Vespa Goes Electric
PONTEDERA, Italy – The iconic Vespa scooter gets electrified. This month Piaggio Group (owner of Aprilia, Derbi, Gilera, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio and Vespa) starts series production of the ‘Vespa Elettrica’. Sales (online only) starts in October at a dedicated webshop.
Next to the Vespa e-scooter Europe’s largest scooter and motorcycle manufacturer is also working on an innovative transport robot named ‘Gita’ which is being developed by Piaggio’s subsidiary Fast Forward (PFF).
Launch at EICMA 2018
While the first prototype of a purely electrically powered Vespa was presented at last year’s EICMA two-wheeler show, the first series-produced Vespa Elettrica will be in the spotlights at EICMA 2018 (taking place from 6 to 11 November in Milan). Before the EICMA show starts the first Vespa e-scooters will gradually roll into the market from the end of October “To reach full marketing in November to coincide with the 2018 Milan EICMA show”.
Production and sales
The long-awaited e-version of “The most famous and popular scooter in the world” is being produced at Piaggio’s Pontedera plant. Here the very first Vespa was built in 1946. According to Piaggio today’s Pontedera plant is “One of the world’s largest technology leaders in design, development and production of advanced mobility solutions.”
Sale of the Vespa Elettrica will start in Europe and in 2019 expanded to the Americas and Asia. The 5 hps Vespa is fitted with a lithium-ion battery allowing for a range of about 100 kilometers. Recharging the battery takes about 4 hours.
Gita transport robot
Piaggio claims that its Vespa Elettrica is only the company’s first step towards “A new richness of interconnection between vehicles and human operators.” With that the scooter and motorcycle maker points to transport solutions that are currently being developed by its subsidiary PFF, for example with its Gita robot. These solutions are to offer artificial intelligence which “Are both adaptive and responsive to all human input. They will be aware of people and other vehicles operating in the vicinity, extend the operator’s ability to sense potential perils and opportunities, and provide real-time mapping and traffic data that contributes to improving the design of urban infrastructures in cities.” In other words, Vespa Elettrica stands for mobility in combination with advanced connectivity, personalization and accessibility.
The Vespa Elettrica launch coincides with a very successful period for the Vespa brand. In the last decade some 1.5 million Vespa’s have been sold while Piaggio also claims that during the first half of 2018 sales grew again with some 10 percent.