While many of the brands at EICMA are marking their return to the middleweight segment, Vespa is making noise in a different way, with the launch of its Elettrica. The full electric scooter baosts of ranges between 100 – 200 kilometers while taking just 4 hours to charge. First announced last year, the Vespa Elettrica is now available in Europe with the rest of the world soon to follow.
The heart of the Elettrica is its power unit, capable of delivering continuous power of 3.5 kW (4.75 PS) and peak power of 4 kW (5.44 PS). That may not sound like much, but its torque, on the other hand, is a staggering 200-Nm. This is powered by a modern lithium-ion battery paired with an F1-style Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS), which charges the battery as the scooter decelerates.
The bike is controlled by Ride by Wire electronic accelerator controls. By pressing the Riding Mode button on the right hand side of the handlebar, the rider can choose between ECO and Power, in addition to Reverse mode. ECO mode, intended to save energy, extends battery life; speed is limited to 30 km/h and acceleration is more gradual. Power is the basic riding mode which fully exploits the power of the motor.
No high power or specialized charging station is needed. Simply pull out the power cord from where the fuel cap is typically located and plug into a normal 220V wall outlet. Vespa claims the battery is will maintain efficiency over 1000 full charging cycles. This translates into a range of between 50,000 and 70,000 km, equivalent to approximately 10 years of operation for a vehicle intended for urban commuting. Even after the thousand charging cycles, the battery still maintains 80% of its capacity and is perfectly usable.
The front headlight with LED technology and the rear light cluster give an even more distinct personality. Keeping it aloft over bumps are 12-inch front and 11-inch rear aluminium alloy rims.
The bike is started and unlocked with a remote control key that has a built-in Bike Finder feature (flashes the turn indicators) and a seat compartment opening function. Besides the electric powertrain, the Elettrica still carries over conveniences its petrol models have been come to be known for. Under the seat is a compartment which can hold a Jet helmet.
On the leg shield back plate, there is a USB socket for charging smartphones or other mobile devices.
On the handlebars is a digital instrument panel with a 4.3 inch colour TFT display. Twilight sensors adjust the background and colour of the characters to the light conditions (day/night mode) and the four adjustable brightness levels. The center of the screen always contains the main information such as speed, selected riding modes, residual range in km and battery charge level (%), while the ecological riding quality and the level of energy used or recovered during the ride are indicated on either side.
Downloading the dedicated Vespa App on your smart phone allows you to connect to the vehicle via Bluetooth and see notifications of incoming calls and messages. The system also allows you to use the handlebar buttons to answer calls and to use the smartphone's voice commands to make calls or play music from your own playlist. The handy Mode joystick on the right control block makes navigating these menus easy. In addition, the exclusive Jet helmet features built-in earphones and Bluetooth intercom as an optional accessory.
Besides the standard Vespa Elettrica, the marque is also offering the Elettrica X. To be made available in 2019, this higher-end model bears more distinct Copper finishes. Put simply, the Elettrica X is the plug-in hybrid version. It includes a petrol driven generator that, depending on riding style, conserves battery power. To make room for the generator and its fuel tank (3 litres), Vespa Elettrica X uses a smaller battery pack that, with the generator off, provides a range of up to 50 km. The generator adds another 150 km to the range, bringing it up to 200 km to make Vespa Elettrica suitable for out of town riding as well. The generator kicks in automatically, when the battery charge level falls below a certain threshold or the rider can start it manually by selecting the Extender mode.
To encourage early adoption, Vespa is offering the Elettrica at a price of € 6,390 (PhP 382,000) in major European markets. It is also offering it with monthly instalments of € 99* (PhP 5,919). By adding a down payment, the instalment can also include Vespa Care, the services package that includes scheduled maintenance operations (36 months or 10,000 km), a warranty extension of an additional 12 months, the periodic battery check and roadside assistance enhanced by dedicated services.