The Vespa is without doubt one of the symbols of Italy, not just of its automotive prowess but of the country’s brilliance at combining culture with engineering. Created in 1946 by the talented inventor Corradino D’Ascanio, it secured Piaggio’s global success and became a part of everyday life for many Italian families. It has developed from the original two-stroke engine, to the cleaner four-stroke, and now the electric version, an evolution that demonstrates a radical technological development while the Vespa has retained its own identity in terms of appearance and character. For the moment, the Vespa Elettrica has not replaced the traditional versions with internal combustion engines, but it represents an alternative for customers who like the idea of zero-emission mobility. The price, €6,390, positions it right at the top of the range, excluding special editions. It can be purchased online, at the website www.vespa.com or at the dedicated site elettrica.vespa.com, or alternatively at Piaggio dealers.
At the moment it is already on sale in Europe, and over the next few months it will reach Asia and the United States. Under the saddle there is a 4kW electric motor, comparable in power to a 50cc engine. Top speed is 45 km/h, but the experience is very different from the scooter’s typically slow acceleration, because the Vespa Elettrica has a torque of 200 Nm, roughly the same as that of a small turbodiesel. Maximum range is 100 km, and this is easier to achieve with the Eco riding mode that limits speed to 30 km/h. Manoeuvrability is facilitated by the reverse gear, and it is easy to recharge its batteries with the built-in cable under the saddle. This space also provides room for storing a jet-style helmet. Recharging from a domestic mains socket takes 4 hours, a time that can be reduced using recharging stations.
Vespa Elettrica – a connected vehicle
Engine maintenance is virtually zero. The battery retains optimum efficiency for up to a thousand complete recharging cycles, equivalent to a total distance of 70,000/90,000 km, corresponding to over ten year’s use for habitual urban commuting. The manufacturer says that after a thousand cycles, the battery still retains 80% of its capacity and so it can still be used. The Vespa Elettrica is a connected vehicle, fitted with the latest version of the Multimedia Platform, a system that connects your smartphone to the scooter which can then display various forms of information, such as incoming calls and messages, on the 4.3-inch colour TFT display. The system enables the rider to answer calls using commands on the handlebars and to use the vocal smartphone commands in order to make calls or play music. It can also provide a geo-localization system so that you can see where your Vespa is at a distance.