EV’s in E17

P1210966I got down to the Retrospective Scooters open day at their workshop/showroom in Walthamstow – London E17. The event was well attended with some nice Vespas, Lambrettas and even a Heinkel Trojan in attendance.

P1210955The theme of the day was ‘beating the (forthcoming) Ultra Low Emission Zone’ and there were lots of Electric scooters on display, both from the world leader in electric scooters, NUI, and with a couple of classic demonstrators – a Vespa and a Lambretta, both converted by Retrospective to run clean and green on electricity.

P1210956Both machines look very assured, and ‘sit’ like the classic scooters they are. Retrospective had a range of Royal Alloy scooters in attendance too… a modern auto clearly modelled on the classic GP (by way of the Scomadi of course), but The Electric GP next to them looked just like any other classic Lammy.

 

So what does an electric Lambretta ride like? Full disclosure, I didn’t ride one myself, but I spoke to a couple of people who did. The overall impression of everybody I spoke to was overwhelmingly positive. Everyone that rode one dismounted with a massive smile on their face. I was told that power comes on extremely smoothly, acceleration is fantastic and the whole ride feels very ‘natural’. From a bystanders point of view, it’s bizarre to see a Lambretta startup, move off, and accelerate away all without any noise, smoke or smell. Some might think these are key elements of the whole Lambretta experience – but I’ve seen the future, and it doesn’t smell of 2stroke! There is something really weird about a Lambretta zooming past you in almost complete silence – all you can hear is the noise of the tyres on the road. One issue that as a rider you’ll have to be even more aware than ever of pedestrians stepping out in front of you – as they won’t hear you coming! Retrospective are investigating including a noise generator as part of the conversion.

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There is going to be a huge majority of Lambretta owners who will always prefer the traditional 2-stroke powered internal combustion engine of the classic Lambretta. And while the ‘nostalgic side of me sympathises, and agrees, I can see the way the world is changing. There are more and more places where we won’t be allowed to ride a traditionally powered scooter. Or, if we are, we’re going to have to pay handsomely for the privilege. An electric conversion for your Lambretta (or Vespa) isn’t exactly a cheap option, but I for one have started saving up!

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Retrospective Scooters Open Day

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Beat the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) – Go ELECTRIC!

If you’re in London this weekend, get yourself down to our Retrospective Scooters workshop/showroom in Walthamstow for their open day.  The focus of the day is the forthcoming London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and how you can get around paying the £12.50 a day that you’ll get charged for riding your nasty dirty old ‘non-compliant’ scooter. One of the options is to convert your classic Lambretta (or Vespa) to an electric one – I featured the kit in a post, here, a little while ago. They’ll have lots of electric scoots charged up and ready to test ride.

On the day there’s;

  • Test ride one of the many electric Vespa’s and Niu scooters.
  • Get advice from the Retrospective Scooters team of experts – ask how to convert your classic Lambretta with a custom conversion kit
  • Freshly cooked food from local stalls
  • Craft beer from a neighbouring brewery
  • Listen to DJs spinning the decks all afternoon

So get yourself down to Unit 1, Lockwood Way, Walthamstow, London E17 5RB from 1pm this Saturday.

While we’re on the subject of Electric Vehicles, rumours are reaching Lambrettista Towers that the new Electric Lambretta Vendetta, (as well as a very exciting sounding 325cc petrol variant) is due to come to market shortly. Stay tuned. When I hear more, you’ll hear more. That’s a promise.

 

 

A Green Future for your classic scooter. Go Electric.

5c370a1919ea1ee0aa43ebdf_electric_lambrettaWe all love our 2-strokes – but they’re not the most environmentally friendly of machines. Many people think the future of transportation is electric. With the likes of VW, BMW and even Jaguar joining Tesla in bringing electric vehicles to market, is the writing on the wall for fossil fuels? After all – when even Milan – the home of the Lambretta – bans classic scooters – you have to start taking these things seriously.

An electric scooter is not a new idea – and I’ve featured a few on the blog already. I even featured the first footage on the internet of the new Electric Lambretta – which is rumoured to be coming to market soon. Piaggio isn’t missing out either, and you can buy a Vespa Elettrica today.  But what if you love the lines of an authentic vintage Lambretta or Vespa?

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ProjectE

Well, now you don’t have to choose between a new, eco-friendly electric scooter, and vintage classic. Codenamed “Project E” Retrospective Scooters are producing a conversion kit for the most popular models of Lambretta & Vespa. They will remove the old petrol engine, electrics and cabling, and install a DC brushless electric motor, motor controller and lithium-ion battery. Ease of riding, reliability, economy and environmental footprint are all brought into the 21st Century – but most importantly the exterior styling remains totally original. A lot of effort has been put into cleverly hiding the modern tech behind dummy plastic engine casings keeping your classic looking as authentic as possible.

5c370b1d542c022ff4943e97_Electric_vespa_lambrettaRetrospective will be offering the conversion as a DIY kit, with prices starting at £2,485. They will fit it for you for around £500. You can even add it as an option if you’re having a scooter restored. You’ll also have to factor in the cost of the batteries – not included in the kit price, and they run to £850. You can choose to have just the one battery, or improve your range by adding another one or more.

Lambretta Models

Project E is compatible with most popular Lambretta models – LI Series 1, 2 & 3 and GP models can be converted. Retrospective are working on a J Range conversion, and a LD will follow at some stage.

30 – 110 Mile Range

Retrospective offer a variety of different lithium-ion battery options. Each has been made specifically to suit a range of needs – from a Sunday run-around to an everyday commuter.

Change back

One of the great things about this conversion is that it can be fitted without butchering your classic scoot – as Retrospective say “No scooters were harmed in this conversion, no cutting, welding or grinding; the conversion perfectly fits the classic frames” this makes the conversion is completely reversible – so if you want to go back to burning dead dinosaur fuel, you can.

Specs

Range ………………………………….. 30 — 110 MILES
Power ………………………………….. 1kw/3km
Top Speed ………………………………….. 55mph
Removable battery ………………………………….. Yes
Headlights ………………………………….. LED
Charge time 70% ………………………………….. 90 mins
Charge time 100% ………………………………….. 6 hrs
Battery capacity ………………………………….. 66V / 25ah

5c40839116b8f70343067670_electric_scooter_hero_shotThe future is bright. The future is retro.

The Retrospective conversion may be the future for classic scooters. And what could be more eco than riding a machine originally made maybe 50 or 60 years ago, powered by electricity?

I originally found out about Project E on Scooterlab, which covers a lot of ground that I don’t. If you haven’t seen their article, check it out here.

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Retrospective Scooters

Retrospective Scooters are based in Walthamstow, London E17, and as well as designing and building the electric scooter conversion, they are experts in Scooter Restorations, Servicing and Repairs. Check out their website here.

Images are used with permission of Retrospective Scooters.

What’s the Buzz?

IMG_9050What’s the Buzz? The Buzz is the future. It’s electric. And it’s Vespa shaped. Aiming to do for the scooter market what Tesla have done for cars, Buzz is recreating yesterdays scooter style with tomorrows technology.

Based in Vietnam, where there’s a lot of love for vintage scoots, Buzz are ‘British Engineered’. My guess is it’s the guys at the Saigon Scooter Centre who are behind this initiative, but I may be wrong!

IMG_9056The images shown are prototypes – the final design promising to morph into a ‘more modern take on this classic shop’ – well, I for one hope they don’t change too much. You know what side of the fence I sit on in the Vespa vs. Lambretta debate… but Vespas are the second most beautiful scooters ever made – so this retro styling looks pretty good!

Of course, it comes down to more that just good looks. These vehicles have got to perform. But with claimed top speeds of 120 kph and a 0-100 kph of under 4 seconds (for the 5000W Buzz1 model) it’s not something to worry about. Even the more modest 2000W models top end of 80kph is fine for commuting and city riding.

IMG_9065The two big ‘pain points’ with electric vehicles are range and charging. The Buzz scooters have a range of 240km – nearly 150 miles in old money. Pretty impressive. And improvements in battery tech could boost that to 400km. If your riding any more than that between charges, your doing some serious level scootering.IMG_3909

Charging should be just as pain free. Plug in overnight for a slow charge (6 hours), or, if you’re in a rush, fast charge to 80% capacity in just 12 minutes.

IMG_9084There’s even an option with a removable roof system – featuring built in solar panels – the goal being you ‘ride for free’ and never have to plug your scoot into the grid. To be honest, I’d rather plug my scooter in once a day than ride around with a roof, but I think this would work well for delivery vehicles. Delivery vehicles in sunny places!

Being 2017, all Buzz bikes will have connectivity to your phone. A RFID system means that you’ll never worry about losing your keys again. You’ll also be able to locate your bike, and check your battery status on your phone.

So, sounds pretty good right? If only it was Lambretta shaped! Well… rumours reach Lambrettista towers that (as well as some other exciting news) an electric Lambretta Vendetta is in the pipeline. Watch this space.

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Find out more on the Buzz website.

Via OffTheClothBoff and Modculture.

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 Electric Scooter – Now On Sale

DSC_5269editReaders with good memories may recall the Fido Electric Scooter concept that reminded me of the original ‘Model A’ Lambrettas*. Well, it’s not a concept anymore, and you can buy one of a limited edition of 25, hand assembled “Model 1’s” for a downpayment of $5,250. That’s 50% of the full purchase price, which makes them a not inconsiderable $10,500.

It’s not cheap, it will only do 45mph and has a 35mph range, and (at the moment) it’s only available in the USA. But I like the aesthetic, and think it’s a glimpse of the future. Once a main production run is up, (and that is scheduled for 2017) prices should start to come down. I know it’s going to be of limited appeal to readers only interested in old, noisy 2-stroke – you can buy a pretty decent Lammie for $10.5k – but I wish the guys at Fido well. It’s been a long road for them, I hope their hard work starts paying off.

The Fido is also a world away from some of the frankly amazing stuff coming out of Italy at the moment, such as the Casa Performance 350cc twin casing, but the guys over at Scooterlab have got that pretty much covered.

Find out more about Fido here.

*All early open frame Lammies actually, scroll down to see Marco’s D for example (or

Czech this out!

Cezeta1The Cezeta is back – and it hasn’t changed a bit (apart from being electric!). The distinctive Czech scooter has returned in a design virtually unchanged from the original models produced in the ’50s and ’60s. And it’s all the better for it. You’d be hard pushed to spot any difference between these new models and the originals – in fact, you’d be on a hiding to nothing as the prototypes shown are originals, modified to fit the new power unit.

cezeta-home-02-1200That’s the one BIG change. As mentioned… she’s electric! Some will mourn the passing of the original 175cc 2-stroke engine, but this is the 20-teens and an electric power unit is the way forward. She’s got a top end of 50mph and a range of 60 miles (extendable to 120m). That’s plenty to commute in style.

Regarding the styling… it’s certainly unique. I’ve been less than kind to the Cezeta in the past, but I’m warming to the Cezeta’s idiosyncratic looks. Perhaps is years of conditioning so my brain thinks a Lambretta is the way a scooter should look.  There’s something quite hipster (in a good way) about them, and they’re far more attractive (and authentic) than the majority of modern attempts to create a retro scoot.

Although by nature I’m a bit of a traditionalist, I’m also firmly in the EV (Electric Vehicle) camp. I think this scoot marries the best of both. Retro styling, with a modern, clean power unit. There was talk of an Electric Scomadi a while back, (last I heard it they are still “working on it”)  and, although unlikely, maybe – just maybe we’ll see an electric version of the “new Lambretta” the L70 on launch (more of that later!).

There’s a ton of more information, including a road test and an interview with one of the guys behind the revitalised Cezeta brand (brit Neil Smith) over on the ScooterLab site.

It’s great to see these ‘lesser known’ (in the UK anyway) scooter marques making a comeback, with Cezeta joining the likes of Lohner and Cushman. Find out more at the Cezeta website, where you can reserve yours today, or pop over to Prague and visit their shop.

The video’s worth a watch too…

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.

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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!