When people think about Vespa, a couple of very vivid yet opposing images come to mind.
For some, it’s Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn improbably tooling around Italy in Roman Holiday.
For others, it is a more visceral image. Picture hundreds of buzzing wasps roaring with a giant cloud of blue two-stroke smoke filling the air beside some scooter garage or dealership full of bikes held together with mostly hopes, dreams, duct tape and baling wire.
While these images are great and may be what attracts people to the brand, there is something new on the horizon for the other motor company. Something new and different from what we’ve come to expect. I almost hate to say it, because it is almost a cliché at this point, but what is next for Vespa could be a game changer for the industry.
So, what is it?
It’s an electric scooter!
What’s that you say?
You’re underwhelmed by this announcement?
Why would this be any different than what’s out there already?
While it is true that there are other electric scooters out there, none of them hold a candle to the Elettrica. Vespa has pulled out all the stops on this design.
It’s All in the Execution
No one does designs better than the Italians.
That isn’t my opinion. It’s a fact!
There may be things that last longer or require much less maintenance, but overall, nothing can compare to the passion that goes into Italian design, and Vespa is no different. That passion is what makes the difference between something good and something great. This all-new electric scooter dubbed the Elettrica, which premiered at the Milan Motorcycle Show, is greatness incarnate!
Vespa Knows its Audience
Aimed at the modern rider, the Elettica doesn’t skimp on any of the bells and whistles.
Bluetooth comes standard on this bike. Riders will even be able to trigger a phone’s voice assistant or control music. Of course Vespa is releasing a special helmet equipped with built-in Bluetooth speakers and a microphone alongside the Elettrica.
How can it pick up the sound of a voice over the engine noise?
The answer is simple.
Because there isn’t any engine noise! Just a slight electric whir as you scoot down the road.
Currently, more than half the world’s population lives in the cities that this bike was designed for. It will make this perfect for places where sound pollution is always a concern.
The silence of Elettrica is a point of pride for the manufacturer. So much so that they’ve devoted an entire commercial to point it out. If you are one of the people that subscribe to the “Loud pipes save lives” school of thought, this bike may not be for you. For the rest of us that don’t need to announce our arrival miles before we actually get there, it very well could be.
You Wouldn’t Look out of Place Wearing a “Tron Suit” While Riding.
The design somehow is ultra modern yet traditional simultaneously. The integrated digital control panel looks like it came straight off of a space ship. The controls appear standard with all customization being done via touch screen or possibly even an app. The details on that are still in development.
As far as materials go, as usual, they are top notch. The velvet satin finish blends seamlessly from one surface to another. Yet the monocoque frame that Vespa is famous for still appears largely intact. The only models I’ve seen so far are silver with either blue or deep orange accents lines. I imagine that the full spectrum of colors will be available as well.
(Look at it! Just.Look.At.This.Bike!)
According to Piaggio, the electric scooter will have superior performance to most 50cc scooters. The 4kW electric motors have monstrous torque, so taking off from a dead stop should be a great deal of fun!
Driving at regular speeds, the bike purports to have a range of 100KM (62 miles roughly, for you dirty colonists!) Vespa was also very considerate in the design of the charging system for the Elettrica. You will not need to have a special charging unit to get your electrons flowing, any standard plug will do. If that is not enough to get you where you want to go and back, Vespa will also sell a hybrid version with a gas-powered generator called the Elettrica X that can double the range!
Electric bikes, just by nature, tend to run a bit heavier than their I.C.E engine counterparts, so braking is important. This bike appears to maintain the standard single front disc brake with rear drum brake, which should be more than enough to keep you out of harms way. There’s no word yet on if this bike will feature regenerative braking or not.
If charts and numbers are your thing, you’ll love this!
As of this writing, Vespa is still tight-lipped on the price, but this beautiful and capable machine will be available worldwide in mid to late 2018!
I can’t wait to hop on one and get lost in the day!
On a personal note, as the days go by, more and more manufacturers are sticking their toes in the waters of electric vehicles. I’m glad to see one of the brands that I have loved and respected for years do so because it confirms something I’ve been saying for quite a long time in regards to transportation needs. The Future is Electric!