Gogoro, Ather and Niu: a new generation of Asian electric smart scooters

 

Ather S340

Ather S340

A new generation of smart scooters is appearing in Taiwan, India and China, created by tech entrepreneurs with some serious financing behind them.

We presented the Gogoro a while ago (http://cleanrider.com/gogoro-better-place-electric-scooters/). Since then, Gogoro started a test program in the city of Taipei and announced the price of its scooter: $4,100, which includes two years of battery-swapping service. It is rather on the expensive side, in a country where a good 125-cc gas scooter can be purchased for less than $2,500 and the cheapest gas scooters can be found at less than $500. But the project is well financed, and is going ahead.

Gogoro

Gogoro

In Chennai, India, Ather Energy is reimagining the scooter with the S340 model. The company was started by two young tech entrepreneurs, and received $1 million in financing from the founders of Indian online shopping giant Flipkart. Recently, it received an additional $12 million in funding from Tiger Global, the New York-based hedge fund. Ather developed the S340 from the ground up, and clearly positioned it as a premium scooter. It designed all the parts of the S340, except for the motor, the BMS and the battery cells. Through its research, Ather had found out that the early users of electric scooters in India were all disappointed by the quality and performance of their machines. For example, 100,000 electric scooters (with lead-acid batteries) were sold in India in 2009, and only 20,000 in 2014. So the goal was to develop a scooter that out-performs a 100-cc gas scooter.

Ather S340

Ather S340

The S340 has a light-weight aluminum chassis, a top speed of 47 mph (75 km/h) and goes from 0 to 37 mph (60 km/h) in 11 seconds. The 33 lbs. (15 kg) lithium-ion battery can be recharged to 90% in 1 hour, and provides a range of 31 to 62 miles (50 to 100 km). The dashboard is an Android tablet, and sensors monitor bike parameters and process data in the cloud, each scooter having a SIM card for data communication. Prototypes are being tested right now, customer test should start in October and first production models should be available in 2016, at a price of INR85,000, or $1,335.

In China, another startup, Niu (buffalo in Chinese) is working on another premium, internet connected electric scooter. Li Yinan, a former Chief Technology Officer at Baidu, the Chinese internet company, invested $3 million of his own money in this project, and completed a round of financing that raised $50 million in total.

Niu N1

Niu N1

The Niu N1 will come in two versions, one with a range of 62 miles (100 km) for CNY4,999 ($805), and one with a range of 50 miles (80 km) for CNY3,999 ($644). Both come with removable Panasonic lithium-ion batteries, the higher version having a 1.560 kWh capacity for a weight of 22 lbs. (10 kg). Bosch is supplying the hub motor. Top speed is 28 mph (45 km/h).

 

Panasonic batteries

Panasonic batteries

The N1 went on sales on June 15 on a crowdfunding site, and reached over CNY50 million ($8.055 million), a record in China. The scooters are supposed to be delivered within 30 days.

Asia is of course teeming with tens of millions of gas scooters, and if there is one region in the world where electric scooters can be manufactured in the millions some day, this is it. With their well funded projects, dynamic tech entrepreneurs, low labor costs and huge economies of scale potential, these new Asian smart scooters are a good bet to, sooner or later, invade Europe and the USA. And we can’t wait…

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41 comments for this post
  1. darus zehrbach wrote the 21/07/2015

    Let me rehash the numbers. N1 bikes sell for $644 to $805 each. Ave price $724. Sold $8 million / 724 = 11,049 units AND “The scooters are supposed to be delivered within 30 days.” Yep, startup with no production (even if it subcontracts), no inventory of parts, no staff to support the figures, is going to jump right to 132,000 scooters a year production rate in the first 30 days.

    Reply
  2. JP, the author of the post, wrote the 21/07/2015

    Seems about right, I read somewhere that they have already sold over 15,000 N1. Who says they have no production, no staff? The N1 was introduced last spring in Shanghai, where Niu talked about their factory in Changhzou in a former welding equipment plant. Of course I have no idea if they will be able to deliver all these scooters within one month, but at least it shows that their is a strong demand for the product.

    Reply
  3. Bjorn wrote the 22/07/2015

    I believe Gogoro will have less chance in Europe and USA due to its price and its relatively boring all too common design.
    The Ather has a slightly better chance but its seemingly small storage capability may be a detriment.
    The semi-retro look of the Niu N1combined with its reasonable price should go over quite well in Europe, If the really pull it off I think they will have success. And its the only one that has a somewhat catchy name. If the Asians just understood how much is in a product name…

    Reply
  4. Bjorn wrote the 22/07/2015

    Sorry, I goofed. If you replace Ather with Gogoro and vice versa in my previous comment you will get what I intended to say.

    Reply
    • Albert wrote the 22/07/2015

      I want the performances of the Gogoro, the design of the Ather, and the price of the Niu…

      Reply
  5. Frank wrote the 24/02/2016

    I purchased one of the NIU N1 scooters in Shanghai. It really is a well built and a great machine. NIU support is terrible though. I need to get some basic documentation to export it back to Europe (CE cert) and so far all mails and calls have gone unanswered.

    By the way the one I got is speed limited to 20KM/hr.

    Reply
    • Kenji wrote the 27/02/2016

      how does the ather battery compares to NIU and GOGORO and especially if it claims to be immortal

      Reply
    • Paul Smits wrote the 21/03/2016

      I tried to get in touch with someone at Niu factory by mails tot differend departments, no answer at all. Want to know more about the Niu 1 for introduction in Europe (Holland) If there is anyody that can help, please send me a mail Paul Smits p.smits@home.nl

      Reply
      • GONG wrote the 31/03/2016

        I want to talk about with you about the electric scooter, the European certification
        I come from China factory,
        thank you
        skype:gongjian.gj123
        008615897647052

        Reply
    • GONG wrote the 31/03/2016

      WHAT CAN I FOR YOU?

      Reply
    • Simson Gao wrote the 20/04/2016

      Hi Dear Frank

      this is Simson from Niu technology, oversea project manager.
      I am terribly sorry for the inconvenience with our after sales support, that’s something we definately need to imporve.
      We are currently working on exporting certifications like e mark, I think this is what you are looking for, please send me your email so I can send the cert to you when it’s ready.
      btw you will be able to purchase a NIU in Europe very soon~
      Regards

      Thank you again for supporting.

      Reply
      • Frank wrote the 25/04/2016

        Hello Simson, thank you for your response. My NUI N1 is now in Ireland and ready for registration just as soon as the documentation becomes available. If you contact me at the e-mail below I will provide a copy of the registartion document so that you are aware of the specifics.

        All going well we could have the first NIU N1 registered in Europe very shortly.

        Xie xie,
        (you can contact me via this site that can send you my email)
        Frank

        Reply
        • Frank wrote the 05/05/2016

          Hi Simson,
          The specific requirement for registration in Europe is ‘EU Whole Vehicle Type-Approval Certificate of Conformity or IVA NASSTA Certificate of Conformity (CoC)’.

          Be good to know when NIU expect to make this available.

          Regards,
          Frank

          Reply
      • Paul Smits wrote the 26/04/2016

        Hi Simson,

        Do you know when aznd where I can buy the Niu N1 in Holland (The Netherlands)?
        Or somewhere else in Europe?

        please adsvise,
        Paul Smits [paul@home.nl]

        Reply
      • Matthias wrote the 11/05/2016

        Hi Simson,
        I would have the same questions as some of the other writers. Will leave China very soon and would like to take a NIU N1 with me home. How can I get the Certificate of Conformity for that bike?
        Alternatively, any news on when the Niu N1 can be purchased in Germany/Europe?
        Thanks for your advice,
        Matthias

        Reply
      • Frank wrote the 22/05/2016

        Hi all,
        I went to register the bike this week. Registeration is not possible without ‘an export certificate’ that provides technical and emmissions details of the bike. So far, no response from NIU or the seller.

        Regards,
        Frank

        Reply
        • Paul Smits wrote the 23/05/2016

          Hi Frank,
          Shame on the Niu 1 company for not reacting. So you cannot insure or drive with your scooter?

          Reply
    • winterknights wrote the 15/11/2016

      Hi, Speed Limit can be changed to the normal 45/50km/h by some catch, Holding brake, switchin on/off…! If needed send email. Still I am chewing on that COC Thing… :-(

      Reply
      • Denis wrote the 05/12/2016

        Please tell me how i can remove the speed limitr of the NIU 😉

        Reply
      • Andrew wrote the 28/11/2017

        How can you you change the speed limiter to the normal 45 50km/hr

        Reply
  6. Frank wrote the 02/04/2016

    Hello Gong,
    My NUI N1 will soon arrive in Ireland. I want to register it for use in Ireland. For that it will require European CE certification. Does NIU have this? or do they plan to provide it. It the bike is registered for use in one European country then it should be easy to also do it in the others. So its in all our interests to get this sorted.

    Reply
    • Paul Smits wrote the 03/04/2016

      Hi Frank,

      How did you manage a transport for a Nui N1 from China to Ireland?
      Was it expencive (to bay and ship)?

      please advise,
      Paul

      Reply
  7. Frank wrote the 11/04/2016

    Hi Paul,
    Mine came as part of my household shipment. The contact below does provide the service. I have not used them but they were responsive to my enquiries and offered a competative price. My own bike should arrive shortly. When it does I’ll post some images.
    Goodhope- Anna [mailto:sales008@goodhopefreight.com]

    Regards,
    Frank

    Reply
    • Paul Smits wrote the 26/04/2016

      Hi Frank,

      Thanks for the answer
      Do you know if the’s a European CE certification now and if so can you mail me a copy?

      kind regards,
      Paul
      Paul Smits [paul@home.nl]

      Reply
      • Frank wrote the 26/04/2016

        Hi Paul,
        I am waiting for Simson from NIU to respond. I would NOT advise that anyone try to import the bikes directly from China. Its much better to wait for European distribution and certification to be in place.

        Without the proper paperwork the bike is just a very expensive toy that CAN NOT be registered or used on the European Road network.

        NUI support continues to be a concern (both inside and outside China). The engineering team may have made what looks like a well engineered machine but sales, marketing and support would seem to be just catching up.

        I will work with the site administrator to put a comple blog together and share with the ‘world’ over the coming week.

        Regards,
        Frank

        Reply
  8. Joao gaspar wrote the 30/04/2016

    Hello simson,

    Recently I sent a mail to your site asking about the possibility to import the N1 (and why not the M1) to Mozambique.
    Can you give me some info about that? Who may I deal with?

    Thanks

    Reply
  9. Frank wrote the 27/05/2016

    Hi all,
    Just to update you on the NIU european registration issue. I got a response from NIU. EBikes purchsed in China will not be provided European Certification (NIU claim that they have it). NIU advise to purchase another bike in Europe. Before anyone purchases a NIU, consider at some stage you will need support and service and that will have to come from NIU. Experience has shown they really dont have any idea of what customer service it. Nither do they show any loyalty to customers who took the risk of buying one of their early generation products. The response below came from a mail to their site. No follow up was recieved from either ‘Gong’ or ‘Simson’.

    ‘ Hi Dear Frank
    Unfortunately N1 was designed and sold in China mainland, therefore we do not have any certificate for other countries.
    I am sorry that we couldn’t help.
    Maybe very soon you will be able to purchase Niu in Europe soon.’

    Reply
    • Albert wrote the 27/05/2016

      Bummer! That sucks… What are you going to do?

      Reply
      • Frank wrote the 29/05/2016

        NIU not providing the documation (which they claim they have) goes against China’s ‘one road one belt’ policy. You would expect that they should be proud of their products and support ALL their customers. I intend to take the issue up with the Chinese press (China Daily) and the CCP to see is they can help change NIU’s mode of customer service to one that is consistant with that expected in Europe.

        Failing that, the bike will be broken down for spares or sold for ‘off road’ use.

        Frank

        Reply
  10. cute wrote the 07/07/2016

    I want to know how many patents under NIU, Govecs and bolt mobility

    Reply
  11. Puri wrote the 05/08/2016

    Hi Everybody
    I am from Nepal
    I have visited NIU Factory in Changhzou China , This is number one smart scooter in world and took test ride my self in its Factory. State of Art Factory

    Hi,Simson When You will be make available in Nepal.

    Reply
  12. Frank wrote the 09/08/2016

    If you want to remove the speed limiter on the NIU please follow the following procedure,
    1. Press and hold the green start up button, at the same timeturn on the key and hold the brake of the front wheel for more than 1s.
    2. release the green start up button and brake at the same time.
    3. Press and hold the green startup button for more than 10s. After releasing the green startup button hold the brake once.

    Reply
    • Mark wrote the 05/09/2016

      Hey Frank

      Will this work for the NIU NIS Model?

      M

      Reply
    • Gerd wrote the 11/10/2016

      Hallo Frank,
      ich denke mal dass du Deutscher bist.?? Habe gerade
      deinen Artikel gelesen ( Übersetzung vom Englisch in Deutsch)
      Sei bitte so nett und erkläre mir es nochmal in Deutsch
      (Übersetzung ist ungenau) .es geht hier bei deinem Artikel
      um die Ausserkraftsetzung der Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung.
      Finde auch der Niu n1 ist ein absoluter Hammer!!!! Wielange
      hast du den schon??? Hier gekauft oder in China??? Freue mich
      auf deine Antwort.
      Gruss
      Gerd

      Reply
    • Andrew wrote the 28/11/2017

      How can you you change the speed limiter of the niu n1 civic to the normal 45 50km/hr

      Reply
  13. JP wrote the 10/10/2016

    The NIU is now available in France. Frank, maybe they can help you with your paper work…
    http://niu-france.com/index.php

    Reply
    • Frank wrote the 11/10/2016

      Thank JP,
      I’ll give it a try and let you know how I get on.
      Regards,
      Frank

      Reply
  14. Paul Smits wrote the 11/10/2016

    Euro 2.700,00 ??????????????
    That’s more than 3 x the price in China.
    Euro 2.000,- for shipping adn certificating for Europe only is absurt.
    Ik looks like extreme monymaking.
    Paul

    Reply
  15. winterknights wrote the 21/11/2016

    Hi all, have sent message to NIU CEO Yinan Li, sent message to NIU Business…no reply. Sent message to KSR Group GmbH, they seem to be the major partner for european or al least german market; they say differences between chinese and europ. Version…therefore no COC. Cannot believe, asuch will not be produced (as a quite new Startup) in many different versions. As long as you have a something with the scooters parameters you should be safe!! So, please…anyone having a paper, please share! :-)

    Reply
  16. Jerry van Gerven wrote the 07/12/2016

    My company bought a couple of N1S from the KSR Group here in europe. had them within 2 weeks. It is the 20km version.. it runs like 24km/h ish.
    Does anybody know if this model can run faster? i tried Frank’s way but no luck yet.

    Reply
  17. Jos Koelewijn wrote the 07/12/2016

    Hello, We have got them in! Looks nice, electricalfittings are well sealed and it seems that this could be the reel compatitor for the gasoline powered scooters! now availible @ http://www.myscootershop.nl/niu-n1s-civic-elektrische-scooter.
    Any questions? I am willing to help!
    Jos Koelewijn
    MyScootershop.nl

    Reply
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