The Italian scooter: 3 best electric mopeds to buy or rent

The electric scooter is the future. For the best moped design, you have to be in Italy, home of the Vespa. We have tested the best electric Italian scooter.

Italy and the electric scooter

Electric scooters are a hot topic, considering a good part of the world is moving towards a carbon-free society. This, of course, also applies to electric cars. The range is huge, especially from new brands. But it is not easy to make a proper choice.

Italian-scooter
‘Elettrica’ © Original italystart.com Photo

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Best Italian scooter: the top 3

We have made a selection for you. Our first criteria is Italian design and production. We also looked at ease of use and performance. In doing so, we ended up with three scooters. We tried all three ourselves for a long time, and bought one ourselves.

italian-scooter-
Roman Holiday before the electric transition (graffiti in Rome) © Original italystart.com Photo

For the record, we paid for the scooter with our own money (and were able to take advantage of an environmental bonus from the Italian government: kudos to Italy!). So our choice is completely neutral.

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Important to note: the Italian moped is better known by the name of ‘motorino’ (literally: a small motorbike), sometimes even just ‘Vespa’ (the brand). Also the word ‘scooter’ is often used, but has nothing to do with the (electric) kick scooter.

vespa-scooters
A kick scooter rider in Rome © Original italystart.com Photo
1

Vespa Elettrica

Golden & electric oldie
  • BrandPiaggio
  • Year: 2018
  • Production: Pontedera (Pisa)
  • Battery: cord to grid
  • Autonomy: 100 km (efficient mode)
  • Top Speed: 70 km
  • Hp/ kWatt: 5.43/ 4
  • Price: 7000 euros (7400$)
italian scooter
© Original italystart.com Photo
  • Design
  • Quality
  • No removable battery
  • Price
Vespa Elettrica
Steel steed

The reason many electric mopeds are quite compact is they are without an engine. That saves space. The disadvantage, I think, is that few scooter designers have found a good solution to the new challenge. Most design is downright ugly.

At Vespa, they’ve thought about that well. As possibly the only scooter manufacturer, they have converted an existing model one-by-one. 

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The electric Vespa is completely shaped like the steel frame of the Vespa Primavera; it can be recognized by its gray color finish with colored details (blu or red). The electric model maintains so the image of Vespa, and thus its brand value. 

It is a solid scooter. You feel riding your steel steed, not like biking on some plastic parts. The Elettrica rides somewhat stiffly, you can also call that as a quality feature of this Italian scooter.

The design is beautiful, as all Vespas are, and I would have bought one were it not for the price and the fact that the battery is located under the seat, and is not detachable. That’s inconvenient if you don’t have electricity nearby. I find it a problem.

Experience the Vespa for yourself:

Also read: Drive a Vespa when you are on vacation in Italy, as did Lady Gaga

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2

WOW 775

Electrify
  • BrandWOW
  • Year: 2021
  • Production: Saronno (Milan)
  • Battery: 2 removable
  • Autonomy: 50-90 km
  • Top Speed: 90 km/h
  • Hp/ kWatt: 5.43/ 4
  • Price: 5200 euro (5500$)
Wow 775
  • Design
  • Removable batteries
  • Large 16 inch wheels
  • Cumbersome battery recharging
  • Low(er) battery autonomy
WOW 775
Large wheels, lovely design

Because electric scooters have no propulsion engine, the e-models are often made a touch smaller than the traditional scooter. You notice this with the Italian Askoll and countless other brands from China, South Corea, Taiwan and European countries as Spain and France (such as Seat and Peugeot).

italian-scooter-
WOW: the battery (on which the brand name is) is above the wheel © Original italystart.com Photo


WOW, on the other hand, is out there with a self-confident model, standing on higher wheels than many of its competitors. What also makes it so beautiful is that the batteries are not under the seat, but on either side at the level of the rear wheel. That creates a sporty look, and that means there’s plenty of room under the saddle.

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That in turn means you don’t need a ‘bauletto’. Such a topcase breaks generally the line of the scooter design and is thus an ugly accessory(optionally you can have it mounted on the WOW though).

The scooter includes two convenient features. The WOW possess a regenerative braking system in which braking energy is returned to the battery. Also there is a reverse gear (a button) that makes parking easier.

Is there nothing bad to say then? Surely there is.

Charging the two (heavy) batteries is cumbersome. You have to free them from the scooter first (measure to prevent stealing). The batteries are then placed (indoors) in a holder; power is switched on. Charging makes a hell of a noise. So far (charged 3 times) the batteries last about 50 kilometers when driving economically (Eco mode). That’s a lot less than specified. The design could be more sophisticated and I would like to see more metal parts.

Experience the WOW 775 for yourself:

Also read: The star of the classic movie “Roman Holiday” is the Italian scooter. The film is in our Italian film top 24 of all time

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3

Askoll NGS3

Musk's baby (the Italian)
  • BrandAskoll
  • Year: 2021
  • Production: Dueville (Vicenza)
  • Battery: 2 removable / plug
  • Autonomy: 90 km
  • Top Speed: 66 km/h
  • Hp/ kWatt: 5.43/ 4
  • Price: 4300 euros (4800$)
© Original italystart.com Photo
  • Great grip on the road
  • Convenient battery handling
  • Good manoeuvrability (and parking)
  • Price
  • (Overly) compact model
  • Design
Askoll
Is not an offense

Elio Marioni, the man behind Askoll, is sometimes referred to as the Elon Musk of Italian electric mobility, possibly also because of their closely resembling first names. Marioni is a now almost 75-year-old flamoyant entrepreneur, who started out of nowhere 50 years ago to design and produce a small thermostat to put in aquarium tanks.

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From there he switched to make motors for aquariums, then electric motors for household appliances. In 2014 Marioni started with an electric motor to produce zero-emission vehicles.

The company name is not very sexy, and has nothing to do with Italy and the beautiful Italian language. And for a reason. It is a pure fantasy name. Marioni thought of a word that was pronounced the same way all over the world and was not a naughty word in some language. That did work out. You can now say ‘Askoll!’ and no one will be offended (although it reminds us of an English swear word).

© Original italystart.com Graphic

The first model, the Askoll eS was an instant success. Partly because scooter sharing companies took this model in their fleet. I myself have been riding the s3 for some years through sharing company Cooltra. That’s how I was able to get a good final impression.

The eS3 (2 extractable batteries, range of 87 km, max speed 66 km/h) is an excellent, but very small electric scooter at a pleasurable price (3800 euros/ 4000$).

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Yet here we discuss Askoll’s latest, more powerful model, the NGS3.

This electric scooter can reach a reasonably high speed in the city, but still (like the s3) is not very fast when taking off, especially if you have a passenger on the back. Otherwise, this scooter has a fine grip on the road.

italian-scooter
Removable battery, but also the possibility of charging with a ( curled-up) cord directly from the scooter on the electricity grid © Original italystart.com Photo

Charging is made very easy. You can take out the two batteries, which are each quite light (7,6 kg), and charge them at home. But you can also connect directly to the grid with a cord from under the saddle. Very handy.

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The NGS3 is a bit bigger than the s3, but still too small in my opinion. The big flaw (for me) of the s3 is that it is so small. It’s like being on a child’s bike. The same holds true for the NGS3, especially when compared to the other two models we cover on this page (Vespa and WOW).

italian-scooter-
‘Italian design’ Askoll with St Peter’s in the background © Original italystart.com Photo

As for its design. It seems to be made by a famous Italian designer, but I am not thrilled with it. Indeed, the scooter hardly stands out from the numerous, often ‘anonymous’ Chinese brands. A missed opportunity for a brand that (rightfully) manifest itself as Italian these days.

Experience the Askoll for yourself:

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ItalyStart tip

Cooltra, the Spanish sharing company of scooters and bikes, has been operating in six European cities since 2005: Paris, Rome, Milan, Madrid, Barcelona and Lisbon. The company makes use of the compact Askoll scooter (s3).

It is one of the reasons for Askoll’s success I think. Cooltra users take a test ride every time, so to speak. That sometimes makes users want more (buy an Askoll for their own use).

Cooltra works very well I can affirm after 3.5 years of using this share system. The scooters line up very well on the road and they are compact (easy parking, even for women to put on the double stand, for example). The fare is low (without being charged a starting fee) and the consumer service is very attentive.

italian-moped
Cooltra ride in Barcelona in full pandemic time © Original italystart.com Photo
Photo of author
Ewout is an Italy expert who has written thousands of articles for Dutch media as a correspondent and has published 10 books on wide-ranging topics such as Rome, the Vatican, Tuscany, Italian brands and Italian women.

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