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Electric motorbike battery-swapping war heats up as KYMCO’s Ionex signs Super SOCO, FELO

KYMCO is making a play for king of the battery-swapping hill, signing on two more electric motorcycle manufacturers for its Ionex battery swapping system.

Battery swapping networks are beginning to become a clear favorite for urban light electric vehicles.

While suburban electric motorcycle and scooter riders may prefer to park and charge in their garage, most riders in densely populated cities don’t have that luxury.

Street parking usually means a lack of charging infrastructure, hence the need for removable and/or swappable batteries.

Battery swapping networks like KYMCO’s Ionex system allow riders to pull into one of many charging/swapping stations spread around a city and simply swap an empty battery for a fresh one.

KYMCO has just announced that it has signed on the manufacturers Super SOCO and FELO Technologies. Together, the group will create new electric motorcycles and scooters designed around KYMCO’s Ionex battery platform.

KYMCO chairman Allen Ko

KYMCO’s chairman Allen Ko announced the new partnership at the Beijing International Motorcycle Exhibition 2021, saying:

“With founding members Super SOCO and FELO Technology joining KYMCO’s electric strategic alliance, we have more diverse talent and expertise to work on the innovations of new products, technologies and services that will ultimately bring tremendous values to not only each individual member brand but also consumers all over the world. This is a strategic alliance with a meaningful purpose.”

Super SOCO manufactures a wide range of electric motorcycles and scooters, from retro-inspired 62 mph (100 km/h) motorcycles to urban-oriented electric scooters.

FELO Technologies offers more modern-looking, performance-oriented electric motorbikes.

FELO FW06 electric motorcycle

Super SOCO’s CEO Sherman Xie praised KYMCO’s electrification progress when discussing the new deal:

“KYMCO, as an internationally renowned global brand, is the pioneer of two-wheeler electric transformation. We are delighted to be a member of the alliance to contribute our knowledge and expertise in designs and creativities while at the same time making use of the advanced technologies embedded in the Ionex open energy platform to create the leisure and classic models that fit our ‘Cool and Fun’ brand spirit.”

While this marks a major advancement for KYMCO’s Ionex battery standard, the company still has a way to go to catch up with the Gogoro Network battery swapping platform.

Gogoro’s swappable battery standard predates KYMCO’s by several years and is currently the world’s largest battery swapping network.

In Taiwan, home of both Gogoro’s and KYMCO’s headquarters, riders have over 2,000 swap stations to choose from. Riders in Taipei are never more than a kilometer (0.6 miles) from a swap station.

There, the swap stations are also used to reduce the price of Gogoro scooters, which are purchased with Gogoro maintaining ownership of the batteries. The resulting reduced price lowers the barrier to entry for riders to switch to electric scooters and motorbikes.

Gogoro also just announced major deals with Indian manufacturer Hero (the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer), as well as Chinese manufacturers Yadea (the world’s largest electric two-wheeler manufacturer) and DCJ (China’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer).

Those deals give Gogoro access to the massive markets of India and China, or over one-third of the world’s riders.

KYMCO doesn’t appear to be taking that news laying down though, and is racing ahead with its own agreements to see its standard gain wider adoption.

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Avatar for Micah Toll Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd, and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power, The Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide and The Electric Bike Manifesto.

The e-bikes that make up Micah’s current daily drivers are the $999 Lectric XP 2.0, the $1,095 Ride1Up Roadster V2, the $1,199 Rad Power Bikes RadMission, and the $3,299 Priority Current. But it’s a pretty evolving list these days.

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