Piaggio Launches Two Plug-In Hybrid Vespa Scooters
14 April 2006
|The Vespa LX50 HyS.|
Piaggio, the Italian manufacturer of the iconic Vespa scooter, has introduced two plug-in hybrid prototypes based on the standard Vespa LX 50 and X8 125 models.
The HyS (Hybrid Scooter) models are parallel hybrids, combining four-stroke combustion engines with electric motors. The electric motor provides power assist, supplying a 25% boost in power for acceleration over the first few meters (a good feature for lunging through urban traffic), while at the same time supporting a 20% decrease in fuel consumption.
The rider uses all the normal controls (accelerator, brakes and additional handlebar commands) as well as a specific switch to choose one of four operating modes:
- Standard hybrid
- High-charge hybrid
- Low-charge hybrid
|A close-up of the HyS system on the X8 HyS.|
In the first three modes the HyS manages power output from the engine and the motor using a drive-by-wire type system. The electronic management system interprets the rider’s request for more torque and selects the assist ratio based on the battery’s state of charge.
Regenerative braking recharges the batteries.
In standard-hybrid mode the battery charge is maintained at optimal traction levels (batteries at 75%). The high-charge hybrid function is geared to maximize the range of the electric motor (batteries at 95%).
If, on the other hand, the rider wishes to recharge the batteries using the 220V battery charger by plugging into a power outlet, he or she can use the low-charge hybrid mode (batteries at 20%) to obtain maximum performance with minimum consumption. (Charging time is about three hours.)
In electric-only mode, the Piaggio HyS shuts down the combustion engine and turns into a silent, zero-emission electric vehicle—an important consideration for those European cities that are increasingly placing restrictions on emitting vehicles.
The control system not only manages the combined power output of the engine and motor, but also forces the engine to work when it can be most efficient, thereby reducing specific consumption, with advantages in terms of lower consumption and emissions.
The traction batteries are hidden in the under-seat storage space, which is sufficiently large on the X8 125 HyS to also hold a helmet. The Vespa LX 50 HyS hybrid prototype comes with a top case to hold the helmet.
|Vespa LX50 HyS||X8 125 HyS|
|Engine||Single-cylinder Piaggio Hi-Per 50cc, 4-stroke, 2-valve||Single cylinder Piaggio Leader 125cc, 4 stroke, 4 valve|
|Motor/generator||1 kW||2.5 kW|
|Distance range||Up to 20 km (at 25 km/h)||Up to 20 km (at 35 km/h)|
|Batteries||2 standard 12V, 26Ah batteries for a total of 24V, 26Ah||3 standard 12V, 26Ah batteries for a total of 36V, 26Ah|
(A hat-tip to stomv!)
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