ITALY: Piaggio four-wheeler could target Nano and Smart

By just-auto.com editorial team | 4 November 2010

Piaggios three-seat concept looks ready for production

Piaggio's three-seat 'concept' looks ready for production

Piaggio, best known for scooters, has unveiled a four-wheel, three-seat concept vehicle which it said was "designed to meet mobility needs in areas with the highest development rates, specifically in India, Vietnam and South East Asia".

The model line, including a hybrid version, may also be seen in crowded European cities, Piaggion chairman Roberto Colaninno said.

Piaggio plans to launch the low-consumption, low-polluting vehicle on the market in the next three years but has so far made no decisions on where to produce the vehicle, nor where it will start selling, nor the price, Colaninno told Reuters at a Milan motorcycle show.

"We have not thought of the Nano for India even less the Smart," Colaninno said when asked about possible competitors.

The car responds to the needs of the Indian market, where Piaggio's Ape three-wheeler is widely sold, but could be produced first in India or Vietnam where Piaggio produces Vespa models, Colaninno said.

Power will come from 200 cc or 300 cc motors, and a hybrid with the 300cc engine plus electric alternative, with the 200 cc offering speeds of up to 60km/h (about 35mph), sufficient for the Indian market, commercial executive Maurizio Marcacci said.

"The idea of the project was developed in India to deal with traffic in big cities. It is for big cities in Asia and Europe. I have very high numbers in mind in India," Colaninno said, adding the project had been developed 100% by Piaggio.

Piaggio said the 2.4m long NT3 people carrier version can carry three (central driver with two passengers behind).

Based on the Ape three-wheel commercial vehicle popular in India and southern Europe, it's built around a space frame structure with crash box in order to guarantee maximum protection of the occupants and can travel over 30km (20 miles) on a litre of fuel.

The 300cc hybrid engine version can reach 80km/h (50mph)) and up to 30km/h (20mph) in the ZEV electric only mode. Piaggio already uses the hybrid drivetrain for two-wheel models.