Italy's Piaggio unveils world's first hybrid scooter

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Rome (Italy), July 9 (ANI): Piaggio, the makers of classic scooter the Vespa, unveiled the world's first hybrid scooter-cum plug-in bike this week. It is the first to be powered by both petrol and electric motors.

The Sun was one of the first to get a peek at the new bike which is expected to be on sale in the UK by September.

The MP3 hybrid bike will go into mass production at the end of the summer and will allow riders to push a button to switch between a hybrid mode which uses petrol and electric power using purely electric drive.

Experts expect other major manufacturers, including Yamaha, Honda and Segway, to come out with both plug-in and petrol bikes.

The electric drive will be speed limited to 20 kilometres per hour. It is powered by a 124cc gasoline motor with the addition of a 2.6kW electric motor - and even includes a reverse gear for easier parking.

Using the electric motor alone it glides along virtually silently, but is limited to a top speed of just 30 km/h.

It's a comfortable ride, but in traffic it feels in need of the extra acceleration of the petrol engine - which can kick in at the click of a switch.

The battery takes five hours to recharge, but can be plugged into an ordinary 220 volt household plug with a small connector.

The hybrid bike's environmental credentials are promising - Piaggio claim it will manage 60km a litre, compared with an average of 26km a litre for the average mid size petrol scooter and its CO2 emissions are 40 grams per kilometre compared with 90grams per km for a similar petrol brand.

The big drawback is the price - expected to be between 8,000 and 9,000 pounds. (ANI)

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