Navigant Research Blog

New Business Models and OEM Products Grow the Electric Power Two-Wheeler Market

— November 30, 2015

The electric power two-wheel vehicle (e-PTW) industry is expected to achieve stable and continuous growth during the coming years as new business models and several large OEMs permeate the market. According to Navigant Research, global annual sales of electric motorcycles (e-motorcycles) are expected to grow from 1.2 million vehicles in 2015 to 1.5 million in 2024, while sales of electric scooters (e-scooters) are expected to grow from 4.1 million to over 4.4 million.

Gogoro Brings Battery Swapping to Europe

In the e-scooter market, battery swapping startup Gogoro is transforming urban mobility by offering its e-scooter customers a battery swapping network, removing the range anxiety common to most types of electric vehicles (EVs). Gogoro has sold over 2,000 of its e-scooters over the past few months in Taiwan (using an infrastructure base of 90 GoStation battery swap stations), and the company has raised an additional $130 million in Series B funding from Panasonic (its battery supplier) and the National Development Fund of Taiwan.

Forbes reported that Gogoro will be expanding its program (which is currently only in Taipei, Taiwan) to Amsterdam in early 2016. As a city with narrow streets, a general lack of available parking, and a government looking for ways to reduce the number of four-wheel vehicles on the road, Amsterdam is a great fit for the electrification of two-wheelers. Aligning with Amsterdam’s smart city initiatives, Gogoro is aiming to become more of an energy company rather than solely an e-scooter manufacturer. The company’s GoStations are cloud-connected and are expected to coordinate with electricity grid demand in Amsterdam, charging batteries only at times when energy demand is low.

Gogoro is becoming a disruptive force in the industry, and the company has now raised over $180 million since being founded back in 2011. If the company’s business model can prove successful in Amsterdam, there’s no limit on the number of large European cities that could benefit from congestion-reducing e-PTWs.

OEMs Show New e-PTW models

Large OEMs are unveiling new e-PTW products that will serve an important role by increasing product availability in key markets. The sleeping giant in the industry, Honda Motors, plans to launch an electric scooter in 2017. This will be the first time Honda will sell an e-scooter to consumers, as its previous EV-neo e-scooter was a short-term project (2010-2013) that focused on leasing e-PTWs to fleets. Sales are expected to be concentrated in Japan, China, and other Asian countries where population density is creating congestion and air pollution problems. Meanwhile, BMW Motorrad unveiled a new e-motorcycle concept called the eRR. This high-performance motorbike is a further expansion into e-PTWs since BMW first released the C Evolution Maxi-Scooter back in 2014.


Do Cities Need Large Hydro to Go 100% Renewable?

— November 11, 2015

Cities are becoming increasingly proactive in setting targets for their utilities to shift from fossil fuel power generation to renewable energy resources. There are currently three cities in the United States that run on 100% renewable energy, and there are 96 cities globally that have pledged to accomplish the same feat. Although only small cities in North America have made the transition thus far (including Aspen, Colorado; Burlington, Vermont; and Greensburg, Kansas), large cities such as Vancouver, Canada and San Francisco, California have also set targets to transition to 100% renewable energy. While these cities are using significant amounts of solar and wind energy resources, having access to large hydropower generation is a luxury common to cities with 100% renewable generation goals. Vancouver, for example, has been using hydropower to supply about 90% of its electricity throughout 2015.

Hydro: Helpful but Unnecessary

Nevertheless, regions without access to hydropower are able to both economically and technically transition to renewables, according to researchers and engineers from Stanford University and University of California, Berkeley. The universities developed a state-by-state plan under The Solutions Project that shows how each state could convert to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Using Colorado as a non-hydroelectricity-intensive system example, the state would need to get the vast majority of its electricity from wind and solar, specifically 55% of its electricity from wind power and 40.8% from a variety of solar applications (including 15% from concentrating solar power [CSP] plants, 17.6% from solar PV plants, 4.2% from residential rooftop PV, and 4% from commercial/government rooftop PV). Geothermal (3%) and a very small amount of hydroelectric (1.2%) would constitute the remainder under the plan.

According to the study, transitioning Colorado’s energy resources in this way would create over 70,000 construction and operation jobs, save $7.4 billion in avoided health costs per year, and would provide annual energy cost savings of $312 per person in 2050. The Solutions Projects seems to demonstrate that even in states with little or no hydroelectric electricity supply, it is still technically and economically feasible to transition to 100% renewable energy.

Economic Opportunity, Not Sacrifice

Of the 96 cities that have pledged to decarbonize their electricity supply, 86% believe taking action on climate change presents an economic opportunity. According to the 2015 Smart Energy for Smart Cities report from Navigant Research, that economic opportunity will be substantial; the global smart energy for smart cities technology market is expected to grow from $7.3 billion in revenue in 2015 to $20.9 billion in 2024.


Security Concerns Pose Risk to IoT Market Expansion

— October 26, 2015

If the Internet itself is not fully secure, then it stands to reason that the Internet of Things (IoT) cannot possibly be fully secure either. Whether it’s refrigerators, cars, thermostats, or even your food (the Guardian reported that even your steak may have come from a connected cow), the IoT is becoming a ubiquitous feature of modern life with inherent security risks. The addition of billions of devices that communicate through Internet-connected IT infrastructure while using various types of hardware is likely to create a challenging market to safeguard in the years to come.

While there are few risks to having data collected on cows, some IoT devices do raise some security concerns for human beings. Devices such as GPS-connected running shirts (that hackers can use to know when you’re not home) and face recognition smart locks (which can be tricked by being shown digital photographs) are particularly prone to hacking breaches.

The IoT in Smart Cities

Smart city technologies with IoT capability—such as smart parking systems, which use sensors to guide drivers to open parking spaces, or traffic management systems, which help government organizations synchronize traffic lights for optimal traffic flows—also exist simply to improve the quality of life for city residents (in this case reducing traffic congestion and pollution). However, there are some legitimate security concerns with these technologies that need to be addressed as well. Using traffic management systems as an example, security researchers at the University of Michigan were able to hack nearly 100 wireless networked traffic lights by using only a laptop and wireless card. If hackers can easily and quickly cause mass disarray through traffic light manipulation—by, say, changing all the lights in a particular intersection to be green—it’s not unreasonable to foresee public distrust of smart city IoT technology.

Nevertheless, not all IoT devices are easily hackable, and some are providing invaluable security features to society. In fact, cameras and the IoT are helping to make life much safer for those who have encounters with the police or are near a crime scene. The introduction of body cameras on police in Rialto, California resulted in complaints against officers dropping by nearly 90% in 2012 compared to 2011, and use of force by officers dropped by 60%. Additionally, IoT-connected sensors in Denver, Colorado can pinpoint the location of gunshots by triangulating sound, allowing officers to be more quickly deployed to a crime scene.

Security Issues Need to Be Addressed

If the IoT market is going to expand as quickly as many analysts believe, the issues surrounding security need to be addressed early on—not after significant breaches that will likely result in a huge loss of public trust in IoT technology. Conducting privacy and security risk assessments, minimizing the type of data that is collected, and testing advanced security measures before rather than after product launch are all ways that companies and governments can ensure a high level of security for IoT devices while also respecting a reasonable level of privacy for citizens.


More Affordable E-Scooters Could Bolster Market

— October 21, 2015

The high pricing of Gogoro’s electric scooters (e-scooters) for the Taiwanese market has been questioned before. With upfront costs of roughly $4,100, the price is far above what comparable 125 cubic centimeter gasoline-powered scooters are sold for (around $2,600). The high costs are even more apparent when you consider that consumers do not own the batteries powering Gogoro’s e-scooter.

Focus Taiwan reported that the price of Gogoro’s standard e-scooter was reduced to just under $3,000 (a price reduction of roughly 27%) on October 1 in an attempt to satisfy consumer complaints over pricing and to improve the competitiveness of the product when compared to gasoline equivalents. Indian company Mahindra GenZe recently released an e-scooter for the U.S. market with a similar price point of $2,999. Both models are high-quality products and are affordable alternatives to gasoline scooters.

In addition to dropping the price of its base model, Gogoro has also introduced a new, cheaper version called the Gogoro Lite. This entry-level scooter retails for $2,675 and is even more cost-competitive with gasoline models. In its first 3 months on the market, Gogoro sold around 1,000 e-scooters—a fairly small figure considering that over 750,000 scooters are sold in Taiwan each year, according to the Taiwan Institute of Economic Research.

Price Cut Could Have Big Impact

Gogoro’s price reduction strategy drastically improves the financial picture for prospective consumers. The purchase price of the base e-scooter model is now only about $400 more than a gas-powered scooter, while the Gogoro Lite is roughly the same cost. Additional savings on gas and government subsidies make the e-scooter even more appealing. The Taipei city government offers a subsidy of NT$20,000 ($615) per unit that instantly makes both of Gogoro’s futuristic e-scooter models cheaper than a gasoline equivalent. A $30 monthly fee for access to the battery swap network is undoubtedly less expensive than having to refill a gas tank, and potentially more convenient. To date, over 80 battery-swapping stations have been installed in Taipei and New Taipei.

Reduced purchase prices by companies like Mahindra GenZe and Gogoro, combined with government subsidies in select regions and lower operating costs are making high-performance e-scooters more affordable than ever before. Advanced features such as Bluetooth keys, smartphone integration, programmable LED headlights and tail lights, intelligent security systems, digital dashboards, and sleek designs aren’t hurting the burgeoning market either.


Blog Articles

Most Recent

By Date


Clean Transportation, Electric Vehicles, Finance & Investing, Policy & Regulation, Renewable Energy, Smart Energy Practice, Smart Energy Program, Smart Transportation Practice, Smart Transportation Program, Utility Innovations

By Author

{"userID":"","pageName":"Ryan Citron","path":"\/author\/ryan-citron","date":"12\/2\/2015"}