Gogoro, the Taiwanese company that's commercializing battery swapping ecosystems for electric scooters, is targeting the Philippines as its next market. The startup said Tuesday it has partnered with Filipino conglomerate Ayala Corporation, telecomms 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 Ayala Corporation's umbrella.
The partnership with heavy hitters in the Filipino ecosystem comes a few days after the Philippines approved the removal of import duties on electric vehicles and their parts for the next five years. The move is part of the Philippines' Electric Vehicle Industry Development Act, signed into law this year, to promote clean energy innovation. Horace Luke, founder and CEO of Gogoro, told TechCrunch the tariff removal applies to battery charging and swapping equipment, as well, making it the perfect time for Gogoro to introduce its battery swapping stations and Smartscooters into the country.
"The Philippines is trying to electrify, so we're progressively saying we're gonna be the first one 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 the mass adoption of two-wheelers yet. And as they adopt, it would be great if it goes towards electrification."
Eventually, Gogoro wants to bring an open network battery swapping system to the Philippines, one that's compatible with locally produced electric two-wheelers as well as Gogoro's own Smartscooters -- Gogoro has worked with electric two-wheeler manufacturers in India and China to integrate its own swappable batteries into their scooters for easier market entry, rather than having to also import its own Smartscooters.
The Philippines is a different type of market, though. Two-wheelers have not historically been as popular in the country, as compared to India or China, said Luke. Market adoption is starting to pick up now alongside the increase of delivery and logistics services, hence Gogoro's strategy of entering the market with a B2B pilot focused on the logistics industry.
Gogoro wouldn't announce which delivery provider it will initially partner with, but Ayala Corp. does have its own dedicated unit, AC Logistics. Luke said by early next year, Gogoro will have sent through several hundreds of its Smartscooters and several hundred batteries, as well as half a dozen swapping stations, which will be placed throughout Manila for delivery riders to use.
"We're going to use B2B as the first step to really build what we call the base load," said Luke. "Base load is basically the minimum amount of users using the network that allows you to actually create a business model that is proven to be workable. Now, given the gas prices in the Philippines, given the amount of logistics rider output everyday, this is an opportunity for us to demonstrate that the business model is viable."
The pilot will last at least six months before expanding to new B2B partners or even private consumers, said Luke. During that time, Gogoro hopes to gain feedback from the market both on whether two-wheelers can be adopted in the Philippines and on whether battery swapping will take hold alongside two-wheeler adoption. Gogoro will also collect data from vehicles while they're on the road in order to fine tune its system, said Luke.
“More than 25% of Taiwan’s quick commerce deliveries and almost all of their electric deliveries are powered by Gogoro’s battery-swapping technology, and we see this solution being most beneficial to a densely populated region like Metro Manila, which is also the hub of business districts,” said Patrick Aquino, director of the Department of Energy’s Energy Utilization Management Bureau in the Philippines, in a statement. “The success of this pilot will pave the way for a new sustainable business model in other cities in the country as well. Philippines can learn from Taiwan’s experience.”
Gogoro's global network includes nearly 11,000 battery swapping stations at over 2,260 locations. The company, which has a market dominance in Taiwan, says it hosts 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-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp.