Vespa has been making scooters since 1946 and is arguably the world’s most famous manufacturer of iconic urban motorcycles.
Now, it’s taking the retro machine into the 21st century with the launch of a zero-emissions, all-electric scooter called the Vespa Elettrica.
Boasting a range of 62 miles and better performance than the 50cc petrol-powered alternative, Piaggio, makers of the Vespa scooter, says it’s tailor-made for urban riding.
What’s more, with a remarkable torque figure of 147lb ft, it has pulling power the equal of a 125hp Ford Fiesta 1.0-litre Ecoboost, giving “brilliant” response and acceleration away from the line.
When riders slow down, it recharges the battery – Vespa’s calling it an F1-style KERS system, but really it’s just a regular battery-electric regen function.
Because the scooter is so lightweight, it can get away with using a tiny 4.2 kW lithium ion battery. Even using a regular domestic socket, the charge time is four hours: it will be faster still with higher-capacity public chargers.
Vespa says the battery should remain in peak condition for 1,000 full charging cycles, which equates to around 43,000 miles or 10 years of use. Even then, it will still have 80 percent of its capacity remaining.
The battery is located beneath the helmet compartment, so the Vespa Elettrica can still swallow a helmet safely when parked up.
Vespa Elettrica X
That’s not all. If you do need more range, the firm’s revealed a range-extender scooter, called the Vespa Elettrica X.
This combines a tiny petrol-powered generator, a three-litre fuel tank and a smaller battery pack: it will do 31 miles under full electric drive, then another 93 miles with the generator, giving a total range of almost 125 miles.
It’s “ideal for out of town riding,” says Vespa.
Both scooters come with a 4.3-inch TFT colour display, including a multimedia system that connects to smartphones. Vespa’s also developed a smartphone app that riders can use to see incoming calls and messages within the display.
The new Vespa Elettrica scooter range will go in sale in October, initially 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 tag for this all-electric Vespa scooter…