HYBRID ENGINE FOR THE LX
PIAGGIO HyS (Hybrid Scooter)
Environmental issues and the need for environment-friendly transport have always been a priority for Piaggio. The company has launch today an hybrid engine that will undoubtedly revolutionise urban transport. These are not merely ‘dual-engine scooters’ — they are absolutely innovative vehicles that match a traditional thermal engine with low environmental impact to a zero-emissions electric engine to create a winning combination. Piaggio’s HyS prototypes are based on the standard Vespa LX, X8 and MP3 models. The Hybrid Scooter is an environment-friendly ‘all-rounder’ with low running costs.
Scooters has come to symbolise urban mobility: they’re the ideal way to zip through congested town traffic and fun to use on weekend trips.
In recent years, however, many towns have tackled the need to reduce pollution by creating an increasing number of restricted traffic zones, where even scooters are banned entry. Manufacturers have responded with zero-emissions electric vehicles for unrestricted travel.
Thermal and electric engines both have advantages and disadvantages that are often complementary. Combustion engines offer better range, power and ‘lunge’, but give out exhaust gas, although the current Euro 3 norm place strict limits on these. Electric engines are zero-emission and offer very quick pick-up from a stopped position, but the batteries have low range and limited speed.
With the Piaggio HyS, riders no longer have to choose between performance and environment friendliness or between a vehicle to commute in town and one for longer trips.
HyS is a revolutionary hybrid scooter prototype, a marked evolution as regards urban transport that combines the advantages of gasoline and electric engines.The Piaggio HyS does not merely put two engine types on a single vehicle. The two engines are part of a sophisticated system that combines combustion engine power and electric motor pick-up. This hybrid scooter can go into restricted traffic zones and travel out of town. It’s two scooters in one — practical, easy, fun all-round transport.
Two engines in one
Piaggio HyS is a “parallel” hybrid in which a combustion engine and an electric motor are mechanically and electronically linked and simultaneously supply power to the wheel.In this linked gas/electric engine, the gasoline engine behaves like a normal catalysed four-stroke engine with excellent performance and distance range on the one hand and low emissions and fuel consumption on the other. The automatic gearbox, electric ignition and automatic start provide the usual zip and ease of use in town as well as out-of-town trips. The gas engine offers sparkling performance in standard running, charging the electric motor all the while. And, whenever the rider needs to accelerate particularly fast — when starting from a stopped position, for example — the electric motor assists the engine, supplying about 85% extra performances that gives the vehicle snappier, more efficient acceleration over the first few metres, when it is really needed in town riding.
In-built electronic management combines the two engines to offer not only better acceleration but also about a reduction in fuel consumption (up to 60 km/l) and in CO2 emissions, only 40 g/km (using 65% the hybrid modes and 35% the electric one).The Piaggio HyS is not your average hybrid engine: other scooters may stop, but the HyS keeps going, quick and silent, because it can also work in electric-only mode with a range up to 20 km.
The rider simply turns a handlebar switch to shut down the combustion engine and turn the Piaggio HyS into a totally environment-friendly scooter, a zero-emissions vehicle that can go into any area closed to other types of traffic. Another turn of the switch and the thermal engine turns itself on and goes back to being the main engine, charging the battery as it travels through areas open to normal traffic.
The scooter’s range can be optimised in the garage by charging the battery from an electricity source using the 220V battery charger. This reduces running costs, electricity being cheaper than gasoline.
Technology at the turn of a switch
The Piaggio HyS uses very innovative, avant-garde technical solutions but remains incredibly easy and intuitive to use.
The rider uses all the normal controls (accelerator, brakes and additional handlebar commands) as well as a specific switch to choose one of the different operating modes: three hybrid, one electric-only and the reverse.
In the first three modes the HyS manages power output from the two engines, thermal and electric, using a drive-by-wire type system: the electronic management system (SGE) interprets the rider’s request for more torque and selects the assist ratio based on the state of the system (e.g. the level of battery charge). During deceleration and braking, the control system recovers and accumulates power that is lost on normal vehicles in the battery.
The three hybrid modes are conceived to optimize performances, consumption and battery charge.
In electric-only mode, the Piaggio HyS shuts down the combustion engine and turns into a silent, zero-emission electric vehicle.
Drive-by-wire technology not only allows the control system to optimally manage the combined power output of the two engines but also ‘forces’ the thermal engine to work when it can be most efficient, thereby reducing specific consumption, with obvious advantages in terms of lower consumption and emissions.
All this technology is neatly tucked away. The three Piaggio HyS versions look like any standard Vespa LX, Piaggio X8 or MP3.
On X8 and MP3 versions the traction batteries are hidden in the under-seat storage space, which is sufficiently large to also hold a helmet. The Vespa LX hybrid prototype comes with a top case to hold the helmet.
There is a battery charge indicator on the dashboard. The battery can be recharged from an electricity source by inserting a normal cable into the plug provided for this purpose. Charging time is about three hour.