The Chevy Volt just had a little of its thunder stolen
The Chevy Volt just had a little of its thunder stolen.
Paolo Timoni, President and CEO of Piaggio Group Americas — maker of the
Piaggio and Vespa brands of motor scooters — confirmed to FOXNews.com
that the company is planning to sell a plug-in hybrid version of one of
its vehicles in the United States starting in early 2010. If the
gas-electric scooter makes it into showrooms on schedule, it will be the
first plug-in hybrid vehicle to go on sale in the U.S., beating the Volt
to market by several months, at least.
During an exclusive interview on FOXNews.com's "The Strategy Room,"
Timoni told the "FOX Car Report LIVE!" program that Piaggio is currently
going through the certification process for the scooter with the
National Highway and Transportation Safety Association. It is also
scheduled to go on sale in Europe later this year.
According to Piaggio, the three-wheel scooter will travel several miles
on battery power alone, and get up to 141 miles per gallon overall,
which would make it one of the most fuel efficient vehicles ever made.
The parallel hybrid design combines a 125cc engine and an electric motor
in a similar way to the powertrain in the Toyota Prius, and should be
capable of accelerating the scooter from 0-60 mph in about 5 seconds. It
can be charged from a standard 110 volt electrical outlet, and uses a
combination of regenerative braking and several adjustable hybrid modes
to charge the battery on the move, balancing performance and efficiency
to the tastes of the rider.
The hybrid is based on Piaggio’s line of MP3 scooters which have one
wheel in back and two in the front that tilt when it turns, much like a
traditional two-wheel motorcycle. The design gives it added stability at
speed, and allows it to stand up without a kickstand when stopped.
Pricing has not been set, but Timoni says to expect the MP3 hybrid to
cost $8,000-$9,000 when it hits showrooms next year, about the same
price as the current top of the line MP3 models.