The Elettrica now has greater top speed and four-hour recharge

Piaggio is committed to the progression of EV scooters, and the Group proved it yet again at 2019 EICMA with its Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H model. As the devilishly clever name suggests, the top speed has been raised to a more useful max for increased utility as an around-town commuter/grocery-getter. The range increase pairs well with the beefed-up output and higher speed to complete the improved drive package, and of course, it comes clad in that timeless Vespa body style that evokes images of the machines that once mobilized a post-war Italy.

  • 2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Top Speed:
    45 mph
  • Price:
    7499
  • Price:

2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H Design

  • Primavera design
  • Classic “necktie” graphic
  • Cyclops headlight
  • Full footboards
  • 4.3-inch color TFT display
  • 31-inch seat height
  • Single full-face helmet storage
2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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The wasp-like rear profile that earned the original Vespa its nickname is in full effect, and it probably makes the most definite connection to the old-school machines.

The Elettrica 70 KM/H carries itself in much the same way as its slower sibling with plenty of that classic Vespa panache that has evolved over the last half-century and more. It starts out with the classic “necktie” graphic that bifurcates the face of the leg shield with an equally timeless cyclops headlight set within the handlebar fairing. Recessed turn signals make the front end look clean and finished, and the only other adornment up front is the tasteful scripted Vespa moniker and the Piaggio shield.

In profile, the legguard displays a graceful boomerang that splits the air ahead of your stems with a full footboard that leaves room to adjust your foot position under way for greater comfort. The non-skid tread continues from the footwell up over the flat top of the low tunnel that interrupts the step-through but leaves open the option of using the old ’tween-feet cargo technique.

A small glove box and USB charger keep your devices safe, dry and topped off. All of the instrumentation is packed into the 4.3-inch color TFT display that reacts to changes in ambient light automatically so you have one less thing with which to fiddle under way.

Naturally, the Elettrica comes with wireless connectivity through the Vespa Mia system so you can network your smartphone and your scooter together. Sure, that’s cool for piping in your tunes and handling communications, but if your ride ever decides to grow legs (get stolen) while you’re not in attendance, the GPS function will bring you right back to it.

A heavily sculpted saddle rides at 31.1 inches off the deck and extends into a bench for a passenger or some open air cargo stowage. The saddle covers the usual hidey-hole in the seat column that’s rather compact to accommodate the Elettrica’s narrow build so it will only hold one full-face helmet or an equivalent volume of whatever.

A large chrome J.C. handle can serve as an anchor for a passenger or a bungee net. Left alone it makes for a nice bit of bling to dress up the rear end above the LED taillight and recessed rear turn signals. As ever, the wasp-like rear profile that earned the original Vespa its nickname is in full effect, and it probably makes the most definite connection to the old-school machines.

2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H Chassis

  • Monocoque structure
  • “Small-wheel” design
  • Aircraft landing-gear type front end
  • 140 mm mechanical rear drum brake
  • Rear adjustable preload
2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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The entirety of the structure is based on the stressed-skin, or monocoque method that's borrowed from the Primavera line.

Since there’s no underframe at work on the Elettrica 70 KM/H, the entirety of the structure is based on the stressed-skin, or monocoque method that’s borrowed from the Primavera line. Metal sheet goods make up the body with welded reinforcements in the stressed areas for extra strength without sacrificing weight.

It’s a “small-wheel” design, so the die-cast aluminum wheels run a 12-incher ahead of an 11-incher with a 110/70 and 120/70, respectively. As for the suspension, Vespa kept it old-school with its one-sided, aircraft landing-gear type front end that relies on a coil-over shock and trailing link to articulate for the rear wheel and soak up the bumps.

Also straight out of the history books is the 140 mm mechanical drum brake that slows the rear wheel, but it works with a regenerative-braking mechanism for an interesting blend of the old and the new. A swing-mount drive unit serves as the swingarm ’cause it’s a scooter, and there’s an adjustable preload feature on the rear monoshock as the only ride-quality tweak to be found.

Front tire: 110/70 - 12”
Rear tire: 120/70 - 11”
Front brake: Ø 200 mm disc
Rear brake: Ø140 mm drum

2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H Drivetrain

  • 3.6 kW continuous power
  • 4.0 kW maximum power
  • Eco mode for limited top speed
  • 147.5 pound-feet of torque
  • 4.2-kWh lithium-ion battery
  • Four-hour recharge at 220 V
  • Slow-speed reverse feature
2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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All of the above is more or less exactly what the original Elettrica brings to the table, but in the drivetrain we finally get to the onion. The Power Unit delivers 3.6 kW continuously with a 4.0 kW burst capability. You can set it to “Eco” mode to limit the top speed to 18 mph and deliver a 60-mile range, or bump up the speed to 45 mph with a 45 mile range with the “Power” setting.

As soon as you crack the “throttle,” all 147.5 pound-feet of torque are available, so you better be hangin' on 'cause this thing comes out of the hole like a scalded dog.

A 4.2-kWh lithium-ion battery stores the power and can be fully charged in four hours. The Italians say you can charge it from a wall outlet, but our standard outlet is 110 V while theirs is 220 V, so keep that in mind when considering the convenience of charging.

That said, the range and short charge time make it viable as an urban commuter. As a nice little bit of lagniappe, it comes with a slow-speed reverse feature so you don’t necessarily have to plan ahead as part of your parking strategy. A direct-drive with a 15-to-1 reduction sends silent power to the rear wheel, and the Elettrica delivers the expected twist-and-go operation to which scooter riders are accustomed.

Power unit: Piaggio Group
Continuous power: 4.8 hp (3.6 kW)
Maximum power: 5.4 (4 kW)
Motor torque: 147.5 lb-ft (200 Nm) at the wheel
Battery voltage: 48 v
Battery capacity: 86 Ah
Battery energy: 4.2 kW/h
Cell: LG Chem
Recharge time: 4 h (minimum recharge time with 220 v power )
Battery life: 1,000 cycles (residual capacity 80%)
Battery weight: 25 kg
Energy recovery: Yes
Maximum Range: 62 miles (100 km)

2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H Pricing

2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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MSRP is $7.5k for the Elettrica 70 KM/H, which puts it near the top of the EV scooter range.

Not one to use price as a selling point, Vespa asks $7,499 for a 2020 Elettrica. This sticker puts it near the top of the EV scooter range.

Color: Verde Boreale, Giallo Lampo, Nero Profondo, Cromo, Grigio Fumo
Price: $7,499

2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H Competitors

2017 - 2019 BMW C Evolution
- image 759532
2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H
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It’s still a narrow field – the electric scooter commuters – but since Vespa is clamoring for mainstream commuter acceptance with its Elettrica 70 KM/H, it would be fair to see how it stacks up against a machine without the same historical design constraints. With that in mind, I grabbed the C Evolution from BMW Motorrad for my head to head.

BMW C Evolution

2017 - 2019 BMW C Evolution
- image 759504

Beemer goes about the C Evolution’s design with the usual efficiency, and it’s clear that the Germans aren’t going for any sort of classic look. The BMW is kinda chunky, less-than-graceful looking, and very good at what it does. You’ll have to throw that leg higher to mount the BMW as the step-through is all but completely blocked, but the C Evolution rides on an underframe rather than relying on a monocoque structure.

Beemer runs a 35 kW motor that puts out a relatively paltry 53 pound-feet of torque compared to the almost 150 pounds o’ grunt the Vespa delivers. As for range, the BMW has a max riding distance of 99 miles per charge and an 80 mph top speed, though obviously not at the same time.

I’m sure it’s nice to have that kind of speed at hand, but I’m equally sure that the range-per-charge takes a nosedive at that speed, so it’s a trade off in the end. Traction control comes stock on the German machine, and the ultimate trade off is found at the checkout in the $13,995 sticker that’s almost double the Vespa’s MSRP.

Read our full review of the BMW C Evolution.

He Said

“EV scoots seem like they’re coming along, and I expect one more generational jump like this one will be all it takes to make the Elettrica truly viable as a get-around-towner. As it is, you’ll have to carefully plan your trips or be prepared to beg some power so you can make it home. Oh, and if you have to hit the highway, you should probably look to a smokerbike for the time being.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Range anxiety is a thing or with only a 60-mile range to work with, this sounds like an urban commuter or suburban if your trip doesn’t include the highway. Still range and recharge times are getting better and every year, EV two-wheelers are becoming more and more viable."

"I certainly wouldn't object to adding a 220V outlet to recharge an electric vehicle. We do it for big household appliances. Why not the scooter?”

2020 Vespa Elettrica 70 KM/H Specifications

Motor & Battery:
Power unit: Piaggio Group
Continuous power: 4.8 hp (3.6 kW)
Maximum power: 5.4 (4 kW)
Motor torque: 147.5 lb-ft (200 Nm) at the wheel
Battery voltage: 48 v
Battery capacity: 86 Ah
Battery energy: 4.2 kW/h
Cell: LG Chem
Recharge time: 4 h (minimum recharge time with 220 v power )
Battery life: 1,000 cycles (residual capacity 80%)
Battery weight: 25 kg
Energy recovery: Yes
Maximum Range: 62 miles (100 km)
Chassis:
Front tire: 110/70 - 12”
Rear tire: 120/70 - 11”
Front brake: Ø 200 mm disc
Rear brake: Ø140 mm drum
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 1,350 mm
Length: 1,870 mm
Width: 735 mm
Height: 1,150 mm
Saddle height: 790 mm
Weight (with battery): 130 kg
Details:
Color: Verde Boreale, Giallo Lampo, Nero Profondo, Cromo, Grigio Fumo
Price: $7,499

Further Reading

Vespa

ALLYN IMAGES: DO NOT DELETE
- image 806594

Read more Vespa news.

TJ Hinton
T.J got an early start from his father and other family members who owned and rode motorcycles, and by helping with various mechanical repairs throughout childhood. That planted a seed that grew into a well-rounded appreciation of all things mechanical, and eventually, into a formal education of same. Though primarily a Harley rider, he has an appreciation for all sorts of bikes and doesn't discriminate against any particular brand or region of origin. He currently holds an Associate's degree in applied mechanical science from his time at the M.M.I.  Read More
About the author

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: vespa.com, bmwmotorcycles.com

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