These days, it seems all you hear about electric vehicles is: More power! More range!

Now, we’ve got the Yamaha e-Vino, to challenge those boring stereotypes, by offering less range. Patent drawings for this machine have been circulating for years, along with other gossip, but now it’s actually on the Japanese market.

Like all the Japanese OEMs, Yamaha is busy developing electric two-wheelers these days, and the e-Vino is aimed at the budget-friendly commuter crowd in Japan. While North Americans obsess over horsepower, the Japanese domestic market and much of the rest of the world actually rolls along on small scooters. With governments everywhere cracking down on gasoline-powered vehicles, the Big Four all see the writing on the wall, and are working on electric versions of their step-through line. Suzuki, Yamaha, Honda and Kawasaki are all collaborating on an inter-manufacturer project aimed at improving battery tech and other issues, but Yamaha and the rest are also working on their own side projects, like the e-Vino.

The e-Vino looks like a classic Italian scooter, just like Yamaha’s standard gasoline-powered Vino lineup. Elektrek says it’s rated for 580W continuous output, and 1,200W peak output, with a “boost” button to let you temporarily push the motor past normal operating limits.

That’s not much power (as Elektrek points out, even less than some e-bikes). However, where the e-Vino really seems to cut corners is the battery. In stock form, the e-Vino’s 50V lithium-ion battery is rated for 18 miles, or 29 kilometres. Install a spare battery, and you can double that range. Recharge time for the battery is supposedly three hours.

Obviously, that’s not much operating distance, and considering the range calculations were made with a smallish rider in mind, your average chunky North American (myself included) would fare even worse. However, remember these things are being compared to e-bikes and bicycles, not proper scooters and motorcycles. If you only need short range capacity for local commutes, the e-Vino might be enough to get the job done for many urban riders. At roughly 150 pounds, at least the e-Vino should handle well in city traffic, and the 44 mph top speed won’t be an issue in stop-and-go downtowns.

Plus, at least the price is right, at 259,600 yen, or roughly $2,400 US (obviously depending on the exhange rate). That’s the price range for an e-bike or high-end bicycle, and the e-Vino would have at least some advantages over those, with cargo space and style.

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