Piaggio MP3 300ie Hybrid – First Look

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Piaggio MP3 300ie Hybrid – First Look

Piaggio MP3 300 Hybrid

Piaggio MP3 300ie Hybrid – First Look A three-wheel plug-in for the masses.

Piaggio’s three-wheeled scooter, the MP3, is apparently conquering the hearts and minds of motorists at a slower rate than hoped. This is surprising, given the objective merits of this unique vehicle and, specifically, its novel front end, which features two wheels that steer and tilt.

Whereas many scooters are high on Flash Gordon styling but poorly engineered, the MP3 is light years ahead, especially in active safety and ease of use by non-experienced riders. On a wet road, no two-wheeled vehicle can match the surefooted-ness of an MP3.

Despite the market’s lukewarm response, Piaggio is determined to promote the MP3 by continuing to broaden the range of models and, above all, making the MP3 a rolling technological showcase. Outstanding active safety and dynamic qualities are just the beginning.

A pair of hybrids represents the latest evolutionary step. The original MP3 Hybrid, powered by a 15-horsepower, fuel-injected, 124cc four-stroke Single mated to a high-torque electric motor, was a flop because, despite substantially invigorated low-end response, overall performance remained tame.

The new MP3 300ie Hybrid has much greater potential. For starters, it’s a real plug-in hybrid. The gasoline engine is the latest sohc 278cc Piaggio Quasar, a very compact and lightweight unit capable of 22.5 hp at 7500 rpm and 17.7 ft.-lb. peak torque at 5750 rpm.

The brushless, permanent-magnet electric motor fits in the hub of the rear wheel and delivers 3.5 hp and, more importantly, 11 ft.-lb. of torque.

These combined energies generate a total of 25 hp at 7500 rpm, while torque goes up to 20.3 ft.-lb. at 3500 rpm. The electric motor is fed by a 4 kW pack of lithium-ion batteries delivering 1.1 kW/h and recharged by the gasoline engine, a braking energy-recovery system or a conventional 12-volt outlet.

The rider can select from four power modes: Hybrid Power (full performance), Hybrid Charge (when battery levels are low), pure electric or electric reverse (for ease of maneuvering). Claimed range on pure electric propulsion is 12 miles at 20 mph. A complete re-charge using the supplied power cord takes about 3 hours.

Compared to the standard MP3 300ie, the Hybrid delivers more low-end response for quicker stoplight take-offs and superior ability to negotiate steep grades. Top-end performance isn’t improved because the absence of a transmission between the electric motor and rear wheel makes the motor spin too high at speed, drastically reducing its efficiency.

Further, the Hybrid weighs a claimed 567 lb. about 30 more than the MP3 500, and that takes its toll on handling, since the lithium-ion batteries are placed high in the trunk under the seat. In typical urban use, however, fuel efficiency doubles—up to 140-plus miles per gallon—and emissions are reduced by 50 percent.

Converted from Euros to dollars, suggested retail price for the MP3 300ie Hybrid is $9790. According to Piaggio, U.S. availability for both the 125 and 300cc versions of the MP3 is awaiting EPA homologation.

Piaggio MP3 300 Hybrid
Piaggio MP3 300 Hybrid
Piaggio MP3 300 Hybrid
Piaggio MP3 300 Hybrid
Piaggio MP3 300 Hybrid
Piaggio MP3 300 Hybrid

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