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Petrol-driven Piaggio unveils Vespa Elettrica

Vespa Elettrica. Source: Piaggio

Italy’s favourite scooter will be given an electric shock in 2017, in the form of the Vespa Elettrica

The iconic Vespa scooter is going all-electric.

In a sign that even the notoriously petrol-headed Italians may be looking to greener alternatives, Piaggio Group has unveiled an electric version of its ubiquitous two-wheeled Vespa. The announcement was made ahead of the 2016 EICMA (Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo Motociclo e Accessori) trade show, held in Milan.

Although currently only a concept, the Vespa Elettrica project does show promise. In Piaggio’s flowery words, it also “confirms the Group’s commitment, not only to people mobility, but to a desire to change the way in which people move.”

The statement promises “the style, agility, ease of use and riding pleasure will be the same as the Vespa we have always known, with the addition of technological and innovative connectivity solutions.” Exactly what these solutions will be remains unclear, but many have suggested that some kind of connectivity, control or tracking via a smart phone may be on the cards.

Production and sale of the Elettrica is set to begin during the second half 2017. Yet that may be an ambitious target, given that the company is still “assessing the most advanced players in the sector…to develop innovative technological electric motor solutions together.” In other words – a motor supplier has not yet been confirmed.

The Group will also have its work cut out in ensuring the Elettrica is competitive. Companies such as Gogoro have already rolled out fairly successful electric scooter models with persuasive specs for the average urban user.

Piaggio will also have to find a battery which can offer a sizable range, if the scooter is to compete with its electric rivals, or indeed its ICE-based siblings.

If these issues are addressed, the addition of another iconic brand to the EV stable can only be a good thing. But the devil of the concept is in the details – and thus far we have not seen many.


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