Piaggio announces 170mpg MP3 Hybrid trike

Twin-engined scooter should appeal to sharp-dressed Segway crowd

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With two engines and three wheels, the new Piaggio MP3 Hybrid has to be one of the craziest hybrid vehicles we've seen.

Unveiled at the EICMA bike show in Milan, the MP3 Hybrid combines a 125cc powerhouse with a plug-in mains-chargeable electric engine.

Riders can choose to operate in hybrid mode, getting up to 170mpg and emitting just 40g/km of carbon dioxide, or cruise in ZEV (zero emission vehicle) mode on electricity alone.

Electric avenue

The four-stroke engine is normally catalysed with electric start, automatic transmission and Ride-by-Wire electronic control.

In normal operation, the petrol engine will charge the battery as you flit from gelato van to espresso cafe - and use regenerative charging to boost it further when braking.

A built-in mains charger means the MP3 simply plugs in at home, with a very reasonable recharge time of just three hours. There's no details yet on its ZEV range on pure electricity.

Wired reports that acceleration from 0-60mph takes a nippy 5 seconds, with electric power boosting initial acceleration up to 85%. Well worth a look when it hits showrooms shortly...