Iconic Vespa Scooter, now 70 years old, gets brand-new electric powertrain


All-electric Vespa Elettrica scooter

All-electric Vespa Elettrica scooter

Enlarge Photo

The Vespa scooter is undeniably an icon on European streets.

For 70 years, Vespas have buzzed about roadways, but the buzz will soon give way to an all-but-silent hum in the company's latest scooter.

Earlier this month at the Milan Motorcycle Show, Vespa announced its first all-electric scooter, dubbed the Elettrica.

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The Elettrica trades a petrol and tank small combustion engine for a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor rated at 2 kilowatts of continuous power and peak power of 4 kilowatts.

The electric Vespa offers better acceleration than a traditional scooter, with more power than typical 50-cc scooters.

For Europeans, the idea of a silent scooter may come as a relief; the buzz and howl of mopeds and scooters is a common sound and often adds to urban noise pollution.

All-electric Vespa Elettrica scooter

All-electric Vespa Elettrica scooter

Enlarge Photo

However, Vespa will also introduce an Elettrica X model with a range-extending generator—so not all Elettricas will be entirely silent.

All-electric Vespas will travel up to 100 kilometers (62 miles) on a single charge, but the X model doubles that range to 200 kilometers (124 miles).

Riders can plug the electric scooter into a standard outlet and charge it fully within four hours, and public charging stations will work as well.

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Although the Elettrica stays true to the Vespa's iconic design, the electric scooter packs more technology than ever.

Riders will find a 4.3-inch touchscreen embedded with smartphone connectivity, for instance, a long way from the original Vespa's lone speedometer.

Vespa will also launch an app to connect a rider's mobile phone via Bluetooth to handle calls and music.

All-electric Vespa Elettrica scooter

All-electric Vespa Elettrica scooter

Enlarge Photo

Vespa plans to offer the electric scooter in a chrome grey finish, though buyers can select among seven different trim color options. 

While scooters aren't nearly as popular in the United States as they are in Europe, the Elettrica will be offered worldwide.

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Vespa's move into electric scooters follows moves by many European nations to ban the sale of new cars powered by an internal-combustion engine, starting as early as 2025.

The Piaggio Group will begin Elettrica production next year and the electric scooters will hit the road shortly thereafter.

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