MCN has just ridden the world's first production hybrid motorcycle - the Piaggio MP3 125 Hybrid.
The new motorcycle combines a conventional 125cc four-stroke petrol engine with an electric motor directly driving the rear wheel with a rechargeable battery. The complete assembly adds 30kg of weight over the conventional MP3 125, but Piaggio say the compact battery recharges in just an hour and a half.
It can run as electric only, petrol and electric with regenerative charging to keep the battery topped up on the move, or Hybrid Power mode, which utilises both engines to give extra acceleration but without the recharging effect.
MCN's tester said: "In electric mode it only manages 35km/h and doesn't last very long, so it's only useful for moving through slow moving traffic. The regenerative mode feels like a normal MP3125 except there's a sensation of engine braking you don't get with a normal engine, because the generator is using the deceleration to charge the battery.
"Hybrid Power mode is useful on busy streets - it gives noticeable extra acceleration, though I doubt it will match a 250cc scooter on performance like Piaggio claimed. Piaggio haven't set a UK price yet - if they can offer it at a reasonable price it could make sense for the energy-conscious city rider - it also depends on the economy over a longer test than MCN's first ride to become a true alternative."