2-stroke, 4-stroke, 6-stroke, go

San Diego inventor Bruce Crower is developing a super-efficient six-stroke engine that uses steam to create more power while cooling the engine. It sounds reasonable enough, and maybe useful for scooters or motorcycles, though the space and weight saved by removing the cooling system would be replaced with distilled water tank. I don’t know why, but this story brings to mind this Achewood strip or this Onion article.

Piaggio and ECN re-test FRESCO hydrogen fuel-cell scooter

FRESCO Piaggio X9 diagramAccording to Fuel Cell Today, Piaggio and the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) tested a newer version of their “Fuel-Cell Reduced Emission Scooter” (FRESCO) at Piaggio’s Pontedera testing ground on February 28, 2006. The FRESCO project, (download pdf) was based on the Piaggio X9 frame and is not to be confused with the Piaggio X8 and Vespa LX hybrid prototypes. The international collaboration was supported by Piaggio and started in 2002, officially ending in July 2005. The test in February was a continuation of the project–with assistance from the University of Pisa–with the goal of improving performance. The FRESCO scooter is entirely self-propelled by a hexagonally-shaped on-board hydrogen fuel cell, and creates zero emissions. While the specs weren’t listed in the new story, the original goal of the project was to create a vehicle capable of 75kmph and a range of 100km.

Piaggio Hybrids: more info

The Vespa LX50 HyS and Piaggio X8 125 HyS were designed in response to European Union specifications, as well as a growing number of urban zones that prohibit all emissions.

First it should be noted that the HyS prototypes feature all (if not more) of the conveniences and performance of their gas counterparts (albeit at a cost of helmet space and dry weight), and like US hybrid automobiles, generate electric power through braking and deceleration, which is in turn used to assist the gas motor, especially during acceleraton. This results in an alleged 25% increase in acceleration power, and an alleged 20% reduction in emissions. Not magical numbers, but respectable, and certainly a well-intentioned (or at least EU-mandated) step in the right direction. But there’s more.
Continue reading “Piaggio Hybrids: more info”

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.

Piaggio HyS Hybrid to be tested in Milan

The emotional rollercoaster for “green” scooter fans has reached a new high as life imitates April Fools Prank: Today, Piaggio SpA president Roberto Colaninno and Milan mayor Gabriele Albertini announced that two prototypes of the Piaggio HyS gas-electric hybrid-powered scooter will be tested by the City of Milan. This is the first we’ve heard of the HyS, a web search finds nothing but this undated, unsourced news clipping (PDF, in Italian).

Bajaj announces LPG/CNG-powered scooters, fights Chinese imitators

On the heels of the hybrid Vespa prank comes news regarding a real “green” scooter: Bajaj Auto announced today plans are underway to bring a liquid-propane/compressed-natural-gas-powered scooter to the market next year. Bajaj rival Kinetic plans to release two electric scooter models in 2007 (presumably after they get those Dragster 180s on line). Bajaj might look for design inspiration from China’s Chongqing Union Auto Co., who are already selling Bajaj-branded CNG-powered three-wheelers, without permission. Bajaj has promised to challenge Gaongqing, but trademark infringement justice is hard to come by in China.

RetroThing Hybrid Vespa GTS prank

2sb may not be the brightest or most knowlegeable scooter blog out there, but we like to think that with our Google News subscriptions and unhealthy amount of scooter site surfing, we more or less have our finger on the pulse of scootering. So imagine my surprise when i noticed out of the corner of my eye a tiny blurb in the corner of Finkbuilt (of all places) that Vespa had announced a hybrid Diesel/Electric GTS for 2007. The link took me to the Vespa GTS site in italian, on which I couldn’t make out anything about a hybrid model. I excitedly drooled all over my keyboard looking for info, but sadly eventually figured out it was a cruel April Fools’ joke from RetroThing that many other blogs had picked up. Reading the actual story, it’s clear it’s a joke (3-stroke!?) but that link sure had me going for a while.

GRO’s Electroscoot

Electric scooters, usually a heavy battery and a rubber belt jammed into a Chinese faux-Vino frame, don’t generally wow us here at 2sb, but GRO Design’s Electroscoot is an amazing design, even if it is just a concept and its specs don’t really set it apart from other electric bikes. But one can dream. (link courtesy Motoblog, where you can see photos without waiting for Flash.)