Combining a two-stroke direct-injection gasoline engine with an electric motor and a plug-in capable battery pack gives the Piaggio USB (Urban Sport Bike) a very unique set of claimed performance characteristics. The combined torque is said to be around 150lb/ft (only slightly less than a Triumph Rocket III Roadster) and all it has to power is 130kg/287lbs. Piaggio says that light weight and the ability to recharge from a wall outlet gives it a scarcely believable fuel consumption figure of 157mpg.
Of course, it’s not just the numbers that get us all excited about the
USB, it’s also the looks. Adapting the feet-forward, laid back shape
made famous by the Akira bike, the USB packages those proportions into
an unprecedentedly compact package, it looks like it’s the same size as
a Vespa. Being a concept bike, cool details abound. We love the
headlights, windscreen, clamshell seat and the metal-ribbed foot rests.
All that creates what should, as Piaggio so vehemently expresses in
this release, be a near perfect urban commuter combining the pace of a
sportsbike, the comfort of a maxi-scooter, the size and weight of a
Vespa and the fuel consumption of a bicycle. Now let’s just see if they
can put it into production.
Here’s the press release:
At EICMA 2009, Piaggio explores the idea of urban mobility of the future: the result is Piaggio USB, a prototype, an exercise of style, a workshop of solid ideas.
Designed by the Style Centre of Pontedera, directed by Marco Lambri, Piaggio USB takes our references beyond the boundaries of existing categories, combining ecology, pleasure, safety and connectivity to give shape to an original and innovative, two-wheeled mobility proposal for the third millennium.
Piaggio has always stood for innovation on two wheels. This has been the case ever since Corradino D’Ascanio’s intuitive spirit who, more than sixty years ago, created the scooter par excellence – the Vespa – a bestseller whose philosophy of construction and use has been reinterpreted by different models, such as Beverly, up to the most technological scooter – MP3 Hybrid – the first scooter incorporating a parallel hybrid propulsion system, with three wheeled technology and Ride By Wire accelerator.
In line with this tradition, Piaggio has now developed Piaggio USB (Urban Sport Bike), a prototype that represents the synthesis and, at the same time, the potential evolution of the idea of urban mobility on two wheels. It is designed to offer an innovative solution where environmental protection, safety, fun driving and connectivity become the key to the cities of the future.
A hybrid of shapes, technologies, motor vehicle architecture: Piaggio USB breaks the mould and stands as a new species in the metropolitan scenario of the future.
In a world where the range of vehicles is constantly changing, Piaggio USB draws inspiration from the scooter, motorcycle and car world. Its design, whose distinguishing feature is its pure and sinuous shape, draws from worlds that are not the ones that are conventionally referred to for two-wheeled scooters. Its enveloping shape turns the scooter driver into the protagonist and conceals what is superfluous. Man is once again the centre of attention and the vehicle becomes a modern instrument to move SMARTLY in all conditions.
The benefits of innovative ergonomics, scooter-typical protection and convenience are combined with motorcycle dynamism. Rationality and excitement merge into fluid and dynamic shapes. Piaggio USB is incredibly sinuous and its smooth surfaces make it a quick, dynamic scooter, ready to take over any road.
Easy and intuitive, light and compact, Piaggio USB is designed to offer the convenience of a scooter and the comfort of a compact car, without giving up sporty and fun driving. Utmost comfort is guaranteed by its highly protective surfaces, ensuing from a smooth and aerodynamic design, and by its ergonomic seat, an innovative position that is halfway between a scooter and a car.
The prototype can develop into three different configurations: single-seater, like a sporty vehicle, two-seater like a coupé, or with top-box, for the highest load capacity.
Innovation and distinction, in line with Piaggio’s outstanding tradition, both in its design and technology.
The propulsion is guaranteed by a power-pack made up of an evolved 2T GDI heat engine, coupled with an innovative electric machine installed in the back wheel. The electric propulsion makes the most of the innovative quality of nanotechnologies, thus offering top performances and top reliability.
The series hybrid configuration, with plug-in option, has been devised to ensure an average speed of use of 60 Km/h, and an over 100 Km/h maximum speed.
For the electric propulsion only, the 2.5 Kw/h lithium-polymer batteries installed in the vehicle guarantee a 50 Km endurance at a cruising speed of 60 Km/h.
In performance terms, the power pack stands out for its high torque values – around 200 Nm – that guarantee excellent acceleration and very low consumption – around 1.5 l every 100 Km.
By making the most of the plug-in option, the vehicle turns into a ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle).
Its weight – less than 130 Kg – its high torque values and its low centre of gravity make Piaggio USB an easy and fun-to-drive, other than an eco-friendly vehicle.