10,000th Smartscooter owner Huang Zi-yuan and CEO Horace Luke at the 10,000th Smartscooter Celebration
Every day, dozens of round keyfobs are placed into the hands of new Smartscooter owners and stories of positive change begin.
Last week, we celebrated our 10,000th Smartscooter owner, Huang Zi-yuan, a freelance graphic designer based in Taipei. Zi-yuan is no stranger to emphasizing aesthetics. He designs for “Saury,” a clever, bi-monthly pop-culture magazine dedicated to the exploration of Japanese lifestyle, art, and culture. ( “Saury" or "サンマ” is a popular fish consumed by everybody, and playfully reminds that quality design is accessible to everyone).
When the Smartscooter launched last summer, Zi-yuan liked its style, but had a wait-and-see mentality on considering a purchase as Gogoro was so new. Last month, he found himself brashly confronted with the decision of a new scooter as his 11-year old scooter was done. His gas scooter mechanics recommended that he replace with another popular brand of gas scooter, but when he asked trusted people around him, including the publishers of his magazine, "Saury," the answer was different and rooted in the idea of the future: "It's either Gogoro or Vespa - consider nothing else."
Zi-yuan shared his belief that true futurism embodied three pillars: "speed,” "technology," and "strength." In his opinion, Gogoro jumped straight to the future not just embodying all three elements, but going further by excluding harmful emissions.
To him, purchasing a Smartscooter was not all about environmental protection. “In fact, that’s too big of a label,” he said, but agreed that riding a Smartscooter makes a difference.
"Gogoro was just a concept last year, but now you see it on the street every day and it’s evolving. I enjoy and look forward to Gogoro’s development - it’s a realization of the future.”
Zi-yuan also shared a bit of his purchase philosophy at the celebration last week, "I like the passage by author Anna Lappe, ‘Every time you spend money, you're casting a vote for the kind of world you want.’ Gogoro's vision moved me, and by purchasing a Gogoro, I am casting my vote for Gogoro. It’s a turning point in choosing a different path forward."
One of the first Smartscooter pilot riders and owners, Zhang Zhejia
To compare how far the mindset has shifted and understand our progress since launch, we caught up with one of the first Smartscooter owners, Zhang Zhejia. Like Zi-yuan, Zhejia also favors good product design. A well-known “collector of culture” (Zhejia has over 500 pairs of sneakers), he was recruited to our Test Pilot 1.0 program in April 2015, and immediately bought the Smartscooter once his test period ended.
“I still remember the first day of riding. While sitting at a stop light, I noticed the other gas scooter riders were staring and craning their necks looking for the exhaust pipe.” He recounted.
When the light turned green, he sailed off silently and heard their gasps in the background.
“I tried to catch their faces in the rearview mirror, but couldn’t - the scooter was too fast.”
He also recalled the original Gogoro Energy Network - comprised of just 32 GoStations at the time. He was still able to get around easily without “even checking the app,” going out in Taipei and down to New Taipei City on the weekends.
“Everything was convenient enough then, but now it’s completely different. It seems like there are GoStations on every block.” he said, referring to the increased network of 225 GoStations across northern Taiwan.
Zhejia shared that he also used the Smartscooter recently while moving to a new apartment across town. “There's more space than you think. I saw the post about the gentleman who moved a 27" Mac screen and it didn’t phase me - I did it, too.”
Zhejia's girlfriend, who rides with him often, commented on the size as well: “It’s quite comfortable. There's no vibration so when you sit on the back it’s more stable than a gas scooter.”
Zhejia and his girlfriend, who travel frequently together throughout Northern Taiwan
Zhejia also shared that he had been noticing a new trend: that scooters were becoming a way to express yourself. For example, in Paris, it was becoming commonplace to arrive at a fashion show on a scooter versus in a sports car so those you passed could see your entire look. “Riding a scooter can be an extension of your personal style.” he explained.
So what about riding a Gogoro Smartscooter? “You will be in the spotlight - which has been a boost of confidence.”
Perhaps we should put that on our specifications list.A big thank you to Huang Zi-yuan and Zhang Zhejia for sharing their thoughts and feedback on what it’s like to be a Smartscooter owner today. One of the best things about being a part of the Gogoro community is hearing these anecdotes and adventures when we speak with the person behind the helmet.