Piaggio Plans Hybrid MP3 for 2010

Piaggio plans to begin selling a hybrid version of the MP3 in the U.S. market in the first quarter of 2010.

Piaggio first revealed its Hybrid Scooter (HyS) technology in 2004 at the INTERMOT trade fair in Germany. The company most recently showed the system installed in the MP3 in Nov. 2008 at the EICMA trade fair in Milan.

The HyS hybrid is 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.

The Piaggio MP3 HyS has all the normal controls found on a scooter plus a special switch to choose from one of four operating modes: two hybrid modes and two electric modes (including reverse).

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 lithium 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.

Piaggio says the MP3 HyS should be able to travel up to 149 miles per gallon and offer an electric-only range of 40 miles per charge. Charging time is about three hours.

The MP3 HyS is expected to retail for $8,000 to $9,000.

MP3 HyS Specifications
Internal Combustion Engine: 124cc four-stroke fuel injected with single overhead cam
Engine Output: 15hp @ 8,500 rpm
Engine Torque: 11.8 ft.-lb.
Electric Motor: Lithium batteries with Vectorial digital inverter
Electric Output: 3.4hp
Electric Torque: 11 ft.-lb.
Drive Modes: Four drive models: two hybrid, two electric (including reverse)
Battery Charge: During braking and deceleration, and from the onboard battery charger
Cooling: Liquid cooling
Final Drive: Variator with centrifugal and torque control
Electronic Control System: Ride-by-wire power train control

- Submitted by Guido Ebert