Click above for more high-res shots of the Piaggio MP3 hybrid

Piaggio has been making scooters for decades, but much of its legacy lies with dirty 2-stroke machines. More recently, Piaggio's best two- and three-wheelers have used clean, efficient 4-stroke powerplants, but the company has designs on improving emissions and fuel economy even further by using hybrid drivetrains and electric motors for its scooters. We've seen the first fruits of this labor already in the form of the hybrid MP3, but these developments are extremely expensive. Compounding matters even further, the global market for all types of vehicles is down, regardless of size or the number of wheels. To help Piaggio stay at the forefront of technology, the European Investment Bank has granted the Italian company low-interest loans totaling €150 million, which are supposed to be paid back withing 7 years. Besides eco-friendly improvements, the money will also be put to good use funding the research and development of new safety features.



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