Piaggio Hybrids: Vespa LX50 HyS and Piaggio X8 HyS


Our report yesterday of “two prototypes” of Piaggio hybrids should have read “Prototypes of two hybrid models:” the Vespa LX50 HyS and PiaggioX8 125 HyS:

Vespa LX50 HyS photos
Piaggio X8 125 HyS photos


X8 125 4-stroke HyS

Combustion Engine
Single cylinder Piaggio Hi-Per 50cc, 4 stroke, 2 valve

Combustion Engine
Single cylinder Piaggio Leader 125cc, 4 stroke, 4 valve
Electric Motor
Functions as an electric motor as well as a generator, power 1 kW
Electric Motor
Functions as an electric motor as well as a generator, power 2.5 kW
Distance range
Up to 20 km (at 25 km/h)
Distance range
Up to 20 km (at 35 km/h)
2 standard 12V, 26Ah batteries for a total of 24V, 26Ah
3 standard 12V, 26Ah batteries for a total of 36V, 26Ah
Battery charger
Included in the electronics, allows the traction battery to be charged while running or by plugging into a 220V socket
Engine control
Drive-by-wire: the electronics interpret and manage rider’s demands based on the state of the system
Acceleration time reduced by approx. 10%
Energy recovery
System recovers battery power during deceleration and braking
Consumption and costs
Reduction of at least 20%. Using electrical recharge, consumption and running costs are half those of a traditional vehicle

More info about how they work.

14 thoughts on “Piaggio Hybrids: Vespa LX50 HyS and Piaggio X8 HyS”

  1. WARNING, stupid questions follow:
    So the electrical system is a suppliment to the regular gas engine, giving about “20%” improvement in mileage? That’s not very impressive. What is the “distance range,” the total range of the bike with gas/electric or the electric range after gas is totally run out and it’s strictly electric? I’d hope the latter because that range and those speeds are shit.

    It seems that Piaggio’s modern engines are not very fuel efficient in general (I’ve seen 45-60mpg quoted for the ET2 50 and ET4 150), they’re always comparing them to cars, where of course they’ll look good, but compared to some other scooters, they seem unimpressive. A 50cc scooter should be getting 70-100+ mpg unless it’s tuned for performance. The PGO 150 that I rode at 70-75 mph wide-open throttle for hours was getting at least 70mpg.

  2. I have more info, I’ll post it tonight, I just wanted to get some info out quickly, because this is pretty exciting news, even if it is (maybe) only a small stepping stone towards greener scooters.

  3. Has anyone ever pushed around one of those EVT vino clones. They weigh a ton. Now add a gas tank and 4 stroke motor. I imagine that that LX will top out at 25 mph and weigh well over 300 lbs. Wait, I read the specs: range 12 miles at 15 mph for those metrically impaired. If an engineer was involved they should have their license taken away. All that sounds negative but I concur with Mr. Noise’s stepping stone sentiment. It’s also very interesting to see the MotoGP technology of ‘drive by wire’ trickling down to hybrid scooters!! But I wonder if it’s true or if it’s cable and sensor operated.

  4. So if you read the rest of the info I posted tonight, you’ll see the “12 miles at 15mph” spec is for electric-only mode. Still not very impressive next to, say, an eGo electric bike, but you’ve still got the gas motor in there too. The emissions/gas/acceleration specs aren’t earth-shattering, either (as Brooke points out, most of any improvement will be spent lugging the batteries around) but I’ll say it again, it’s a start, and the cachet of the name “Vespa” attached to it should speed up the greenification of scooters as celebrities and news agencies jump on the story (You won’t see Bajaj’s natural gas scooter posed next to Patricia Arquette in Vanity Fair anytime soon, and Ed Begley Jr. has surely already surely ordered several HySes).

  5. The x8 starts life at 340 lbs, heavy for a 125, but it does share the same platform with the X9, The image they keep showing is of the Lx50, the smaller and far more anemic of the two. They fit 26 A/H batteries x3 – That equals 3 x 24 LBS. That’s an additional 72 lbs. of just battery. Add the regenerative braking system and 2.5KW electric motor and you’ve got to be tipping the scales at well over 450 lbs.

    All this for a 20% increase in overall efficiency? From a scooter that Piaggio optimistically claims 75 mpg now (at 37 mph) that brings efficiency up to 90 mpg (if you can keep riding at 37 mph). Did they make their estimation on the bike at stock weight or with the additional tonnage of the Hybrid system. There are no shortage of 125cc bikes out there that get 90 mpg (even going faster than 37 mph).

    From Insight to Prius and everything in between, the added cost of the Hybrid systems and increased costs in repair / parts in the long run will not save you money over the similar vehicle without the hybrid systems.

    I predict an expensive, heavy, slow, scooter that will cost tons to repair, be a nightmare to work on and will cost you double your lifetime fuel costs the first time you have to replace those 3 giant batteries.

    Skip this awkward, in-between phase and let’s jump straight to hydrogen fuel cell technology. Hybrids will be the Betamax of the future.


  6. I agree that it’s a step in the right direction. I think that this prototype could be greatly improved with better battery technology. If batteries could get cut in weight by 75% then it would start to make sense. I guess that’s why they call it a prototype; it will hopefully get a lot better.

    I have doubts about the long term relavance or savings of hybrids like the Prius. Everyone ignores what the environmental production and disposal costs will be. This could be an even bigger problem with higher number of small units (like scooters) than fewer large units (like cars) in these emission free zones. I see all this being swept under the rug even more that vehicle companies make more money off of financing their product than from the product themselves. The end result of gov’t funded disposal will just be another form of corporate welfare. i’m rambling now…

  7. All good points. I agree that the ‘best” technology is probably not in the auto/cycle industry’s (or government’s) best interests, and thus corporations, lobbyists, trade organizations, unions, and the government all are scrambling to propose solutions to appease the public while serving their interests, with actual environmental altruism coming in a distant third. But that’s how things work, so I think it’s worthwhile to embrace anything we can get, while pressing for better technology in the future. Using PJ as an example, demanding a vegan meal at a middle-of-nowhere diner will get you a boring house salad without dressing, but if you don’t eat that salad, you’re gonna go hungry, and hopefully, eventually, if enough customers are polite but vocal about what they’d like to eat, the restaurant will expand their menu to keep you coming back. Probably with a Gardenburger. but progress takes time.

    Phil, your “not that cost effective” argument could be extended to scooters in general.Brooke (and others) have posted here (and elsewhere) about the “real savings” of owning a scooter, let alone a hybrid.

    I still laugh that people think electricity doesn’t pollute (it just pollutes out in the suburbs somewhere) or use expendable fuels. Sure there’s solar and wind and hydro, but what percentage of the country’s electric supply comes from alternative energy sources?

    Brooke, I’d really like you to do a proper study about the myth that scooters make economic and ecological sense, but the results would be too heartbreaking to read, i imagine.

  8. I’m naming my next band “actual environmental altruism ” thank Bryan!

  9. With all the interest in these hybrids, I’m surprised the Oxygen isn’t better represented in the “mainstream” scooter press.

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