Gogoro, the Taiwanese-based battery swapping and energy storage leader, has just announced a massive expansion in India to create the “world’s largest sustainability-focused portable energy system to date”.
A three-way strategic energy partnership was announced today between Gogoro, the Indian State of Maharashtra and Indian tier-1 automotive system manufacturer Belrise Industries. The trio plan to develop battery-swapping infrastructure on a scale never seen before.
Gogoro and Belrise announced that the pair are planning a joint 50-50 partnership to invest approximately US$2.5 billion over eight years with the State of Maharashtra government to build energy infrastructure across the state.
For those of you not up on your Indian geography, Maharashtra is home to Mumbai and is the most economically productive state in India. Maharashtra has 120 million residents and a GDP of over US $450 billion.
Maharashtra brings the perfect setting for sustainable energy storage and mobility, while Gogoro brings a proven system in its battery-swapping GoStations designed to power electric scooters and other energy-dependent infrastructure. Belrise produces around one third of all the two-wheeled and three-wheeled vehicle chassis in India and operates 29 automotive component manufacturing facilities in the country.
So where is that massive US $2.5 billion investment going? The companies are planning to build an open and accessible network of smart energy infrastructure in Maharashtra. The infrastructure will establish battery swapping and smart battery stations as a local standard for both mobility and energy storage.
It’s not clear whether that means that Gogoro’s own electric scooters would be deployed locally, or whether Indian-made electric scooters that employ Gogoro’s batteries would dominate the market. With Belrise’s involvement, the latter could be likely. Past international expansion deals from Gogoro have included both the company’s own electric scooters and other manufacturers that have built their own two-wheeled electric vehicles around Gogoro’s battery standard.
Either way, the partners described how they expect the plan to accelerate job growth throughout the smart energy, electric vehicle, and sustainability value chain.
As Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis explained:
“As a national leader in sustainability, it is important for the State of Maharashtra to embrace new technologies that are open, accessible and enable dynamic solutions that can accelerate the transition to smarter sustainable cities and set an example that other states in India can follow. We are partnering with Gogoro and Belrise to deploy the world’s largest and most innovative smart energy infrastructure to utilize battery swapping for solving the unique and distributed energy challenges we face daily. This project will enable new alternatives to the fossil fuels solutions many of our residents use today.”
Gogoro’s CEO Horace Luke added that today’s announcement was a group effort that is emblematic of how sustainable cities will need to be built in the future:
“The future of smart sustainable cities and countries is not about a single company or government but about a community coming together to instill a new way of thinking and a new way of utilizing sustainable energy in an open and accessible way. This partnership represents the future and this new way of thinking – not just about sustainable transportation, but about an entirely new system. That is why we truly believe in building open and accessible infrastructure that will uplift the entire ecosystem. Together, the State of Maharashtra, Belrise Industries and Gogoro plan to shift energy usage and establish this new sustainable economy that will encourage jobs creation, establish new technical and sustainable industrial capabilities, and ultimately increase state exports.”
We don’t have an exact timeline yet, but Gogoro tells us that the battery swapping infrastructure will begin its deployment around Maharashtra at some point this year.
The most obvious impact in the beginning will be within the mobility sector, where Gogoro’s battery swapping system will allow electric scooters to operate without the need for a local charging system.
Shrikant Badve, the Managing Director of Belrise Industries, explained that the partnership opens the door to a new generation of transportation products:
“Clean energy is the future, and now is the time for Indian businesses to begin their transition to a new model of sustainable operations. As a manufacturing leader in India’s transportation industry, we are embracing this for our own business, customers, and communities. Today we are partnering with Gogoro, a global innovation leader in smart sustainable energy and India’s most industrious state of Maharashtra to deploy the largest portable battery swapping infrastructure of its kind to enable a new generation of products and services that Maharashtra’s residents can embrace.”
Wow, it’s hard to overstate the sheer size and potential impact of this partnership. Mumbai has 17 million residents itself, let alone another 100 million spread around Maharashtra. This is a huge stepping stone to take a proven battery swapping standard and roll it out on an unprecedented scale. It also showcases some of the non-scooter applications for Gogoro’s battery systems, with the plan discussing aspects such as “smart agriculture” and “distributed energy storage.”
The move follows Gogoro’s strategy of targeting established two-wheeler markets that are in need of a major shift away from polluting combustion engine motorcycles and scooters.
My heart goes out to everyone in the west who keeps watching Gogoro’s near monthly expansions and has to wonder if they’ll ever get to try out a battery swap for themselves. I’ll try not to rub in the fact that I live in the only western city to get Gogoro’s battery swapping infrastructure. Hmm, I may just need to go for a ride now. You know, for work.
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