In Asia, Taiwanese companies Kymco and Gogoro are engaged in a fierce tech battle in the swappable batteries e-scooter market. The idea is simple: to be able to replace the removable battery of a scooter by exchanging it for another, fully charged one. This trend is also spreading to Europe, where Kymco will soon be launching its offer in Italy.
Taiwanese manufacturer Kymco introduced its iOnex charging solution in 2018 but did not install the first stations, in Asia, until 2021. In addition to Kymco and Gogoro, other Asian manufacturers, such as Honda, are also working on this type of technology.
For Kymco, this service is compatible with the entire range of electric scooters featuring iOnex removable battery technology. The first two models available in Europe should be the Agility EV and the i-One, two urban scooters (50cc). In the next few years, Kymco hopes to launch a dozen electric models compatible with its iOnex battery technology.
The principle of iOnex technology developed by Kymco is to be able to buy a scooter without its battery and then pay a monthly subscription to have access to its exchange stations. This means that every time your (rented) battery runs out, you can either charge it using a household outlet or, if you still need to ride, exchange it at a dedicated station. It only takes a few seconds to remove the battery from your scooter, drop it off at the station and pick up a fully charged battery.
These power stations can be installed near residential buildings as well as on companies' premises or in public locations such as close to subway stations, parking lots or shopping centers. They can then be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This service will soon make its debut in Europe, in Italy. The success of the scheme will depend on how many of these stations are installed and where.