So much attention has been paid to hybrid cars, but the environmental benefits of a Toyota Prius will seem meek in comparison to Piaggio's pending line of hybrid scooters. The maker of the popular Vespa family of scooters is set to hit the market next year with its new HyS system that combines a hybrid combustion engine with an all-electric one to create a vehicle that gets up to 140 mpg.
During normal operation, the low-emission, high-efficiency combustion engine charges the electric unit, which can be tapped for extra power during starts. The electric engine also can power the scooter in a silent, emissions-free mode for up to about 12 miles. Three of Piaggio's models will be equipped with the HyS system: the Vespa LX, the Piaggio X8, and the three-wheeled MP3. Pricing has not been set yet.
Of course, most of us won't look anywhere near as good as the model pictured with the MP3 above, but we also won't look nearly as dorky as someone riding a solar-powered scooter.