PIAGGIO IS ONE of the few major powersports vehicle manufacturers already offering product featuring alternative powerplants. The company's new hybrid-drive scooters feature a "parallel" drive system in which an internal combustion engine and a zero-emissions electric motor are mechanically and electronically linked and simultaneously supply power to the wheel.
Piaggio first revealed its Hybrid Scooter (HyS) technology in 2004 at the Intermot trade fair in Germany. The manufacturer's latest HyS offering comes in the form of the 2008 MP3 HyS.
The Piaggio MP3 HyS has all the normal controls found on a scooter plus a special switch to choose from one of three operating modes: two hybrid modes and an electric mode.
In the two hybrid modes, the HyS system controls power output from the internal combustion engine and electric motor using ride-by-wire engine management. An electronic management system interprets the rider's requests for more power and selects the assist ratio according to the state of the system (e.g. the level of battery charge). During deceleration and braking, the control system recovers and accumulates power. In electric mode, the HyS system shuts down the combustion engine to create a silent, zero-emission electric vehicle.
The traction batteries are hidden in an under-seat storage space, which is nevertheless still big enough to hold a helmet and other personal effects. A battery charge indicator on the dashboard keeps the rider informed of battery charge level. The batteries can be recharged via a normal wall socket. Charging time is about three hours.
Piaggio plans to use its Hybrid Scooter (HyS) technology in various vehicles.