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Battery-replaceable Electric Scooters Powered by Solar Electricity in Okinawa

2018/02/01 16:37
Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP Intelligence Group, CleanTech Institute
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Gogoro's electric scooter and charging stand (source: Nikkei BP)
Batteries are changed at charging stands. (source: Nikkei BP)

Sumitomo Corp announced Jan 23, 2018, that it will lend battery-replaceable electric scooters manufactured by Taiwan-based Gogoro for the 16th Ishigaki Island Marathon, which will take place Jan 28, 2018, in Ishigaki-jima (island), Okinawa Prefecture, Japan.

Sumitomo has already announced that it will use the battery-replaceable electric scooter to develop infrastructures and provide services, starting from a verification project in the island. For the verification project, the company partnered with Ishigaki City.

In Ishigaki-jima, Sumitomo will launch a sharing service using the scooter within fiscal 2017. This will be the first sharing service using battery-replaceable electric scooters in Japan, according to the company.

For the service, Sumitomo is currently installing charging stands at four locations in Ishigaki-jima. At two of the four locations, a solar power generation system will also be set up for charging rechargeable batteries during daylight hours.

When fully charged, the scooter can continuously travel about 100km (approx 62.1 miles). In consideration of this, each charging stand will be 20km away from the nearest stand on average. The government of Ishigaki City will install two of the four charging stands by using the "Subsidy for Projects to Promote the Revitalization of Isolated Islands in Okinawa" of the Cabinet Office.