Italian motor-vehicles manufacturer Piaggio has showcased its future electric model, the Vespa Elettrica at EICMA 2017. No vehicle in the world is now as in line with zero-emission propulsion as Vespa and electrical mobility has never been so fascinating, full of style and elegance. This is because Vespa Elettrica is not an electric scooter, it is Vespa Elettrica, it is a contemporary work of art with a technological heart. And with the adoption of Vespa’s electric technology it is even more of an icon of our time, a symbol of contemporaneity and the future.
The heart of Vespa Elettrica is a Power Unit capable of delivering a continuous power of 2 kW and a peak power of 4 kW: values that, combined with a torque of over 200 Nm, provide a performance superior to that of a traditional 50cc scooter, especially as regards acceleration that benefits from the typical brilliant output of electric motors.
Vespa Elettrica guarantees a maximum range of 100 km (62 miles), which is not much different for urban riding, with its frequent “stop and go”. This is possible thanks to a modern lithium-ion battery and an efficient energy recovery system (KERS, Kinetic Energy Recovery System), which recharges when decelerating. Charging operations are the simplest thing imaginable: the lithium-ion battery, just like the one in modern smartphones, needs no special precautions. For charging you just need to extract the cable from the seat compartment, where the fuel cap is usually located, and attach the plug to a normal wall outlet or one of the ever-increasing number of public charging station in big cities. The time required for a full charge is 4 hours.
In further confirmation of the extreme usability of Vespa Elettrica, the engine and battery pack do not require any maintenance. The battery provides excellent efficiency for up to 1000 full charging cycles. This translates into a range of between 50,000 and 70,000 km, equivalent to approximately 10 years of use of a vehicle created for urban commuting. After the thousand cycles, the battery still has 80% of its capacity and is perfectly usable. Located under the helmet compartment, the compact battery pack does not compromise the functionality of the Vespa Elettrica seat compartment, which can hold a Jet helmet.
The Ride by Wire electronic accelerator controls the output of the Vespa Elettrica motor. By pressing the Ridign Mode button on the right hand side of the handlebar, the rider can choose between two riding modes: ECO and Power, in addition to Reverse mode for easier handling of Vespa Elettrica while manoeuvering. In ECO mode, aimed at saving energy, you obtain more battery life; speed is limited to 30 km/h (18 mph) and acceleration is more gradual. However, Power is the basic riding mode which exploits all the power of the engine.
Vespa Elettrica is not just a silent, ecological and technologically advanced vehicle; It is also, and above all, connected. The many features offered by a new version of the Vespa Multimedia Platform, the multimedia system that connects the smartphone to the vehicle, can be managed through a completely new man-machine interface incorporating a digital instrument panel with a 4.3 inch colour TFT display, always easy to read thanks to the twilight sensor that adapts the background and colour of the characters to the light conditions (day/night mode) and the four-levels of brightness adjustment.
The extensive information displayed is arranged in a very impressive and extremely rational graphic diagram. The centre of the screen always contains the main information such as speed, selected riding modes, residual range in km and battery charge (%), while on either side there are the quality indicators of ecological riding and the level of power used. But it is using the dedicated Vespa Elettrica App on your smartphone and connecting it to the vehicle – via bluetooth – that lets you take full advantage of the capabilities of the TFT display on which all notifications of incoming calls and messages appear, highly visible in the centre.
The system also allows you to use the keys on the handlebars to answer calls and to use the smartphone’s voice commands to make calls or play music by activating a playlist. To fully enjoyall these features, easily managed through the handy joystick MODE on the right control block, Vespa Elettrica offers as an accessory a special dedicated Jet helmet with integrated internal earphones and bluetooth intercom.
The strong ability to connect to the outside world is not limited, of course, to the various Infotainment functions. Once connected to the Vespa Elettrica, your smartphone uses its dedicated App to function as an exceptional source of useful information about the state of the vehicle. One of them uses the Vespa Elettrica GPS/GSM geo-localisation module, which is therefore always remotely localisable.
Vespa Elettrica is also available in the X version, with a range of up to 200 km (124 miles) thanks to its petrol driven generator that, depending on riding style, saves battery charge. 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 (31 miles). The generator adds another 150 km (93 miles) to the range, bringing it up to 200 km (124 miles), a figure that also makes Vespa Elettrica suitable for out of town riding.
The generator kicks in automatically, when the battery charge level falls below a certain threshold or can be manually entered by the rider selecting Extender mode.
Vespa Elettrica maintains is designed with the same unmistakable lines that have made Vespa a worldwide icon of style and elegance and have won the hearts of entire generations of young people. The body shapes, strictly in steel as in the Vespa tradition, are emphasised by an exclusive dedicated livery: Vespa Elettrica comes in a special chrome grey finish with metallic reflections, around which the customer can choose to tailor many distinctive details.
A further personal touch comes from the possibility of adding a special label to the leg shield back plate with your own name. Plus, in line with the concept of customised “total look”, there is a special Jet helmet exclusively for Vespa Elettrica, in the vehicle livery and finishes, all in the colour chosen by the customer. This helmet stands out not only for style but also technological content, integrating bluetooth earphones to use the smartphone and listen to music through the Vespa Multimedia Platform.
The new front headlight with LED technology and a revised rear light give a distinct and distinct personality to Vespa Elettrica, which adopts generous 12″ front and 11″ rear aluminum alloy rims. A seat made of a new material provides greater comfort for rider and passenger and better ergonomics. The remote control key integrates the Bike Finder functions (remote direction indicators) and the opening of the seat compartment, while the inside of the compartment in the leg shield back plate contains a USB socket for charging smartphones or other mobile devices.
all images courtesy of Piaggio