This is Piaggio’s HyS prototype – hybrid electric/petrol scooter which could see production in the very near future.
The firm has already created prototypes of the machine, using the two-wheeled Vespa LX and Piaggio X8 as well as the three-wheeled Piaggio MP3 as the basis for the technology.
Rather than packing two completely separate power plants – a petrol engine and an electric motor – the HyS features a unit which combines both. While the petrol engine is pretty conventional, with the usual twist-and-go gearbox, it also incorporates an electric motor into the gearbox casing. Give it a big handful of throttle and the electric motor kicks in for extra performance, giving an 85 percent power boost.
Electronics manage the two power systems, increasing fuel economy to as much as 170mpg.
If you’re feeling particularly green, you can even switch the petrol engine off entirely and run just on electric power for up to 12 miles.
In normal use, the petrol engine charges the batteries, so there’s never a need to plug it in, although the bike also incorporates a charging socket allowing you to charge overnight. Since electricity is cheaper than petrol, this further reduces the running costs.
Piaggio hasn’t announced production plans, but machines using similar technology to the HyS prototypes are expected to be launched soon.