November 11, 2017
NEW ELECTRICS AND A SMALL BMW
Each year the Japanese and European scooter manufacturers unveil new concept and production scooters at the Tokyo and Milan (EICMA) motorcycle shows. These shows occur at almost the same time, so it’s the peak time of year for scooter news.
Thankfully 2017 did not disappoint with interesting concept and production machines from a wide range of OEMs. Notable machines this year were electric scooters from Vespa and Honda that are actually headed on sale, new maxiscooters from BMW, SYM and Kymco, and some vintage nostalgia courtesy of Honda (CC110) and Lambretta (V-Special)
Vespa displayed an electric version of their Primavera last year called the Elettrica, but it was a non-functional concept. This year Vespa returned with a fully developed Elettrica they actually plan to start producing next year. Vespa is claiming they are going to sell this new scooter in many markets, so we’ll see where it winds up and if they’re serious.
The Elettrica puts out 4kW of peak power (5.35 horsepower) but can only do 2 kW on a sustained basis, so the power is comparable to a 50cc but the cruising speed probably isn’t quite there. Vespa hasn’t disclosed the battery size, but they did say the range is 100km (62 miles), so we expect that comes from a battery size around 5kWh.
Vespa has designed this scooter for faster speed “level 2” charging, but not ultra fast charging, so it still takes 4 hours at best (and probably 8-12 hours at home). If you’re worried about the range, Vespa is also going to produce a “range extended” version with an on-board gas generator to charge the batteries called the Elettrica X. Mostly likely this version will make an already expensive scooter even more pricey.
HONDA PCX ELECTRIC
Honda is also going to start producing a serious electric scooter. They revised their popular PCX design to come up an electric version that is uncreatively called…..the PCX Electric. Unfortunately Honda hasn’t started with a clean sheet design here, so they’ve had to stuff the batteries in under the seat which cuts the storage space.
Honda has actually teamed up with Yamaha on the battery side of this, so they’re using standardized and swappable batteries that are supposed to be compatible with a range of Honda and Yamaha machines in the years to come. We’ve been skeptical of battery swapping here in the past - particularly when it’s mandatory like Gogoro who disallows home charging - because people like to own all of their scooter. Having the option to swap is fine, as long as manufacturers work towards faster charging as well.
Honda hasn’t released any specs on the PCX Electric yet, but they do claim it’ll go on sale in Asia next year. They’re also prepping a hybrid version of the PCX, which is basically the regular PCX plus regenerative braking and a small battery to store the regenerated electrons. The PCX Hybrid cleverly uses the starter motor to deploy the regenerated power.
BMW unveiled a sweet looking and production ready new scooter called the C400X. Despite the C400X name, this adventure maxi-scooter is actually a 350cc. So it’s quite a bit smaller than BMW’s other C series models and hopefully quite a bit lower cost as well.
BMW has released all the specs for this machine, so we know it’s a 450 lbs, single cylinder scooter with a peak output of 34 horsepower @7500 RPM (that’s 4 HP more than the new Burgman 400) and an 86 mph top speed. The C400X also has standard ABS, traction control and dual 270mm disc brakes up front. Full info here.
The styling is reminiscent of the larger C series models, but it also has an adventure scooter look to it. BMW seems pretty serious with this model as they’ve already announced it will arrive in Canada and the USA in spring 2018.OTHER NEW SCOOTERS
A few other noteworthy scooters this year including the new Lambretta V-Special (above), which is being launched in 50cc, 125cc and 150cc sizes which is a SYM based scooter built in collaboration with the Lambretta Consortium. There’s also a nice looking 465cc maxi from SYM called the MaxSym TL and an interesting 550cc adventure scooter from Kymco called the AK550. Finally, Honda unveiled several new variants of their Cub at the Tokyo show, including the handsome CC110.