The Piaggio MP3 Hybrid Scooter
Due to go on sale in the US and Europe sometime very soon (1st half of 2010) the Piaggio MP3 Hybrid is a slightly odd looking beast with some impressive credentials. The scooter is a plug-in hybrid, featuring both gasoline and electric motors, this is unique so far in the world of both motorcycles and scooters (and 3-wheelers coincidentally). The MP3 Hybrid also boasts regenerative braking, an impressive 40 mile range on battery power alone with a 125cc gasoline engine to boost your range once (or if) you exhaust your batteries.
With a 141 mile per gallon economy and a high-performance mode which gets you from 0-60 in around 5 seconds the Piaggio has announced the initial launch price of just $8-9,000 USD (depending on final configuration). That puts the MP3 Hybrid into the same batting cage as the Brammo Enertia and the Zero Dual Sport and whilst both the Brammo and Zero beat the MP3 on looks (a quick poll of the office saw the Piaggio not get a single vote), the extended range option of the Hybrid scooter will doubtless win it a stack of new customers.
Piaggio MP3 Hybrid Scooter Specifications
- Electric Only Range – 40 Miles
- Gasoline Range – Not announced
- Top Speed – 64 mph
- 0-60 Acceleration – ~5 Seconds
- Charge Time – 4 Hours
- Battery Type – Lithium-ion
- Price – 8-9,000 USD
Official Piaggio MP3 Hybrid Press Release
The Piaggio Group presents the MP3 Hybrid, the world’s first hybrid scooter and a vehicle destined to revolutionise urban mobility. This is not just a “scooter with two powerplants”, but a highly advanced vehicle supplements a low environmental impact conventional internal combustion engine with a zero emissions electric motor, summing the advantages of the two units.
Adopting uniquely exclusive technology – this is the first vehicle in the entire automotive sector using lithium ion batteries, which can also be charged from the mains – Piaggio Mp3 Hybrid reduces both fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions by more than 50%, complementing the already enviable attributes in terms of technology, safety and rider enjoyment that make the Piaggio Mp3 – the revolutionary three-wheeled scooter – such a hit.
Scooters have come to symbolise urban mobility: it is the ideal tool for carving easily through the congested traffic of the big city, but also the perfect vehicle for enjoyable weekend excursions.
In recent years, however, the need to reduce harmful airborne emissions has led to the creation of ever larger restricted traffic areas. Often, even scooters are prohibited from accessing these areas. Electric vehicles were created in response to this which, thanks to their zero emissions powerplants, are allowed everywhere. Both internal and electric units have their own advantages and drawbacks. In many cases, however, the advantages of one compensates for the drawbacks of the other: on the one hand, internal combustion engines offer generous range, power and flexibility, but are penalised by their exhaust emissions (in spite of today’s strict Euro 3 regulations); while on the other, the zero emissions and impressive standing start acceleration of an electric motor come at the cost of limited battery range and top speed.
With the Piaggio Mp3 Hybrid, you no longer have to choose between performance and ecology, between a vehicle for accessing the city centre and one capable of longer journeys, even beyond the city limits.Mp3 Hybrid is powered by a revolutionary hybrid drive system developed first by the Piaggio Group for a two-wheeled application and combining the advantages of a petrol engine with those of an electric motor.
The Hybrid solution does not simply offer two separate power choices, but also integrates them into a single sophisticated system combining the power of the internal combustion engine with the extraordinary environmental advantages of an electric motor.Mp3 Hybrid is fun and safe on the open road, where it shows off the superior dynamic capabilities of the Piaggio Mp3, but can also access restricted traffic areas:two scooters in one, for safe, simple, economical and fun mobility. Piaggio MP3 Hybrid now makes hybrid technology accessible to everyone, offering the possibility of environmentally friendly mobility to an ever larger user base.
Two drives in one
The Piaggio MP3 Hybrid incorporates a “parallel” hybrid drive in which a combustion engine and an electric motor are mechanically and electronically linked and simultaneously supply power to the wheel in perfect synergy.
In this integrated internal combustion/electric powertrain, the internal combustion engine – the petrol engine – works like a normal catalysed four stroke unit, offering excellent performance, low emissions and a large range. An automatic transmission, electric starter and the innovative Ride-by-Wire, electronic accelerator system, adopted for the first time ever on a scooter, ensure the sparkling performance and twist-and-go usability you expect from a scooter both in the city and on the open road. But as well as giving the scooter its impressive performance, while it runs, the internal combustion engine also recharges the batteries used to power the electric heart of the vehicle. However, the symbiotic relationship between the two powerplants of the Piaggio Mp3 Hybrid does not end here: whenever the rider calls for particularly brisk acceleration, such as when setting off from a standing start, for example, the electric motor kicks in, supplementing the petrol unit to provide up to an 85% boost in performance, offering more immediate and responsive pickup during the first few metres – which is precisely where it is most needed in city use.
Through the “Ride by Wire” power control system, the on board electronics (VMS – Vehicle Management System) decides how much power to draw from the petrol engine and the electric motor in relation to the effective operating conditions to optimise both performance and consumption.
This synergy between the two powerplants, achieved with integrated electronic management, does not