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Piaggio boosts the electric Vespa’s top speed… to a whopping 70 km/h (43 mph)

The Vespa Elettrica is the first electric scooter in the Vespa family. It debuted last year with an underwhelming 45 km/h (28 mph) top speed.

While seemingly odd for such a storied scooter company, the lower top speed kept the scooter homologated under the L1e class of electric scooters in Europe.

That advantage granted riders of the Vespa Elettrica the ability to operate the scooter with just a standard car driver’s license. But it also meant that the utility (and riding experience) of the Vespa Elettrica was a bit underwhelming.

Vespa Elettrica gets a top speed increase

Now Piaggio is announcing a new, faster version of the Vespa Elettrica at the EICMA 2019 Milan Motorcycle Show.

Unambiguously named the “Vespa Elettrica 70 km/h,” the new electric scooter model gets a 25 km/h (15.5 mph) speed boost.

Piaggio claims they have achieved this with optimizations to critical components of the powertrain. As part of that optimization, they managed to maintain the same range on a single charge when traveling at higher speeds, yet did so without increasing the capacity of the battery pack. Piaggio claims the Vespa Elettrica can travel up to 100 km (62 mi) in Eco mode or 70 km (43 mi) in Power mode.

According to Piaggio:

The battery retains the size and weight of the original version, but has been modified to deliver a higher continuous power output, something also assisted by improvements to the electric motor’s control software. These developments have made it possible to lengthen the final transmission ratio, providing a number of advantages: a higher speed, with the same performance in terms of acceleration and standing start, and also quieter operation, with a lower rpm at the same speed.

Otherwise, the Vespa Elettrica remains largely unchanged. It retains its 4 kW peak motor and 200 Nm torque, as well as its non-removable 4.2 kWh LG battery. Unlike most electric scooters in this size class, the Elettrica’s battery is too large to remove for charging. Instead, the Elettrica features a built-in charger and coiled charging cable that can be used to recharge the scooter in four hours.

Piaggio hasn’t mentioned the price of the Vespa Elettrica 70 km/h yet, but with the original version priced at around US $7,000, don’t expect the faster version to be cheap. For that price, you can get a similarly styled electric scooter that hits speeds of 100 km/h (62 mph).

Electrek’s Take

Alright, it’s a step in the right direction. I used to knock the Vespa Elettrica for traveling slower than a lot of electric bicycles.

While 45 km/h (28 mph) electric scooters can work in the city center, their utility is pushed to its limit as you reach the outskirts or enter more rural areas. And it’s true that 70 km/h (43 mph) is not an eye-watering top speed, but it’s a definite improvement over the previous version.

I’m just at a bit of a loss as to why Piaggio isn’t exploring faster speeds. A scooter that can compete with Kumpan’s 1954 Ri S model, which reaches 100 km/h (62 mph), could be a game changer for Piaggio.

But I guess it is one step at a time for the legacy scooter maker, and at least they are steps in the right direction.

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Avatar for Micah Toll Micah Toll

Micah Toll is a personal electric vehicle enthusiast, battery nerd and author of the Amazon #1 bestselling books DIY Lithium Batteries, DIY Solar Power and the Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide.

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