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Electric conversion kit aims to save iconic Italian scooters

08 April 2019

Thousands of vintage Vespa & Lambretta scooters could be saved from the scrap heap, despite the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London.

Electric small frame Vespa

The introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London threatens the future of many perfectly serviceable vehicles. Thousands of vintage Vespa & Lambretta scooters could be saved from the scrap heap by being fitted with a custom-designed electric hub motor kit, developed by East London specialists, Retrospective Scooters.

The first public test ride bikes were available to try at an open day event in Walthamstow on Saturday, 6 April. Hundreds of vintage scooterists attended the event to find out how to save their scooters from the scrap heap and celebrate the future of scooter culture.

Niall McCart of Retrospective Scooters has developed a range of retro-fit electric conversion kits that can be fitted to almost any vintage Vespa or Lambretta, that would otherwise be forced to pay a £12.50 per day charge from 8 April 2019 to enter central London. Electric-powered vehicles are exempt from the ULEZ charge, and additionally pay no road tax.

Stylish Italian scooters have been a permanent fixture on London’s roads since the 1950s. Many remember their iconic status established by the Mods in the 1960s. This scene continues to thrive right up to the present day, with many thousands of these scooters still on the roads today – and being ever more essential as traffic levels increase. London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) will mean many of these beautiful scooters will be forced off the roads, potentially to be lost for ever.

Niall McCart set up Retrospective Scooters from a garden shed in 2000, after scootering his way across Europe, Australia, India and the USA on a Vespa. His passion led to the formation of Europe’s leading vintage scooter restoration garage. Realising the days of the vintage Vespa might be numbered, Niall and his team have spent three years developing a bespoke electric engine kit that can be retro fitted to almost any Vespa or Lambretta reducing its emissions to zero!

Niall McCart, Chief Scooterist & Owner of Retrospective Scooters, says, “Economically, paying £12.50 a day to ride a scooter in London makes no sense. Losing any of these iconic scooters because of the ULEZ legislation is unforgivable. These scooters are made to last – and can run for 50+ years. We just had to come up with a solution to the problem.”

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