Vespa announced its electric scooter at EICMA last year, but now it appears to be ready for showrooms, along with a hybrid version.
From what we can tell from the Piaggio Group’s press release, there are two versions of the electric scooter. The first is the Vespa Elettrica, which runs completely off a lithium-ion battery. The second is the Elettrica X, which has a hybrid drive train.
The Elettrica is capable of 2 kW of continuous power, with 4 kW of peak power delivery, which Vespa says out-accelerates a traditional 50 cc scooter. Just as importantly, Vespa guarantees a 100-km range for the Elettrica, and a 200-km range for the hybrid. The Elettrica can be recharged in four hours, and can use a normal wall plug or a public electric car charger.
According to the Piaggio Group press release, the new Vespa will be produced in Italy, and be distributed globally in 2018.
While scooters are typically lost amidst the buzz surrounding more high-dollar, high-horsepower bikes at EICMA, this is a very significant move by one of the world’s oldest and most-respected manufacturers of powered two-wheelers. In a Europe that’s moving towards banning the internal combustion engine, the motorcycle industry must adapt to stay in business. Considering that scooters are a major part of the Euro transportation grid, their manufacturers must be ready to roll with the changes, or they’ll be replaced by other manufacturers that have a better survival plan. The fact that Vespa is talking about this electric scooter now, instead of at the last minute before a internal combustion engine ban, shows the Italian brand is ready to move forward and do what it’s done already for decades: survive.