Unsplash / Mitchell Koot

Find out more about this iconic scooter

Quick notes

-Vespa means wasp in Italian

-The Vespa scooter was introduced in 1946 by the Italian company Piaggio.  They continue to manufacture the Vespa to this day

Vespa is the name of the iconic Italian scooter introduced in 1946 in Italy.  The word ‘vespa’ means wasp in Italian. Not seen often here until perhaps the past decade, environmental concerns have led to increased market demand for the scooter in North America.

Vespas are available in the US in the 50cc and 150cc models. Though some dealers tend to carry the 300cc models despite Piaggio stating that they do not sell them in North America. At 300cc, the scooter becomes a motorcycle. The same license is required for both, but the 300cc is allowed onto highways and freeways.

In the US and Canada, the Vespa is considered mostly a recreational vehicle, but this has been changing with increased concern about the environment, busier cities, and fewer spaces to park. In some smaller and older towns, you will find more Vespas as the main means of transportation, similar to Europe and the islands.


Why buy a Vespa?

A better question may be why not buy a Vespa? It allows you to zip through traffic and park virtually anywhere. Can’t get a parking space with your condo, not a problem. You can put the Vespa in your condo or on the balcony. It’s relatively small, lightweight, and a less strenuous mode of transportation than cycling. What the Vespa lacks in handling and storage, it makes up for in convenience and cost.

Vespa models and price

As indicated above, Piaggio, the maker of the Vespa, claims that they do not sell the 300cc models in the North American market, but they have been found in some Vespa dealerships, so check first before you commit to the 150cc.

Vespa offers many scooters. The smaller sized collection consists of the Primavera and the Sprint. The larger models are the GTS, Super, and the Sei Giorni. The ‘unique’ model is the 946. They have a new collection for the 2019 calendar year, which is called the 2019 Special Collection models. They are the Primavera 50th Anniversary, the Primavera S, the Primavera Yacht Club, Sprint Notte, the GTS Yacht Club, and the GTS Notte.

The Vespa evokes the same freedom and wind through your hair excitement as a motorcycle, with slightly less danger and horsepower

The specs for the various Vespa models are easily found here. Pricing for a Vespa scooter starts at $3,999 and ranges up to $10,499 for the Vespa 946.

Electric Vespa – The Electric Lady

Traditionally the Vespa is gas-powered, but they have introduced a new electric model, called the Electric Lady,  for the eco-friendly,  conscious purchaser.

The Electric Vespa scooter features similar styling to its gasoline-powered cousins. It comes stock with a lithium-ion battery and offers up to 100km of uninterrupted riding and recharges in 4 hours.

Driving a Vespa

You cannot drive anything less than 150ccs on the highway, so unfortunately, while street legal and requiring the same license to drive, you cannot drive all Vespas on the highways and freeways here. It is perfect for booting around town, though! To be honest, even the 300cc may not give you enough hp to maneuver the highways and freeways safely. Extreme caution should be taken.

Driving a scooter requires not just a license, but also insurance. If you decide to invest in a Vespa, make sure that you obtain the appropriate license in your state and the necessary insurance.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:

The new and improved 2019 Ducati Scrambler | Autos101

Looking for something with a little more power than the Vespa? Check out the new 2019 Ducati Scrambler. You do need a motorcycle license to drive either after all 

Should you bundle your car and home insurance | Finance101

You will need proper insurance to drive that Vespa. Take a look and see whether it would benefit you to bundle your car and home insurance together