You know the motor industry is changing when even vehicles that don’t use a whole lot of gas start going electric. Piaggio, the Italian company behind Vespa, is going eco-friendly with their new Elettrica. And if the name isn’t a gigantic clue, the Vespa Elettrica is the company’s first all-electric scooter.
And, like most Vespa scooters, the Elettrica doesn’t look like much. But in a stylish way — because you have to imagine that you’re running over Rome’s cobblestones while riding a Vespa, even if you’re dodging manics on the N1 at the time. We’re pretty sure they put that in writing when you buy one.
It’s what’s on the inside that counts, and Vespa is offering riders a 4kW motor capable of… about the same sort of speeds you’d get from a 50cc scooter. But since it’s an electric motor, you shouldn’t see much loss of power on uphills and you should get up to speed quickly enough to scare BMW owners. Until they hit second gear, that is.
The Elettrica has a range of 100km on a charge, which suits its purpose as a cost-effective runaround — if you’re doing long distances on this one, you’re doing it wrong.The battery is lithium-ion and Vespa has included a kinetic recovery system to squeeze out as much distance as possible between charges. And if you do get to the office with less power than you’d like, it’ll go from drained to charged in about four hours, the company says. You can charge it either via a charging station (which are in short supply here for now) or, the far more likely option, using a wall socket. The scooter is up for (online) pre-order for European buyers, which isn’t surprising since the company is based in Italy. Those folks will get some battery-powered puttering about by the end of the year, while those States-side will see the scooter arrive in early 2019. The scooter is going to cost, when it goes on sale internationally, about R110,000 — though that’s not the price tag we’d expect to see here at home. South Africa will have a longer wait — if it arrives at all — but we’re willing to bet that that first one will be sold in Cape Town… for nearer R150,000.