Vespa electtrica

e-vespaI don’t often cover ‘The Wasp’ on here, but there is big news today out of Milan. At EICAMA (the Milan Motorcycle Show) today The Piaggio Group announced what the future may look like for Vespa… and it looks pretty much like the Vespas of the last 70 years (which is a good thing!). But it’s electric. Which, I also think is a good thing.

I know, I know, we all love our smelly old 2-strokes. But that ship sailed a long time ago, and electric is the future. And if you can balance style, performance, range and price you’re on to a winning formula. The Vespa Electtrica is has got the styling nailed –it’s  based on the successful current Primavera model.

To quote from the official Vespa site “Introducing the Vespa Elettrica project, the new mobility solution according to the most elegant and beloved two-wheeled brand in the world that takes a step into the future in complete consistency with the values that have accompanied its history.

The Vespa Elettrica will, first and foremost, be a true Vespa, bringing the very latest in electric technology to a vehicle that will retain all the features that have been vital to its success. The style, agility, ease of use and riding pleasure will be the same as the Vespa we have always known, with the addition of technological and innovative connectivity solutions. A perfect mix of excitement, technology and environmental friendliness that only Vespa can create. Like it has always done in its first seventy years of history.”

So not a lot of hard facts about performance, or range then. Or price – though, if on launch the government ‘plug-in’ grant offering a £1,500 rebate on the cost of electric scooters / bikes is still in effect, that will help, big time. They have got the styling sorted. If you like Vespas, of course : ).

It’s not the first time that Vespa has explored the world of electric vehicles, as The ScooterNova blog  points out. They are also where I first read about the Electric Vespa, so stay tuned to them for further updates. I’m sure ScooterLab and Scootering will be all over it too.

The official Vespa site is here.

 

Electric Swallow, update

Schwalbe_Pose.jpgHere’s the latest on the electric Schwalbe scooter that I posted about a few days ago. This time the information is straight from the horse mouth, so it’ll be a little more accurate!

Schwalbe makes an electrifying return GOVECS presents the classic scooter in a contemporary design and with electric drivetrain

The Munich-based company GOVECS has given the Schwalbe a new lease of life and in doing so is inspiring the entire industry. Together with technology partner Bosch, GOVECS has installed the world’s most advanced drivetrain in the Schwalbe, ensuring streets that are both clean and quiet.

The first version of the Schwalbe will sprint through the streets at up to 45kmh. Fully charged, it provides an impressive range of more than 100 km, and can already be reserved online.

It still has the typical features of a Schwalbe: the large tires, the ribbed tail section, the round headlights and the indicator lights on the handlebars, but has become even more striking. The Schwalbe has just treated itself to a modern outfit. The pioneering electric drivetrain, developed together with technology partner Bosch, is extremely dynamic and convinces with impressive acceleration.

The five-metre-long integrated cable with a plug that packs away neatly under the seat, means it is ready to be charged at any time. It can be charged via any normal household outlet. And you don’t have to wait long before you can whizz off again: after just one to two hours the battery is 80% charged again, and after four to five hours it’s fully charged.

Riders can also look forward to the accompanying service, because it promises to be as modern and innovative as the product itself. There will be a comprehensive on-site service. This means the service comes to the customer and not vice versa. Initially, the Schwalbe can be bought through the official online store. Reservations for the first deliveries in summer 2017 can now be made online at www.myschwalbe.com. In early 2017 the first Schwalbe Store in Berlin will open, followed by others in various European cities.

There’s colour reminds me of something… oh yeah, here we go 🙂minion_guitar

For those eagerly waiting for news of the forthcoming New Lambretta, the Lambretta Vendetta, word reaches me that it will NOT be launched at EICMA in November, but prepare for something pretty special at next years Lambretta 70th Anniversary Celebrations / Lambretta Jamboree in Italy.

Electric Swallow

The Simson Schwalbe (German for Swallow – the bird you smutty minded lot) was, for those that don’t know, a classic East German  scooter/moped. It followed the ‘enclosed motorcycle’ model with larger 16″ wheels than classic Italian scooter. Extremely popular in the DDR back in the day, it’s now the latest classic scooter to be re-invented as an electric ‘e-scooter’ – joining the likes of Cezeta and Lohner12895280-wyglada-jak-klasyczny-simson-schulbe-jednak-zamiast-silnika-spalinowego-napedza-go-prad-96s-1200

It’s been hard to come across hard and fast info about the new electric version of the Simson Schwalbe… but here’s what I’ve gleaned from various sources. Any errors are mine, due to my inability to read any language other than english, and the limitations of Google Translate. So, here’s what I know.

  1. It’s been in development since 2011.
  2. The guys behind it are Govecs – a German electric powered scooter manufacturer.
  3. There will be two models, roughly corresponding in power to 50 and 125cc 2-stroke engines.
  4. The expected cost is in the €4,000 range.

We should know more when the promised production model is revealed at the end of the month.

As yet, there’s no further information on a electric Lambretta, the electric Scomadi that was showcased at EICMA a few years ago, or an electric version of the forthcoming Lambretta Vendetta. But who knows what the future will bring.

If you’re interested in electric scooters, check out these posts on the Fido and the DonGo Bare Bones too.

UPDATE: Reader Fabian has done some reading for me, and there’s a little more history of the e-Schwalbe in the comments… Worth a read! (It’s the last yellow tag at the bottom of the post with “replies” in it if you can’t find the comments).

 

 

FIDO Update…

DSC_5285editIt was so long ago I originally wrote about the FIDO that it was on a previous blog… (and this blog’s been running since 2013). The ME electric scooter I posted earlier today reminded me of it so much I thought I’s check up on it… Well, it’s looking more like an early Lambretta than ever… which is a good thing! Full post coming soon, but for the moment, I’ll tempt you with some pics and a link to their website:  here.

Battery_Poster_MU3DSC_5280editBattery_Poster_MU2DSC_5269edit

No apologies for all this electric stuff. It’s the future! But, don’t worry, normal, 2 stroke service will be resumed ASAP!

 

ME Electric Scooter

ME - profilo dxAfter yesterday’s electric Mogan three-wheeler, and with continuing dire warnings of an impending 2Stroke ban, I thought I’d continue the theme with this funky little electric scooter.

scooterelettrico1Electric scooters are now pretty commonplace, but most are blandly generic, cheap and Chinese. It’s innovation that sets the ME electric scooter apart. Designed by a group of Italian engineers – it’s back to basic aesthetics are reminiscent of the early open-frame Lambrettas. Rather like the FIDO I featured a on my previous blog, and the Dutch Q scooter that was at EICMA in 2013. Constructed out of Sheet Moulding Compound, a sturdy composite material that offers structural support, the ME is a cost-effective, lightweight alternative to its metal counterparts.

the-me-italian-electric-scooter-gessato-9The ME is fitted with a lithium-ion battery, with a range of 80 km, fine for a daily commute (especially if you can plug it in when you get to work!) Its electric motor takes the scooter from zero to 45 km/h in six seconds.

Support the project by visiting the ME electric scooter’s crowdfunding page.

With the promise of ” A New Lambretta” in May… and all we know is the model name “L70” could we expect an electric Lambretta? To be honest, I doubt it. I think we’ll get a reworking of the LN, with a four-stroke engine in 125, 150 and maybe 200cc’s. But I’m only guessing, I haven’t heard anything!

Retro electro

ev3h2I loved the Morgan ThreeWheeler when it originally came out. I thought I’d written a post, but a quick search reveals that was one of my ‘imaginary posts’ (there’s a bunch of posts I’ve planned, started, and ultimately either abandoned or forgotten. I’ll stick one up about the ‘standard’ petrol powered 3 Wheeler at some point.ev3h6

So, forgoing my usual spiel about ‘it’s not a Lambretta, it’s not even a scooter, but I do like a microcar as well’ and jumping straight in… This is the future. And the past. All in one gloriously eccentric, old skool, retro-futuristic package. The Morgan EV3 looks like something from a 1930’s racetrack – or a 1950’s Sci-Fi movie – but being built from composite carbon panels with a Lithium battery and a digital dashboard it’s pure 21st Century Technology!ev3h1ev3h11ev3h14

This is the final pre-production car… and the performance stats look pretty impressive – a top speed of over 90mph and a range of over 150 miles… Morgan has looked at the world of zero emissions differently and asked ‘What if an all-electric vehicle was bespoke made, hand crafted and exhilarating to drive?’ The EV3 embraces new technology, delivers responsible driving excitement and continues to celebrate traditional British motor manufacturing – The carbon bonnet, tonneau cover and side pods are made in the UK, and much like the remaining aluminium panels, are (in tradional Morgan style)  hand worked over an ash wood frame.

ev3h5

The ‘face’ of the EV3 is designed to function. Brass conductive cooling fins encase the batteries and an off-centre tri-bar headlight adds to the overall asymmetry of the design. Bonkers, but beautiful. I love it. I really love it. Well done Morgan.

Find out more, and register your interest here.

And if it’s an electric Lambretta you want, check out this post. And this one.

The future (and the past) of classic scootering?

Enjoy riding your noisy, dirty, smelly 2stroke while you can ladies and gentlemen. It’s just a matter of time before classic scooters are consigned to “collections” and legislated out of existence… and we’ll all be sitting in our robot driven hydrogen fuel-celled Google cars… maybe. Or maybe the future is electric vehicles… we’ve already seen an Electric Lambretta… and a production scooter from a company with a heritage in classic scoots and electric vehicles is on the way. Albeit a heritage I had absolutely no idea about until yesterday.

First, a bit of history

lohner_125_h

Lohner was an Austrian company. G’day! No. Read it again. Austrian. Around 1900 they were producing electric cars… designed by a certain Ferdinand Porsche. Ahead of the curve there! After a rocky history, and  diversifying into many other vehicles such as trams and aircraft… like many companies in the early fifties tried to get in on the booming scooter market. The most well known of these scooters was the Lohner 125 (pictured above). I say it was well known… but it’s a scooter that’s new to me. To my eyes… despite following the germanic “roller” style of having the large enclosed front end incorporating the legshields and mudguard… I’ve seen uglier scooters. After merging with Rotax, who made the engines, they left scooter production behind and became involved in the production of agricultural, military and commercial vehicles. Eventually they were bought by Bombardier.

Now, the future?

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Well, the Lohner name, and scooter is back. From what I can gather from the website, members of the original Lohner family are still very much involved. And in looking to the future they looked to their company heritage for inspiration.  What they have come up with is a “new class vehicle”… the Lohner Stroler… a radical looking  e-biike  – and probably of more interest to readers of this blog, the Lohner LEA. The Roller LEA is a twenty-first century reincarnation of the 1950’s original L125-Roller. IMG_158960635 IMG_159260635 IMG_160317654 IMG_168117654 IMG_168717654

Pretty cool, huh? It’s got that retro thing going with a hint modern hot-rod aesthetic… while giving a big nod to their heritage. A tough trick to pull off, looking funky, modern and old school all at once.

The LEA will go into production in the spring, and is a available for pre-order right now.

Find out more, including full specifications on the website.

Cool electric concept from ’68

It seems that electric vehicles are finally becoming a reality… with even companies like BMW getting in on the act. There is, of course the eBretta (1st tenuous Lambretta link), the electric reincarnation of the Lambretta, being developed in Vietnam.tumblr_myglnt81RB1r8dlh9o1_1280

But this is not a new thing… Back in 1968 the US car firm, AMC, now long defunct produced this concept. With a top speed of 50mph, and a claimed range of 150 miles (remember, this was the 60’s) this looking like a viable city commuter vehicle. Perhaps if petrol (or gas, as our American cousin’s insist on calling it) had got more expensive stateside, and they’d managed to make the Nickel Cadmium and Lithium Nickel Fluoride batteries more affordable, we might have seen these go into production.amcelc02I love the whole retro futuristic vibe of these, and design wise, they remind me of the Bond Bug, with a bit of Bertone thrown in (2nd tenuous Lambretta link). They were actually designed by Dick Teague, who’s finest moment, in my book was the ‘hot wheels’ looking AMX-GT. How this never made it into full production is a mystery to me. I’d always assumed it had… maybe it’s the Hot Wheels effect made me think that!

800px-1968_AMC_AMX-GT_ShowCar_Type2QCars that did make it into production are the Pacer, you know the one with the huge, bulbous rear window… and a superfunky “compact” called the Gremlin, both clearly sharing some AMX-GT DNA.amc-gremlin-01

And, although as well as being a stunning piece of design, the Gremlin was purportedly a good, reliable, and inexpensive motor… but I can’t help thinking the marketing department could have come up with a name that didn’t suggest that it was full of faults. Anyway, it’s a shame the AMC brand, which seemed so innovative and forward looking didn’t achieve more sustained commercial success… but it was fighting a losing battle against the US “Big 3” of Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, as well as European and Japanese imports.

Find out more about AMC on the excellent and entertaining Musclehead blog, here.

This is one of my irregular “not a Lambretta” posts… normal service will be resumed soon 🙂