Italian scooter manufacturer Piaggio SpA has announced that it will roll out a 140-mile-per-gallon hybrid scooter in August. The Wall Street Journal reports that the new three-wheel scooter will be the first ever to use a hybrid electric-gasoline powertrain and will cost $12,581.
Unlike the first generation of hybrid cars, Piaggio’s new scooter will employ a lithium-based battery and a parallel, rather than series, hybrid powertrain. The hybrid product, which is based on the company’s earlier MP3 design, is expected to cost more than its predecessors. Gasoline-based MP3s range from the MP3 250, which costs $7,199, to the MP3 500, which runs $8,899, according to Piaggio’s web site.
Scooters, of course, are popular on crowded European streets, where Piaggio is said to control 25% of the scooter market. Honda and Yamaha are reportedly on the verge of releasing their own hybrid and electric scoters, however. Both have unveiled hybrid and electric prototypes.
Although Piaggio’s new product may be the first hybrid scooter, pure electric versions have been available previously. U.S.-based Vectrix Corp. introduced an electric scooter in 2003, the concept of which was hatched by two dozen Lockheed Martin engineers during the late 1990s.