The best thing about the Vespa Elettrica electric scooter is that it is almost a complete mirror of the iconic petrol-powered retro model.
And, of course, just like the standard Vespa, it is twist-and-go-throttle so there is one less hurdle among scooter riders crossing over from an internal combustion model to an electric.
From the above video it appears to have a top speed — in power mode — of 50km/h, so it would be legally limited to 60km/h roads in Australia. It also features reverse gear to make parking easier.i
Elettrica has 100km of urban range and the x version will almost reach 200km which is plenty for the weekly commute.
Vespa says it is not just quiet but “totally silent”. We doubt that. Tyres make noise on the road. But the rest of it should be pretty quiet, allowing riders to safely concentrate on the sounds around them.
The battery under the under-seat compartment still allows riders enough room to store a “purpose-built helmet” which is an open-face design, with and without a visor.
Its recharge cable will plug into a normal socket and will charge in about four hours on our 240V power.
Elettrica’s 4.3-inch full-colour TFT dashboard includes important information to help with maintaining battery charge.
It will connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth and an app to display selected features from your phone.
You can access these features via buttons on the bars so you don’t have to touch the screen or your phone.
And if you’ve forgotten where you parked your Vespa, the app saves its position.
Elettrica comes with an electric blue accent (of course) as well as three other colour accents.
Vespa Australia brand manager Gavan Moody says the Elletrica has “generated a lot of interest overseas” since it was launched in concept form at the 2016 EICMA motorcycle show in Milan.
The production version was released last week at the same show to even greater interest.
It goes into production this year for European markets.
“Piaggio Asia Pacific advise there is no plan for this region until after 2019, if it was to be introduced here,” Gavan says.
“Price has not been discussed however the indication is it would be at the upper end of the current premium Vespa range.”
Current Vespas range in price from the GTS 250 ie at $7890 (plus on-road costs) to the $12,490 946 Belissima.
Would Aussie scooterists be prepared to pay around that amount for an electric scooter?
We think so and here’s why.
Scooters have been on a dramatic slide in recent years but are slightly bouncing back.
However, the slide has not affected the quality Vespa Italian brand.
In 2011, Vespa sold 1042 scooters in Australia and last year sold 977, down just 6.2% while the whole scooter market plummeted by two-thirds to just 3852 last year.
(Note: Those figures are slightly skewed by the absence of some cheap scooter brands from the official figures, but you get the idea.)
It goes to show that scooterists appreciate top quality and are prepared to pay.
Vespa Elettrica tech specs
- Continuous power: 3.5kW
- Maximum power: 4kW
- Torque: 200Nm (at the wheel)
- Battery: 48v, 86Ah, 4.2kW/h, by LG Chem
- Recharge: 4 hours
- Battery life: 1000 cycles (residual capacity 80%)
- Battery weight: 25kg
- Energy recovery: Yes
- Tyres: 110/70 – 12”; 120/70 – 11”
- Brake: 200mm single disc; 140mm rear drum
- Wheelbase: 1350mm
- Length: 1870mm
- Width: 735mm
- Height: 1150mm
- Seat: 790mm
- Weight (with battery): 130kg