Vespa, or “wasp” in Italian, made its way into the world as a means by which to get around the pockmarked streets of Rome following the World World 2 allied bombardment of the Axis member country under fascist Mussolini. From that storied beginning, Vespa has made its way into popular culture all over the world, and the company announced today that it would make a further leap into the future with its first all-electric offering.
This all-electric Vespa is beautiful but won’t come cheap
Unfortunately, Piaggio, the parent company of Vespa, didn’t give us much beyond the promise of an all-electric scooter and mid-resolution concept photo to go on with the company’s announcement that in the near future you could be driving an all-electric version of the world’s most iconic scooter. The announcement was made on Wednesday a couple of days ahead of the Esposizione Internazionale Ciclo e Motociclo (EICMA), better known as the Milan Motorcycle Show.
While the announcement of its first all-electric offering is welcome and the bike in the photo beautiful, Piaggio offered no release date, specs or pricing information today. The company did, however, give us a name and promised to provide more information about the Vespa Elettrica once the Milan Motorcycle Show kicks off in earnest.
If the concept photo is any indication of what the final product will bring we are all in for a treat, and I expect to see dozens of overpriced Electrical the next time I visit a major city once the company begins their manufacture. The all-metal body, rather than the steel most commonly used for internal combustion engine models, looks lovely as it stands in contrast to its electric blue accents.
Piaggio and Vespa appear to be committed to offering a “connected scooter” and offering “technological and innovative connectivity solutions.” This will presumably mean an accompanying smartphone app to accomplish this promise.
Vespa’s old, all-electric scooters have been around awhile
Vespa has sold nearly 15 million scooters since they took to the bombed out streets of Italy in 1946. This began with the decision to get out of the aeronautics industry by Enrico Piaggio following the severe restrictions placed on Italian aviation following World War 2 while he also acknowledged a need for a two-wheeled conveyance to maneuver through roads left scarred by allied bombing.
The Vespa quickly became a style iconic perhaps owning most to Gregory Peck maneuvering a side-saddle Audrey Hepburn through Rome in the film “Roman Holiday.” It’s estimated that that romantic comedy, released in 1953, may have been responsible for 100,000 units being driving out of dealerships.
Vespa, since that film, has always had a romantic cult following that was perhaps made a bit edgy with the Mod movement in 1960’s Britain, where Vespa enjoys its largest market outside of its Italian birthplace.
While the mods may have briefly made the Vespa a bit menacing, the Vespa has returned to its place as a sign of romanticism, carefree living, practicality and for those that will pay for the emblematic badge, wealth.
While it’s great to see Vespa stepping into the future, the styling of the Elettrica while quite modern still has at least one foot rooted in its stylish and iconic past.
We look forward to hearing more later this week and sharing with you what we have learned.