By Aditi Shah
NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Taiwan’s Gogoro has started manufacturing electric scooter bikes in India and will set up around 100 battery swap stations by mid-2024, its CEO said on Tuesday, marking its entry into one of the world’s fastest-growing vehicle markets.
Gogoro has already committed to investing $1.5 billion in western Maharashtra state including in a factory where it will build its CrossOver e-scooter in partnership with Foxconn, Horace Luke told reporters in New Delhi.
It has begun production of the e-scooter which will first be sold to delivery fleet operators and bike taxis, with a variant for personal use to be launched next year, said Luke, adding it will also export these vehicles from India.
“We think the timing is right to come to India. It’s very strategic and very important to us,” he said, ahead of the vehicle’s launch.
India’s e-scooter market is small and makes up 4% of total two-wheeler sales in the country but it is growing rapidly with companies like Softbank-backed Ola Electric, Ather and incumbent TVS Motor launching new products.
The federal government wants electric models to make up 70% of all new two-wheeler sales by 2030 and is offering cash incentives to buyers. Several state governments like Delhi are also mandating fleet operators to shift to electric only over time to curb pollution.
Gogoro’s swap model allows a customer to replace the scooter’s discharged battery for a fully charged one, making it ideal for deliveries and taxis where riders need to refuel quickly to avoid losing business.
Selling to fleets first will also allow Gogoro to scale its swapping stations in a “predictable” manner and build a base load, making it a more viable business proposition, said Luke.
In about five years, Luke expects half the sales of his company’s e-scooters to come from fleet operators and half from personal buyers, and about 20% of the vehicles produced in the country to be exported to neighbouring Nepal, Southeast Asia and other regions.
(Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Frances Kerry)