Elettrica scooters are steadily increasing in numbers, predominately from smaller manufacturers, and now with Vespa having entered the game with the Elettrica it’ll be interesting to see how the market expands.
Before we start, it’s important to state early on that the model I tested was in fact the L1. This is the smallest powered Elettrica model, being comparative to a 50cc and only being able to reach 30mph, so try not to confuse this with more powerful versions.
Sticking to that typical Vespa winning formula of style and usability, the Elettrica utilises the popular Primavera as a base and is set to provide you with that ‘something’ only Vespa can truly offer. With LED lighting and futuristic colourway options, the Elettrica pulls off that vintage yet ultra-modern look extremely well. And all in all, that is just what you’d expect – it looks great and is full of that irresistible charm.
Dash & Switch Gear
The 4.3” TFT screen is just one of the familiar Vespa features on the Elettrica (which can also be found on other models including the GTS Supertech). Power modes are displayed on the screen and easily navigated via use of the map button where a couple of presses can have you easily switch between power modes – eco, power and reverse. Being Bluetooth enabled, with the connectivity coming through the official Vespa app (available on IOS and Android), you have the option to get your smartphone linked to the screen. You can then control a host of typical features, from seeing messages and taking calls, to controlling your music playlists or entering your next GPS location. However, because of mix success with the app, we’d recommend connecting your phone to a model before purchasing.
The switchgear is pretty much like any other modern Vespa, nice, simple, and stylish. With regards to the controls, nothing was alarming, and all felt good quality.
Brakes, Suspension & Comfort
A 200mm front disc brake and rear drum won’t initially scream halting power, but they do bring you to a nice halt, and on this little scooter it’s more than enough! That old school back drum brake is especially good at reducing speed quickly – but again this scooter is comparable to a 50cc moped, so it doesn’t require too much braking force. As with most Electric scooters, the Elettrica utilises KERS to generate a bit of juice for those batteries when braking.
Suspension and those small wheels mean it shares the same characteristics here as other modern small capacity Vespas. The Elettrica is designed purely for busy urban areas and will handle these roads well, just like a scooter should, but be aware that as soon as you hit more uneven roads, you will really begin to feel it.
Vespa have been designing and building scooters for years now, and with the Elettrica (basically being an electric version of the Primavera), you know it’ll offer the same levels of comfort and quality, so you won’t be disappointed!
Motor & Batteries
Packed with a 3.5kw motor, which can peak at 4kw, and accompanied with an LG Chem 4.2kWh battery, this scooter will peak at around 30mph, travel a distance of about 50 miles on power mode (30 mph top speed) and 62 miles on eco (18mph top speed) – all from a full charge.
This silver beauty will take a minimum of 4 hours to charge from a 220v power supply. Downside is there are no removal batteries, so tucked away under the seat is a twist removable cap which provides access to the charging lead with a UK 3-pin plug. So in order to charge the Elettrica, you'll need a nice and accessible plug socket which you can park next to. In addition to this, there is a little red marker on this lead which tells you not to stretch it any further past this point.
Vespa state that the Elettrica is silent in both Eco and Power modes, although when riding you do still get that typical electric motor whine, but apart from that, it is a very quiet scooter.
On the Road
When pulling away, the Elettrica makes you feel instantly at home. Even though this is their first electric scooter, you still very much get that quintessential Vespa feeling. With that nice, comfy neutral seating position, classy switch gear and retro styling – you couldn’t mistake it for anything else.
Riding the L1 meant my test of the Elettrica was restricted to urban areas which didn’t exceed 40mph – anything above this would have instantly made the L1 feel out of place. It’s a small but still very agile machine, considering those batteries increase its weight to 130kg, provides you with a quick and easy ride through busy towns and cities - all while being extremely economical!
The L1 has two normal riding modes, Eco which will allow you to cover just over 60 miles with a top speed of 18mph, or Power which maxes out at around 30mph with a shortened range of 50 miles. This little scooter also has a reverse mode which can be easily selected and put to use if wished.
The sticking point on the road of this scooter is the 30mph top speed. With the L3 variant, offering a top speed of 45mph for a mere extra of £295, it does make you wonder who’d buy the L1 over the L3? If wanting an Elettrica, you’d think anyone over the age of 17 would spend that little extra on the L3.
I don’t think the Elettrica offers anything truly ground-breaking, but what Vespa do offer is a very solid and stylish electric scooter which performs its duties perfectly. At the end of the day, you are buying from a renowned manufacturer, so the Elettrica is considered a more premium scooter, but it definitely has that true Vespa styling and heritage like no other!
Overall, I enjoyed my time on the Elettrica, it did everything I wanted and expected for the capacity machine it is. There is no denying that it looks fantastic! Vespa have done a really great job with the styling and colourway options available. The motor and electrics worked perfectly, and this is confidence inspiring. We’ve had the odd blip with some electric models in the past, from other manufacturers, but the Elettrica worked great and didn’t give us any silly moments! From a charging perspective it is a shame the batteries are not removable, as not everyone will have an accessible plug socket to park the Elettrica next too.
It was light, agile, and great fun to ride around town and zip down smaller streets, all within the comfortable confines of slower speed limits. For a scooter comparable to a 50cc, I really couldn’t fault the Elettrica's performance. Personally, I would look to buy the faster L3 variant, even with that little difference in cost, just to gain that extra bit of speed.
To finish, there are two main points for the L1 which will make or break it for perspective owners, the already mentioned (several times) top speed of 30mph and the cost. The Elettrica can be purchased, after the use of a UK grant, for around £4999. There is no denying this cements the Elettrica as a premium option, and not everyone is going to have the budget for such a vehicle. But while the restraints of price and performance might put some people off, there will be others more than happy to get a taste of Vespa’s first full electric scooter - it is after all a great little scooter, that does the job perfectly while looking absolutely stunning.