With production starting in Spetember 2018, Piaggo Group have actually already started taking deposits of £550 for their new Vespa Elettrica scooter online. The remaining balance of the £5999 price will be settled with a local dealer.
The latest and thoroughly modern version of the Vespa platform is being produced in the very plant where the first machine rolled off the line in 1946, and promises to give riders 62 miles from a single charge.
Powered by a lightweight, lithium-ion battery, it makes a continuous 3.5kW of power with a peak of 4kW and gives dizzying performance "superior to that of a traditional 50cc scooter," thanks to a whopping 147.5ft-lb or torque at the wheel - around 24ft-lb more than a Yamaha V-Max.
A full charge will take four hours and can be done through either a household plug, or from an outside charging point and the battery is good for 1000 cycles, which should see a life of between 50,000km and 70,000km.
Designed for an urban landscape
It's been designed with urban usability in mind, and this would be the only place you would ever really want to use it. With two riding modes – Eco and Power – on offer, the former will limit the scoot to just 30km an hour (around 18mph), which unless filtering through heavy traffic, isn’t much use to anyone.
The scooter also uses a KERS system to regenerate energy when slowing, much in the same way as a Formula 1 car. Other technology included on the bike includes a multimedia system that allows you to pair a smartphone and Bluetooth headset to the scooter. The 4.3 inch TFT dash gives the rider plenty of interactive options, too.
It displays notifications of incoming calls and messages and also the speed, residual range and remaining battery charge. Operation of the unit comes from an easily accessible joystick on the right handlebar, or the rider can use voice commands to operate a phone when connected to a headset.
A reverse function
Other features come in the form of a reverse function and compartment with a USB socket to charge mobile devices. The key also operates as a remote control that can locate the scooter with directional indicators in the case that you forget where you parked it.
The Elettrica X
If the 62-mile range isn’t enough, Vespa also offer the Elettrica X, which has a usable range of up to 124 miles thanks to the addition of a generator that’s powered by a three-litre petrol tank. The smaller battery in the X will see a range of up to 30 miles on its own, but when combined with the generator, extends the range.
The generator will kick in automatically, when the charge level falls below a certain threshold. Failing that, the rider also has the option to start it manually by selecting the 'Extender mode.'
It’ll still be a relatively clean form of transport though as the generator will only kick in when the battery charge level falls below a certain threshold, meaning that for most trips across town, it’ll still be running from the electric motor only.
The Elettrica will come with all the traditional styling associated with the Italian scooter giant and is instantly recognisable as a Vespa. It’ll also come in a range of seven different colours and with a range of additional accessories too.