Gogoro, Taiwan’s paladin for two-wheeler battery swapping, is partnering with the Indian state of Maharashtra to establish a state-wide infrastructure for battery charging and swapping. The initiative will be driven by a “50-50” partnership between Gogoro and Belrise Industries, a manufacturer of automotive systems in India, which will form an infrastructure company to own the batteries and swap stations in Maharashtra, said Gogoro’s CEO and co-founder. founder Horace Luke.
Additional infrastructure-related investors will later join the joint venture, which aims to invest up to $2.5 billion in Maharashtra over eight years, according to a non-binding MOU signed by the state, Gogoro and Belrise at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“Like most infrastructure deployments, the partnership company will raise money for the smart battery swap,” Luke told TechCrunch in response to a question about whether Gogoro would use its free cash flow to fund the initiative.
In addition, Gogoro will also establish an India-based company that will run the battery swap network, a spokesperson told TechCrunch.
According to the MOU, Gogoro and Belrise will begin installing interchange stations in Maharashtra’s top 10 cities, starting with Mumbai in the coming months, and expanding further in the future.
Maharashtra is one of the largest commercial and industrial centers of India. As a result, the state has some of the best installed electricity generation capacity in India, with about a quarter of its energy mix coming from wind and solar capacity. Gogoro says Maharashtra has an energy surplus, making it a good starting point for a connected network.
The joint venture is one of the latest such initiatives to be announced in Maharashtra. In September, the battery change started in Mumbai VoltUp partnered with Adani Electricity and Hero Electric to set up 500 electric mobility stations in Mumbai over the next two years. Last June, Sun Mobility, a provider of energy infrastructure and services for EVs, announced the launching its own battery swap network for EVs in Mumbai in partnership with Amazon India. Sun plans to deploy more than 2,000 battery swap stations across the region by 2025.
Gogoro did not disclose how many interchange stations it plans to build over the next eight years, but Luke said based on Maharashtra’s population (about 120 million), the network there will be about four times the size of the Gogoro network in Taiwan. To date, Gogoro has 12,200 battery swap stations in Taiwan, with more than 1.1 million smart batteries circulating across the network. So we can conclude that Gogoro plans to build somewhere in the ballpark of 50,000 stations in the region.
Taiwan’s total buildout has cost Gogoro $640 million over the past seven years, a spokesperson told TechCrunch, so $2.5 billion will provide unprecedented scale.
“Battery swap is a new category being created and we will be building out the network infrastructure to drive demand,” said Luke.
A big part of Gogoro’s formula for driving demand is to provide vehicles built with their proprietary battery-swap technology. in Taiwan, Gogoro’s battery exchange network powered 90% of all electric scooters by 2023, including five of the top six electric vehicle manufacturers. Gogoro will not bring its own brand of scooters to India, but the company has teamed up with Hero MotoCorp, a popular two-wheel vehicle manufacturer in India, to launch electric two-wheelers based on Gogoro’s technology under the Hero brand.
That partnership was announced two years ago, but no vehicles have shipped yet. Which makes sense for Gogoro’s business model. The company wants people to use its swap stations, so installing the publicly available swap infrastructure before a large-scale rollout of electric two-wheelers is a signal that Gogoro is marking its territory.