Vespa has been manufacturing scooters since 1946 and is arguably the world’s most famous manufacturer of iconic city motorcycles.
Now he’s bringing the retro machine into the 21st century with the launch of a zero-emission fully electric scooter called the Vespa Elettrica.
Boasting a range of 62 miles and better performance than the 50cc petrol alternative, Piaggio, maker of the Vespa scooter, says it’s tailor-made for city driving.
Plus, with a remarkable 147 lb-ft of torque, it has pulling power equivalent to that of a 125 hp 1.0-liter Ecoboost Ford Fiesta, delivering “brilliant” response and acceleration far from the line.
When riders slow down, it recharges the battery – Vespa calls it an F1-style KERS system, but in reality, this is just an electrical regeneration function of the regular battery.
Because the scooter is so light, it can get away with a small 4.2kW lithium-ion battery. Even with a conventional household outlet, the charging time is four hours: it will be even faster with larger capacity public chargers.
Vespa says the battery should stay in peak condition for 1,000 full charge cycles, which equates to about 43,000 miles or 10 years of use. Even then, it will still have 80% of its capacity left.
The battery is located under the helmet compartment, so the Vespa Elettrica can still safely swallow a helmet when parked.
Vespa Elettrica X
That’s not all. If you need more range, the company has unveiled an extendable scooter called the Vespa Elettrica X.
This combines a small gasoline generator, a three-liter fuel tank and a smaller battery: it will travel 50 km in fully electric mode, then 150 km with the generator, which gives a total range of almost 125 km.
It’s “ideal for riding out of town,” says Vespa.
Both scooters are equipped with a 4.3 inch TFT color display, including a multimedia system that connects to smartphones. Vespa has also developed a smartphone app that riders can use to view incoming calls and messages on the screen.
The new range of Vespa Elettrica scooters will go on sale in October, first in Italy, before expanding to Europe. Sales will then expand to North America and Asia from early 2019.
Prices? Still to be confirmed. But don’t expect a retro price for this all-electric Vespa scooter …