2022 Vespa Elettrica - Performance, Price, and Photos
Sophisticated electronics in a classic-styled EV packageby TJ Hinton, on LISTEN 08:55
The Vespa Elettrica hits both important high points of being an electric scooter and still making a classic presentation. The timeless Italian design looks much like the rest of Vespa’s current lineup, but under the skin, the battery and electric motor deliver the goods and push EV scooters into the realm of viability.
2022 Vespa Elettrica - Performance, Price, and Photos
2022 Vespa Elettrica Performance and Capability
Naturally, the real magic in this charming little scooter that is the Elettrica lies in the drivetrain. You can run the four kW electric motor in two different power modes — Power or Eco — each with its own power-drain rate and performance profile.
“Eco” limits top speed to around 18 mph, and it’s in this relatively useless mode that you’ll see the 62-mile (100 km) range. Turn this electric Vespa on “Power” and unleash a whopping 147.5 pound-feet of torque and an Elettrica top speed of 32 mph.
A 4.2-kWh lithium-ion battery stores the electrical power. According to the factory, the battery lasts at least ten years and/or 1,000 charging cycles with a guaranteed maximum range of at least 60,000 miles.
If you have access to 220-Volt power, you can plug right up and slam a charge from empty to full in just four hours through the onboard charger. With that kind of recharge wait, the Elettrica is clearly geared toward an urban market.
Speaking of gears, there ain’t any, not in the traditional sense anyway. The 15-to-1 reduction direct drive delivers silent power to the 11-inch rear wheel. Oh, and because it’s electric, it was easy to bless it with a reverse function that won’t diminish the forward performance.
While it’s unsure if it will make it to our shores, I want to give an honorable mention to the Elettrica “X” that mounts a small ICE generator to make it a true hybrid with four times the effective range on a single charge and three-quart fuel load. The engine will fire up automatically in response to battery status, or you can switch it to “extender mode” to run the generator nonstop.
|Motor:||3.5 kW (4 kW peak) electric Piaggio brushless motor with KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System)|
|Battery:||Piaggio 4.2-kWh lithium battery, LG Chem cells, built-in battery charger, 48 V 86 Ah|
|Torque:||147.5 lb-ft (200 Nm)|
When it comes to deep roots within the scooter world, it’s hard to beat Piaggio’s Vespa family. The Elettrica’s visage is straight out of post-war Italy with a mug that first saw the light of day in 1946.
An aircraft landing-gear system acts as the front suspension to leave the right side of the wheel completely unobstructed and start that old-school look going right out of the gate. The legguard section is boomerang-shaped in profile, and on the face, you’ll find that classic “necktie” detail as the only adornment up front unless you count the recessed turn signals as such.
Up top, the handlebar fairing cleans up the control area and acts as a housing for the classic cyclops headlight and digital instrument panel. A 4.3-inch TFT screen takes care of all the instrumentation.
Through the miracle of Bluetooth wireless connectivity and the Vespa Mia system, the Elettrica will network with your smartphone. This allows you to answer calls, check messages, and pipe in your tunes, all on the fly and without removing your hands from the controls.
The display itself has four levels of brightness. An ambient-light sensor detects the available light and adjusts the screen automatically.
I think my favorite electronic geegaw here has to be the GPS function that comes with the App. You can always find your scooter with your smartphone whether you’re lost in a parking lot, or someone has relieved you of your two-wheeled pride and joy and you need to retrieve it from the ne’er-do-well.
A short tunnel interrupts the step-through, but the factory gives it a flat top complete with a non-skid finish to restore some of that lost ’tween-feet storage. The footwells are similarly treated.
The passenger area comes with the addition of a rubber block upon which they can hook their heels and be able to relax a little bit. A generous J.C. handle surrounds the rear of the bench seat like a chrome valence that doubles as a bungee net anchor to turn the wide pillion pad into another cargo area when you’re riding solo.
Toward the front, the saddle narrows down almost to a point to give your thighs a break when you deploy your Fred Flintstones. Under the seat is an abbreviated dry-storage area that will hold only a single full-face bucket due to encroachment by the onboard charger, which mounts its own pigtail so you can plug in just about anywhere.
Out back, a stylized taillight and recessed turn signals finish out the rearward lighting with a short mudguard extension/plate holder to round out the spray containment. All-in-all, the electric Elettrica is the quintessential “wasp.”
|Length:||73.6 in, (1,870 mm)|
|Width:||28.9 in (735 mm)|
|Seat Height:||31.1 in (790 mm)|
|Wheelbase:||53.1 in (1,350 mm)|
The monocoque structure for the Elettrica brought over from the Primavera is a stressed-skin monocoque assembly using the body panels for structure in lieu of any sort of underframe business. It’s nothing new for this marque, that’s for sure.
A 200 mm disc up front provides most of the stopping power with a regenerative-braking mechanism out back. When applied, the rear brake with its 140 mm drum slows the scooter while converting a portion of the kinetic energy back into electrical energy.
The swing-mount drive system replaces the internal combustion engine (ICE) with an electric motor that is, in turn, married to the transmission. The whole thing is a stressed unit with a single, coil-over shock to support and tame the rear. Another coil-over shock makes the trailing-link front end work, but it looks like the only adjustability is the preload, and that’s limited to the rear strut.
|Frame:||Sheet steel body w/ welded reinforcements|
|Front Suspension:||Single-arm coil-spring fork and hydraulic monoshock absorber|
|Rear Suspension:||Hydraulic monoshock absorber|
|Front Wheel:||Die-cast aluminum alloy 3.00 x 12“|
|Rear Wheel:||Die-cast aluminum alloy 3.00 x 11“|
|Front Tire:||Tubeless 110/70-12”|
|Rear tire:||Tubeless 120/70-11”|
|Front Brake:||Hydraulically operated, 200 mm stainless steel disc|
|Rear Brake:||Mechanically operated, 140 mm drum brake|
2022 Vespa Elettrica Price
The 2022 Vespa Elettrica costs $7,499. It comes in a colorway appropriately called Electric Blue. If you’re looking for a Vespa Elettrica for sale, they hit showrooms in back Spring 2019.
|Instrumentation:||4.3 inch color TFT w/ smartphone connectivity|
|Ride Modes:||Eco, Power (X: also Extender)|
|Color:||Azzurro Elettrico (Electric Blue)|
BMW C Evolution
Beemer has zero compunction about going for a modern design that is clearly driven more by function than form. The result is a modern-looking ride with little in common with the seventy-something-year-old Eye-tie design.
The step-through is all but blocked by the Beemer’s tunnel, so it’s not going to be quite as easy to mount as it has just a skirt-reservoir up front and little else. Like the Vespa, Beemer’s scoot has limited under-seat storage below the pillion with just enough room to stash a full-face helmet.
A hybrid underframe gives the “C” its structure, and like the Vespa, it rocks a single-side swingdrive. Unlike the Vespa, the C rocks a traction control system that has no peer on the Vespa side.
As for the motor itself, there is something of a compromise here. The Beemer runs a 35 kW motor producing 53 pound-feet of torque for a pretty big gap with the 147.5-pound Vespa plant. The range on the C is pretty good at 99 miles per charge, and that couples with the 80 mph top speed to make the C a more capable commuter than its Italian counterpart.
Of course, you pay for that capability with a $13,995 sticker. That is almost twice the price of the Vespa, so you’ll have to decide for yourself if the performance is worth the jump.
“Love it! I hope more manufacturers take this route— I know Ford has done something very similar with one of its old fastbacks, and it looks fabulous. As for the Elettrica, I think it’s just fine and dandy for what it is, but feel it’s a bit limited if you have very far to commute, or if your path takes you on the highway.”
My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “The torque number is scary for a scooter, but the power is manageable and the rider modes help keep you in your comfort zone. Reverse mode is nice when you want to get into or out of a parking slot, and seriously, the level of sophistication as far as smartphone/rider/scooter connectivity rivals some big, expensive bikes, so kudos at this price point.”
“In keeping with the target 50 cc scooter market, Vespa restricts the Elettrica to a 32 mph top speed. This is strictly an urban ride with no chance for the higher-speed arteries. In that light, the small range doesn’t seem to be a negative.”
Read more Vespa news.