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The electric scooter that wants to change the world

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A Taiwanese startup has its sights set firmly on revolutionising short-distance travel with its new electric scooter

And they mean business. Formed by a group of ex-employees from companies like Nike, Microsoft and HTC (in fact, HTC’s billionaire owner is an investor in the new company), Gogoro are bringing something completely new to the table – and the scale of their vision is quite frankly mind-boggling.

Inspired by the premise that, by 2030, there will be 41 “megacities” (the majority being in Asia, where their initial efforts will largely be focused), Gogoro believe that they have found the solution to simple, efficient, short-range urban travel.

Before we go any further, this recently-released video will give you an idea of what we’re talking about:

Yes, that’s right. It’s an electric scooter – a nicely designed electric scooter, admittedly – that you don’t need to plug in.

Ever. No need for charging stations – not exactly easy to find at the best of times – and no waiting around for hours for your cell to replenish once you actually manage to locate one.

The way Gogoro works – assuming it comes off – is as follows: you pull up at a “GoStation” (essentially a vandal-proof vending machine full of replacement batteries), pop the top of your scooter up, take out your used battery, and replace it with a new one. In theory, once you’ve got the hang of it, it should take under a minute before you’re up and running again.

gogoro_2015_3

None of this seems that revolutionary, you may be thinking – but this is where the scale of their ambition really reveals itself. They intend to flood cities with “GoStations”, and they want to install one every mile. Just imagine that – in a city like Tokyo, for example, whose greater metropolitan area covers over 1300 square miles – they want to install a station every mile. And they want to do this in multiple cities across the world.

But they’re not overly concerned. They really think they can do it. And they’ve already generated over $150 million in investment capital to try and make it happen.

There’s loads more we could talk about – the fact that used batteries will be recycled to power data centres and cloud computing systems; the 256-bit encryption to ensure that batteries are programmed to only work with your individual bike; the 60 mile range on a single charge – but the folks over at The Verge  have put together an excellent article that goes into much more detail. To be honest, we’ve only scratched the surface here; the technicalities and logistics are making my head hurt already.

We’ll be watching this one with interest. I must admit that I’m both excited and sceptical – it’ll take a monumental effort to get this off the ground from a standing start. Good luck to them!

 

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John started MotoFire with James and Dan as a way of satisfying his own curiosity. There was nowhere on the Internet for people like him to sit, read and enjoy stories about motorcycles without feeling like he was left out of some elitist, number-driven, hi-viz wearing club. Hopefully there are some people out there who feel the same!

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Harley-Davidson release two new, old Sportsters

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New Harley Iron 1200 and Forty-Eight Special come with new graphics, chrome and high bars.

There are a lot of new motorcycles coming out of the Harley-Davidson stable – at least one hundred by 2027 in fact, so we can expect a frequent flow of model revisions and changes to be revealed over the coming months and years.

The two new bikes announced today by Harley aren’t hugely new or exciting – but the new graphics are pretty sweet and ape-hanger bars are always worth clinging onto.

‘Since its inception, the Sportster has offered the perfect combination of size, power and character that makes it appealing to so many different riders’ -Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson V.P. of Styling & Design.

The Harley Sportster was introduced in 1957 and has now hit somewhere in the region of 30 varying production models. Along that time owners have got pretty used to stripping their bikes down and customising/re-inventing them. It’s this fact that Harley say they’ve used as inspiration for their two, new machines.

The Forty-Eight Special comes with a tiny 10 litre tank, new, steamroller front-end and 8 inch high Tallboy handlebars. Compared to the regular Forty-Eight, there’s also a lot more chrome.

The Iron 1200 features a ‘fast-back’ café seat, mini-ape black handlebars and a glossy black fly screen. It’s also got more range with a 15 litre tank and fancy colour paint/graphics. There’s also a lot less chrome and a lot more black.

So that’s two more of the 100 bikes out of the way.  And a new electric just around the corner

 

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Harley-Davidson’s electric motorcycle will be a ‘Revelation’ (according to trademark filings)

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Harley-Davidson trademark casts revelatory eye into future of their electric motorcycle plans.

If you were to have said a year or so ago that arguably the world’s most famous motorcycle brand would be frequently linked with falling sales and financial woe then most people would have said that you were barking mad.

However, with recent stories of millennial woe and mounting board concern the immediate future of the famours Bar and Shield brand is far from certain.

With a commitment to releasing 100 new motorcycles over the next ten years however, the folks at Harley-Davidson motorcycles do at least seem to have a plan to tackle their problem, and – along with Indian Motorcycle – they are preparing to take that battle to uncharted territory.

Last month the news broke that Harley were looking to get their electric motorcycle out and onto the streets by the end of 2019 and now it would seem that we know a little more about what form that new electric technology might take. Or the name of it at least.

According to a recent trademark application filed with the United States Patent & Trademark Office then name that Harley Davidson will use to refer to their new electric drive-train technology will be ‘Revelation’.

The interpretation by our (genuine) friends over at Asphalt & Rubber is that this will not be the name of the final motorcycle however, but rather the name used to refer to the technology/motor itself.

We’re not sure if the final name of the electrified Harley will be that of the Livewire moniker attributed to its pre-production/concept that was produced as a test vehicle back in 2014, but the choice of ‘Revelation’ for the motor technology is an interesting one to say the least.

The company already uses similar sounding names for it’s Evolution’ and ‘Revolution X’ V-Twin engines, so ‘Revelation’ isn’t too far of a stretch for the imagination, but it’s certainly an interesting one…

The Book of Revelation in Christian faith is effectively an apocalyptic prophecy.

The notion that it will be the old, warhorse Harley-Davidson to be the first major manufacturer on course to release a production electric motorcycle could well be considered an event of almost biblical proportions.

Source: USPTO via Asphalt & Rubber

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