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No two-wheeler is better suited to electric power than scooters and no scooter is cooler than classic Vespas and Lambretta – and now you can get electric versions of both with these British kits.
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They are the result of Retrospective, a London specialist in classic scooters, and consist in replacing the original two-stroke engine with a custom battery / electric system. A complete machine can be ordered or a conversion carried out on a supplied scoot. Prices start at £ 3,450.
And with a top speed of 55 mph, a range of up to 70 miles (depending on spec), running costs of around 1p for every five miles, and exemption from road tax and ULEZ, no. only they work almost as well (but with better acceleration) than the original “oil burner”, they are cheaper and cleaner to use.
Retrospective was founded in Walthamstow in 2000 as a specialist in classic scooters, dining, servicing, selling and even renting for film and television; Classic Vespas and Lambretta, as well as the sale of modern and electric brands such as Royal Alloy, Niu and Super Soco.
Now, as owner Niall McCart explains, they’ve married the two together to create these kits.
“The plan was to convert our classic scooters that we love to modern technology – electric power. We wanted to keep the design of the original but hide under the ‘hood’ this new technology.
“We also didn’t want to cause any damage and be able to revert to the original configuration if necessary. There is therefore no cutting or welding.
“We also had to make this conversion easy for the novice mechanic, a kit that was essentially a plug-in and play product that required minimal tools to install.
“With the changing laws, with ULEZ etc., we had to do something to keep our classic scooters on the road. That’s why we did it.”
The hub-mounted 3kw motor is claimed to be the best currently available, but is also designed to be upgraded if a better version comes along in the future.
This is combined with a 64V / 28Ah battery with a realistic range of 30 miles or a 72V / 31.5Ah version with around 38 miles, but most models can combine two batteries for a longer range.
The kit includes everything needed for the conversion; a new swingarm, hub motor and tire, replacing the original transmission, plus a battery / chainring that fits under the saddle in place of the old fuel tank. You also get modified electrical elements, including a controller and even a new LED headlight and digital dial.
All classic Vespa and Lambretta models are compatible, including classic “large”, “small” and “wide” frame Vespas, as well as the Lambretta Li I, II, III, GP and J series.