VESPA’S ELEC­TRIC STING

All About Italy (USA) - - On The Road - Kevin Rozario

It had to come. The Vespa scooter – for many an iconic im­age of Italy – is go­ing elec­tric, with world­wide dis­tri­bu­tion start­ing this year. The brand’s new Vespa Elet­trica, first un­veiled at Mi­lan’s EICMA In­ter­na­tional Cy­cle and Mo­tor­cy­cle Show in Novem­ber, will use new elec­tric mo­bil­ity technology from its par­ent com­pany, Pi­ag­gio Group. But Pi­ag­gio is keen to point out that the new line – with a guar­an­teed 100km range – is not just any elec­tric scooter but “a con­tem­po­rary work of art with a tech­no­log­i­cal heart”.

What does that mean? Es­sen­tially that the switch to elec­tric does not de­tract from Vespa’s clas­sic char­ac­ter­is­tics where cool meets func­tion. It adds to them. Silent run­ning is one new as­pect – to­tal si­lence; another is a mul­ti­me­dia plat­form con­nect­ing the rider’s smart­phone to the ve­hi­cle through a man-ma­chine in­ter­face that in­cor­po­rates dig­i­tal colour in­stru­men­ta­tion. Mean­while, the X ver­sion com­bines a gen­er­a­tor with the elec­tric mo­tor, that can dou­ble the range by con­stantly recharg­ing the bat­ter­ies. It sounds too good to be true. Pi­ag­gio also points out that the lithium-ion bat­tery does not re­quire main­te­nance or spe­cial han­dling: for charg­ing you only need to find the cable in the seat com­part­ment and con­nect the plug to a nor­mal wall-mounted elec­tri­cal out­let or to one of the grow­ing net­work of pub­lic charg­ing sta­tion found in larger towns and cities. The time re­quired for a full charge is four hours. “No ve­hi­cle in the world is now as in line with ze­roe­mis­sion propul­sion as Vespa, and elec­tri­cal mo­bil­ity has never been so fas­ci­nat­ing, full of style and ele­gance,” says Pi­ag­gio Group mod­estly. The heart of Vespa Elet­trica is a unit de­liv­er­ing con­tin­u­ous power of 2kw, peak­ing at 4kw. That achieves a per­for­mance su­pe­rior to a tra­di­tional 50cc scooter, es­pe­cially when it comes to ac­cel­er­a­tion, which elec­tric mo­tors do rather well. The com­bi­na­tion en­sures an ag­ile and nim­ble ride on ur­ban roads in a serene si­lence which helps to re­duce the noise pollution clut­ter­ing our cities.

Vespa Elet­trica will be wholly pro­duced in Pont­ed­era but there is no word as yet on pric­ing. An in­ter­na­tional press pre­sen­ta­tion will be held on Oc­to­ber 2018 when more de­tails will be an­nounced.

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