VIDEO | A quick blast on the Elettrica

 

Whilst at EICMA last week we were given the chance for a first ride on the new Vespa Elettrica. Piaggio have certainly put a lot of Lira into this project and it was at the forefront of everything Piaggio based at the show. Piaggio CEO Roberto Colaninno (pictured above) made his presentation on the stand surrounded by Elettricas that had been ridden silently on to the podium. His speech started with a long Italian dialogue about the electric Vespa, not mentioning the other Vespa products at all. 

 

iggy eletricca

 

 

Outside the main hall at EICMA, a pop up Elettrica booking office had been erected and a small test fleet of identical aluminium silver Vespas were waiting patiently outside, beside a short test track, ready for willing journalists (and members of the public later in the week). I picked up my branded helmet and gloves, walked out to the ‘track’ and was briefed on how the Elettrica works. If you’ve ridden a modern auto then it’s pretty much the same. The only real difference is that when you turn the key the full colour TFT dash greets you. Then when you press and hold the starter button for three seconds a light lets you know the scooter is ready. That’s it, twist the throttle and it pulls silently away.

 

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50cc equivalent

 

Like most electric scooters I’ve ridden, the Elettrica accelerates well, with 4kw (and a continuous 3.5kw) of power on tap it feels more like a four-stroke 125 than a 50 from a standing start, the power is there right through until around 30mph.

 

Power mode

 

The scooter has two power modes as well, ‘Eco’ and ‘Power’, you select them using the mode button on the right handlebar, there’s also a reverse option to help when parking. Once you’ve selected a mode, hold the starter button for three seconds to use it, the mode can be swapped, even on the go. In Eco mode speed is restricted to 30 kmh, acceleration is more gradual and battery life is extended. Swap to ‘Power’ and you’ll notice a jump in power as the motor uses all of its available energy. I swapped to Power on the back straight and overtook another rider like he was stood still. It’s like a mini turbo. In reality, it’s unlikely the average rider will ever use Eco mode but it’s there if you need to conserve some battery power until you get to a charge point.

 

Other than the silence, it just feels like riding any modern smallframe Vespa. It runs on 12″ front, 11″ rear tyres (just like the petrol-powered Primavera/Sprint). It handles like a Vespa, is agile, light, well balanced, turns quickly and the suspension and brakes work superbly. You can ground the side stand on left-handers (just like on a GTS/Sprint/Primavera) if you’re having fun, although it’s slightly more satisfying as it scrapes because other than wind and tyre noise that’s all you can hear.

 

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Vespa Multimedia Platform

 

Like the new HyperTech Vespa GTS, the Elettrica also comes with a full-colour TFT dash. It gives the usual speed/trip functions but also includes your selected riding mode, battery charge level, energy used (or recovered) during your ride. Recovered energy is made by the use of KERS – Kinetic Energy Recovery System. KERS is adjustable to suit the individual user. Of course, the Elettrica is also very well connected, with full integration to your smartphone. You can make and receive calls (either by voice command or by using the joystick toggle on the handlebars), the new Vespa app also includes sat nav and can give statistics on your last 30 rides (as well as loads more information).

 

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Although it was good to get a ride on the Elettrica, this was only a small taster session. The test track was fairly small and smooth but perfect for a quick spin on a new 50cc equivalent. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before we get to ride one in a city to test its range and features out in the real world.

 

First impressions 

 

My initial thoughts were that the scooter is unmistakably ‘Vespa’, it’s smooth, easy to ride and looks great (it’s a Vespa so it’s bound to look the part). Unlike many cheaper electric scooters, this one is good on the brakes as well, on lots of the earlier e-scooters if you touched the brakes to steady yourself whilst manoeuvring slowly the power became snatchy and upset things. With the Elettrica it’s a refined riding experience, it doesn’t feel like some kids electric scooter, it’s plush and well sorted, just as a Vespa should be.

 

Would I buy one?

 

To be honest I have no need for a short range, low powered scooter. I don’t have to commute and most of my scooter riding is long distance, so an electric machine isn’t the best choice for me personally. There are lots of short distance commuters with cash to spend though.

 

If I was a city slicker, urban commuter or simply lived somewhere where riding an electric scooter is the only choice then I’d certainly opt for something like the Elettrica. It has Italian style, a good finish and should make commuting a pleasure for years to come. At just over £5500 for what is essentially a moped you’ve got to really want a scooter with the Vespa name though.

 

Iggy

 

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Vespa Elettrica specs

 

Engine

Electric Piaggio brushless motor with KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System)

Power

3.5 kW (4 kW peak)

Torque

200 Nm at the wheel

Battery

Piaggio 4.2 kWh lithium battery, LG Chem cells, built-in battery charger

Battery voltage

48 V

Battery capacity

86 Ah

Recharge time

4 hours (with voltage of 220 V)

Load Bearing Structure

Sheet steel body with welded reinforcements

Front suspension

Single-arm fork with coil spring and hydraulic monoshock absorber

Rear suspension

Hydraulic monoshock absorber

Front wheel rim

Die-cast aluminium alloy 3.00×12”

Rear wheel rim

Die-cast aluminium alloy 3,00×11”

Front tyre

Tubeless 110/70-12″

Rear tyre

Tubeless 120/70-11″

Front brake

Hydraulically operated 200 mm stainless steel disc

Rear brake

Mechanically operated 140 mm drum brake

Length/Width

1870/735 mm

Saddle height

790 mm

Wheelbase

1350 mm

Price                                      €6390 (also available on finance at €99 per month)

 

New products always in development…

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