Everyone is showing off their plug-in hybrid prototype bikes, but no one has a production model yet. So when Piaggio’s MP3 plug-in Hybrid Scooter gets into show rooms in 2009 (or hopefully at the end of 2008), they’ll be the first ones.
The word is that Piaggio’s plug-in hybrid three-wheeler will get up to 141 mpg and could be on the road by the end of 2008, as in, before 2009. This hybrid version of the MP3 scooter uses a parallel hybrid system similar to the one the Toyota Prius uses, except this one plugs in to a regular old wall socket. Toyota, GM and a few other automakers are try to develop cars that can be charged from a wall socket, but if Piaggio gets this MP3 out on time, they’ll scoop the competition.
Piaggio’s technicians have been working on the electronics of the scooter, but supposedly, as of right now, the hybrid still has heavy lead-acid cells in the battery pack. The engineers plan on re-fitting the scooter with reliable and cost-effective lithium-ion batteries, which should lower the battery pack weight by 40 percent. We’ll have to wait and see how it goes.
The MP3 HyS has several different modes, full electric mode or in one of three hybrid modes designed to maximize performance, maximize fuel economy, or recharge the batteries quickly. The engine in actually functions as a 250cc when it’s in maximum performance mode, when the batteries boost acceleration by 85%. In reality, the engine is a 15bhp, 64mph 125cc, which already has some considerable zip. The extra battery power gives it a 0-60 time in the 5-second range. That means this thing that out accelerate most cars when it needs to. And if you keep it in hybrid mode, this thing works out to about 141 mpg. Yeah.
Regenerative braking helps charge the batteries, and when you plug it in, it’ll charge in as little as three hours.