Hybrid Motorcycles and Scooters

By: On: July 2nd, 20080 Comments »Updated: December 17, 2011

Ok, you may have caught on to this already, but scooters and mopeds, including electric scooters, are selling like hot-cakes since gas prices climbed so high.  In the not-so-distant past you might not have considered riding a scooter or moped, but money talks.  Think about how much you could save by spending only a quarter of the amount (or less) that you currently spend to drive to and from work each day.  What might have looked silly before, suddenly is looking pretty wise now.

At a Vespa dealer in the American southeast, they say their sales so far this year have increased 40% over last year.  It’s easy to imagine they will do even better in the very near future.

There are loads of choices for scooters now, including 2-stroke engines, 4-stroke engines, and electric powered scooters.  Electric scooters are now available with decent re-chargeable batteries.  Vectrix is a popular brand today for electric scooters (or electric motorcycles depending how you want to define motorcycle), and these have also been catching on for police use.  You can read more about electric motorcycles in my article “The Newest Electric Motorcycles”.

Rules about driving scooters on the road varies by country and by state; however, the general rule in the US is that if it has a top speed of 30 mph or less, then it is classified as a Moped, and you likely won’t need a motorcycle license.

Most every major manufacturer of motorcycles also offers scooters.  Most look alike, but there are some that have a unique style to them, including a more rugged, off-road lok to them.  Some try to look like sport motorcycles.  More variety will come to the scooter market as the popularity of scooters increases.  The variety of scooter accessories will likely increase also.

As if getting 80 or 100 mpg isn’t enough, electric and hybrid powered scooters are being developed now by several companies.  Since scooters are fairly simple forms of transportation, companies that have ambitions to develop alternative energy powered cars can start out small with scooters before they have to cough up the huge amount of money it takes to put a new car on the market.

One example of a company doing this are Hybrid Dynamics Corporation, who very recently hired the former director of sales planning and operations from Ducati Motorcycles of North America according to Businesswire.  Hybrid Dynamics is planning a few different scooters and eventually a hybrid car they are referring to as the EH1.  This same company acquired Delaware American Motorcycles (DAM), so they appear to be serious about becoming a player for motorcycles and scooters.

Another example is Intelligent Energy located in the UK.  As part of their r&d efforts into fuel cells, they are developing a motorcycle, called the ENV, in a partnership with Suzuki.  This hydrogen fuel cell powered bike is rated with a top speed of 50mph and a range of 100 miles.  The bummer is that there are only a few working prototypes and it is not on the market as of yet.

Even the new movie, Get Smart, includes action featuring Vespa Scooters.  Vespa, and their sister brand Piaggio, are working hard to stay out front with design and technology.  The Piaggio MP3 three-wheeled scooter is on the streets and gathering attention.  We’ll be seeing a lot more exciting technology and who ever thought this technical motorcycle info would be in the form of electric scooters or hybrid scooters?

About John Clay

John Clay is the author of MotorcycleInfo.Org. He and his family reside in North Carolina in the United States. A graduate of the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's Experienced Rider Course, he enjoys riding his Moto Guzzi in charity rides and serves as a volunteer motorcycle marshal for an annual bicycle charity event in the Carolinas.

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