Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Yamaha unveils hybrid electric motorcycle and limousine scooter

October 28, 2005 Yamaha revealed a hybrid motorcycle concept at the Tokyo Show which is quite unlike any form of two wheeler seen to date. The motorcycle, to be known as the Gen-Ryu, uses the high output lightweight compact YZF-R6 600cc motor and an electric motor to deliver the type of performance normally associated with a much larger capacity engine, and is packaged as a futuristic cruiser with advanced aerodynamics and some form of noise cancelling in the cockpit area to enable voice activation of the navigation system, mobile telephone, intercom communications with the pillion and other similarly equipped riders plus a dazzling array of advanced technologies such as headlights which turn to the inside of the corner and rear cameras playing through LCD screens in the dashboard.

The Gen-Ryu was joined on the Yamaha stand by the previously reported and equally radical stretching and shrinking DEINONYCHUS and the limousine-styled Maxam scooter. With massive overhangs, plush white leather upholstery and long, feet-first styling, the Maxam is the most distinctive two wheeler we’ve ever seen.

Honda's Building a Hybrid Motorcycle

Honda Motor Co., the world's leading motorcycle manufacturer, is developing a gas-electric motorcycle that would use a hybrid drivetrain much like the one in the forthcoming Honda Insight, and it could be in showrooms within two years.
Startups like Zero Motorycles and Brammo already offer electric motorcycles, but the major manufacturers have been slow to join the party because they've considered the engineering challenges too great for mass-market bikes. But according to Japan's Mainichi Times, Honda says it's figured out how to make the drivetrains work without breaking the bank.
Not only does the company think it can make an electric engine small enough to fit in the narrow confines of a motorcycle frame, but it plans to offer full electric bikes as early as 2011.

The Times didn't offer a lot of detail but says Honda will offer the hybrids in displacements ranging from 50 cc to 1,000 cc, and the gas-electric drivetrain will offer a 50 percent improvement in fuel economy. Sharing components with Honda's hybrid cars will cut down on production costs.

The idea isn't as crazy as it might sound. Both Honda and Yamaha are working on electric motorcycles. Honda plans to use lithium-ion batteries that will provide a range of about 60 miles. Although that's not nearly enough for a day of touring or canyon carving, it's more than enough for commuting around town. Yanking the gasoline engine out of something like the Cub -- the best-selling vehicle ever -- and replacing it with an electric motor seems like a no-brainer. Yamaha plans to have its e-bikes on the market by 2010.

It'll be interesting to see what direction Honda takes with hybrid motorcycles. Will it go for maximum efficiency like the Insight, or will it use the torque provided by an electric motor to boost acceleration like Mercedes-Benz and BMW are doing with the S 400 BlueHybrid and 7-Series Active Hybrid luxo-barges? And will we see a gas-electric version of the venerable Interceptor?

Piaggio MP3 Hybrid 3-Wheel Scooter

Folks who residing in Italy and Spain will be able to see the new Piaggio’s MP3 three-wheeled hybrid scooter later this summer. The Li-Ion rechargeable batter ( required up to 4 hours of full charge) provides up to 12 miles of travel, but you can get more miles by rely on the MP3’s single cylinder, 250cc gas-powered engine. The Piaggio also include regenerative braking in the package and when used gas-powered engine, it’ll able to travel for up to 140 miles per gallon at low speeds. It’ll available in Europe later this year with a price range of €8,000 to €10,000.

Piaggio has said that a new hybrid version of its MP3 three-wheeled scooter will debut in Italy and Spain later this summer. We'd wager a guess that the €150 million in low-interest loans from the European Investment Bank to Piaggio late last year spurred on the vehicle's development somewhat. The new hybrid scooter will reportedly be capable of about 12 miles using nothing but electricity, but the MP3's single cylinder, 250cc 125cc gas-powered engine will be able to kick in and provide extended range when necessary. Regenerative braking is also included in the package.

The MP3's electric motor should also provide a usable boost in performance, especially at low speeds, all the while promoting fuel mileage that could be as high as 140 miles per gallon. A lithium ion battery pack will be used by the MP3 Hybrid, which will take up to 4 hours to recharge and likely accounts for a large portion of the scooter's expected price range of €8,000 to €10,000 when it goes on sale later this year in Europe.

Piaggio's Hybrid Vespa MP3

Piaggio MP3, the most awaited scooter by the makers of Vespa, is a three wheeled hybrid, provides safety, road grip and stability, incomparable with a two wheeler.

The two front wheels, tilt independently, maneuvering with much comfort on wet roads and tough riding conditions. It takes on cobble stone streets, tram tracks with the greatest of ease, remaining safe and stable all the while. The braking distance is 20% less any traditional scooter.

It doesn’t require a kickstand as it has a electro-hydraulic suspension locking system.

An environment friendly electric engine that has a linked gas engine runs non stop on electricity for 20 kms and then with a switch on the handle bar, it is turned into a combustion engine, which recharges the battery along with. Similarly, the electric engine mode can be turned on seamlessly with a switch on the handle bar.
Being in the gas mode one can still switch on to the electric mode, giving 85% more power. A mileage of 170 miles per gallon, the scooter can be charged at any plug in for 3 hrs and one can ride for 20 kms non stop on electric power.

CO2 emissions are 65% for the hybrid mode and 35% for the electric mode.
A battery charge indicator on the dashboard, the battery can be charged using 220V battery charger. The traction battery is neatly tucked under the seat with space enough to hold a helmet.

The long wait has ended and the powerful 250cc engine scooter is now available in stores for $7000, much higher than other scooters in this category. But the company is hopeful that with rising gasoline prices this model will attract a large number. Soon the comapany might upgrade it to a whooping 500cc.