Vespa, the iconic scooter manufacturer, has revealed details of its first electric and hybrid models. Production of the battery-powered Elettrica and hybrid Elettrica X will begin later this year, and U.S. sales are expected in 2018. Prices have not been released. The EV Vespa was first teased last year, as Max Goldberg reported in The Drive.
The Elettrica's motor will deliver two kilowatts of continuous power (2.7 horsepower) and brief peaks up to four kWh for accelerating (5.4 hp). That's roughly on par with the 4.6 hp put out by the gas engines Vespa uses in its small Primavera 50 and Sprint 50 scooters, which are similar in size to the Elettrica.
Where the Elettrica wallops its forebears is in torque. Autoevolution reports the electric motor peaks at 147-pound-feet and should out-accelerate any 50cc scooter on the market. By comparison, the engine in the Primavera 50 and Sprint 50 puts out 2.8 lb-ft of torque.
The new Vespa has a maximum range of 100 kilometers (62 miles), which is plenty considering small scooters are used primarily for short trips around town. It will charge in four hours on household current. The hybrid Elettrica X, which has a tiny gas engine to keep its battery charged, will have twice the range.
Both versions of the bike feature 4.3-inch color displays with Bluetooth connectivity. Vespa's parent, the Piaggio Group, has not revealed the top speed of the new models, but with their small wheels and tight wheelbases, consumers planning extensive highway travel might want to look elsewhere.
The new bikes were unveiled in Italy at the Esposizione internazionale del ciclo, motociclo, accessori (EICMA),the international motorcycle show celebrating its 75th anniversary in Milan through the weekend.
The market for electric scooters is just taking off. The Drive reported this summer that BMW will bring its large C Evolution electric scooter stateside, starting with eco-friendly California. Meanwhile, Honda has announced that it will begin production of an electric version of the Super Cub, the most popular motor vehicle ever produced, starting next year. Sales of the EV-Cub will begin in Japan, then move to other parts of Asia before a U.S. version would be launched.