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We hit the streets of Berlin on the new Vespa Elettrica

© Volker Rost

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A clatter turns into a hum: The Vespa Elettrica is a chic electric scooter from Italy, and we took it for a test drive on the streets of Berlin. It shows that once again, even with coziness you can reach your destination.

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What is the Vespa Elettrica?

The Vespa Elettrica is the first pure electric scooter from the cult brand Piaggio. Technically the 130-kilogram scooter is based on the Vespa Primavera, only the engine and the cockpit were replaced. The electric motor transmits its power of up to 4 kW to the rear wheel via an oil-supported gearbox. The torque in normal operation is 6 nm. The 25-kilo battery has a capacity of 86.4 kW and is only used for propulsion. In shift mode, regenerative braking is possible.

A second, normal battery with 12V/4A is available for the power supply while standing. The small storage compartment in the front of the scooter has a USB port for mobile phone charging, in the large compartment under the seat there is space for a helmet. The scooter is unlocked as usual with a key, the radio remote control only has a built-in bike finder. The Vespa Mia app can be coupled with the scooter to read data, but has no other functions.

Up to 100 km range

The range with one battery charge depends on the mode you are driving in. If you limit yourself to a maximum speed of 30 km/h, Vespa gives a maximum range of 100 kilometers, at a maximum speed of 45 km/h it is 80 kilometers. However, this value always depends on many factors, such as the weight of the driver, gradients and the outside temperature. According to the manufacturer, 180 stops in stop-and-go traffic results in a ten percent reduction in range. Once the battery is empty, recharging from 0 to 80 percent takes three hours, and it is completely full after four hours. The battery cannot be removed, the charging cable is located under the seat and is firmly connected to the scooter.

Classic Vespa looks with new technology. / © Volker Rost

The whole package comes at a price, of course. The Vespa Elettrica costs a proud 6,390 euros in Europe, which is considerably more than many electric scooters from new companies such as Unu or Niu. For the money, you could also cover many, many kilometers on a rental scooter from Coup or Emmy without having to worry about maintenance, recharging and other things.

How fast is the Vespa Elettrica?

Already after a few meters on this thing, one notices that Vespa scooters have been around for a long time and the manufacturer knows what it is doing. The Primavera base is proven and mature, the chassis stable, the brakes handy and safe. The workmanship is excellent, the operating elements are well thought-out.

With one button you can switch through the three driving modes: Eco up to 30 km/h, the normal mode up to 45 km/h and the reverse gear at walking pace, which is accompanied by a loud beep. The display is easy to read at all times and all information is always in view. The bar on the left informs you how energy-saving you are being at a given moment.

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This is the cockpit of the Vespa Elettrica. / © NextPit

The engine works very evenly, even if rather leisurely. There are e-rollers that accelerate faster than the Vespa Elettrica. The power comes with a short delay when you turn the throttle grip. This is a bit unusual in the first few minutes, but then you quickly get used to it. After a few minutes, the Vespa Elettrica doesn't seem so sluggish anymore, the performance fits the solid driving feeling, and let's be honest: a Vespa with a top speed of 45 km/h is not a racing machine.

The steering is very precise and the scooter is more agile than expected. The Vespa Elettrica is really fun to drive around bends, and the e-scooter always reacts predictably and reliably, even at a greater angle.

The Vespa Elettrica has a great chassis. / © Volker Rost

What's good about the Vespa Elettrica?

Apart from the workmanship, the chassis of the Vespa Elettrica is particularly appealing. The scooter has a sovereign road holding and can take every bend and every route through city traffic without any problems. You have to like the rather quiet pace, the even performance of the engine and the smoothness of the ride is very good.

The range of 100 kilometers, if confirmed in a real test of the Vespa Elettrica, is more than sufficient for city traffic and short trips into the surrounding countryside, and that is exactly what the electric Vespa is designed for. The charging time of four hours, which also has to prove itself in everyday life, is absolutely okay.

What's not good about the Vespa Elettrica?

The Vespa Elettrica is neither particularly fast nor dynamic in performance from my test. its comfortable stride fits the vehicle quite well, but a little more steam and a few km/h more would be desirable. In principle, 45 km/h is sufficient in city traffic, but it ensures that you can't ride freely on routes with lots of traffic lights - which are set up for 50 km/h.

The color accents are available in blue, yellow and black. / © Volker Rost

Much more of a problem than the acceleration and the speed, however, is the fact that the batteries cannot be removed for charging. The Vespa Elettrica is explicitly intended for the city, but those who are neither have a garage at home nor at work with an electrical connection must always look around for a good place to stand and charge it for a few hours. In addition, the charging cable is quite short.

Conclusion on the Vespa Elettrica

During my test drive through Berlin the Vespa Elettrica was fun. You can see that this scooter has everything you need when it comes to driving feel and operation. You just can't be in too much of a hurry. And the price of 6,390 euros still seems a little too high.

The Vespa Elettrica is quite expensive for an electric scooter. / © Volker Rost

Would such a Vespa with electric motor be something for you?

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