Piaggio's first electric Vespa to go on sale next year

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The Vespa Elettrica electric scooter will go into production in the second half of 2017(Credit: Spiros Tsantilas/New Atlas)

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Electric scooters are perfect for cutting through busy city traffic without leaving pedestrians choking or deafened by the whine of a tiny engine at full throttle. They now come in all shapes and sizes, but few (if any) could be regarded as an icon. That could soon change with the announcement that possibly the most iconic scooter of them all is about to go electric. Piaggio has chosen EICMA in Milan, Italy, to pull back the curtain on the Vespa Elettrica.

The original Vespa made its public debut at the 1946 Milan Fair. By 1960, two million units had been sold. Over the next decade, the UK's style-conscious (and accessory crazy) mod movement helped double sales of the utility vehicle before a leveling off and decline in the 70s. In all, more than 18 million Vespas have been sold worldwide, with over 1.5 million in sales over the last 10 years. And shortly, commuters will have an utterly gorgeous, if somewhat quieter and cleaner, Vespa to drool over.

At the moment, the shiny silver Vespa Elettrica is a design study, and no build details have been revealed. There's no denying that riders will be able to zip around supercities in style, but Piaggio is also promising familiar Vespa agility, ease of use and riding pleasure from the new electric scooter.

Though the company points out that its electric motor heritage stretches as far back as the 1970s, it is looking to partner with key electric motor developers to ensure that the production Elettrica boasts the "latest in electric technology," including connectivity options.

No doubt more will be revealed ahead of planned production next year, with sales commencing in the second half of 2017. There's no word on pricing, though today's electric vehicles do tend to carry a premium so you can probably expect to pay more than you would for a non-electric base model.

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