The environmental impact of motor vehicles is arguably more the concern of gas guzzling 4-wheelers rather than nippy little commuter scooters. However the powered-two-wheel market gets an equal bashing from the Eurocrats about emissions and fuel consumption, so the manufacturers do their bit to make life greener and better for all.
Here then is the latest concept Vespa scooter, it being powered by a new electric motor developed by Piaggio.
The new Vespa Elettrica is based on the current Primavera model, finished in beautiful polished bare metal. The electric blue features suit it perfectly of course.
Piaggio have not yet revealed any specifications of their proposed electric Vespa, but did say, “Because of the excellence of this project, the Piaggio Group is assessing the most advanced players in the sector on a global level to develop innovative technological electric motor solutions together.This concept will be translated into the final version of the Vespa Elettrica, for which production and sales are planned for the second half of 2017.”
One True Vespa
The press release continued, “The Vespa Elettrica will, first and foremost, be a true Vespa, bringing the very latest in electric technology to a vehicle that will retain all the features that have been vital to its success.”
Of course the problem of electric scooters has inherently been both the ability to charge them in an urban environment (not many inner city dwellings have garages with power points, especially tower blocks of flats and apartments), and the range of battery power. It is however an interesting chapter in scootering to keep an eye on…
Previous electric Vespas
It’s not the first time Piaggio have experimented with electric motors of course. In fact Piaggio were experimenting with hybrid power long before many of their rivals and certainly prior to the big green push we are witnessing in recent times…
Back in 1990 they presented the Vespa Bimodale at the Köln Motorcycle show, based on the geared Vespa 50N. This scooter had both a 2-stroke combustion engine and also an electric motor. The idea behind this concept was petrol power out on the open road and electric in the cities. The batteries were located under the left side panel, space usually occupied by the spare wheel, and the electric range of this experimental scooter was apparently 15 kilometres.
Nothing ever came of this Vespa, although Piaggio continued development of this concept for a few years with the Sfera scooter soon after, and later on the Zip & Zip scooter was put into limited production.
Incidentally, 1991 also saw the launch of an all-electric Vespa Ape 3-wheeler too, for a limited time at least.
Vespa LX HYS
In 2006, Piaggio revisited the hybrid concept, this time with the automatic Vespa LX 4-stroke 50 model. Again the concept was that the rider could swap between the two modes of power depending on their location, the petrol engine charging the batteries for later use. The batteries were stored under the seat (the top box added to compensate the rider for lost storage space) and the electric range apparently increased to 20 kilometres.