro expects to launch a pilot with Zypp in Delhi in December, which will complement Gogoro’s existing consumer-focused partnership in India with local two-wheel manufacturer Hero MotoCorp.
Gogoro also recently launched battery swap stations and Smartscooters in Tel Aviv, and has a presence in China and Indonesiaalso.