The main guidelines for research are functional to the Group achieving its objectives:
- development of sustainable mobility, through the study and placing on the market of advanced engines such as hybrid and electric engines;
- continual improvement of internal combustion engines (ICE); reduction of consumption and emissions through the improvement of energy efficiency; use of renewable non-fossil fuels;
- improvement of vehicles with the aim of making them more efficient, sustainable and safe; the study and introduction of new vehicle concepts;
- the study and introduction of devices for safety (active, passive and preventive) and comfort; connectivity as an integral part of preventive safety and comfort;
- the environmental compatibility of the product and process (Life Cycle Management).
The Piaggio Group has been a pioneer in electric mobility since the mid-1970s and is constantly seeking the most technologically advanced solutions, developed at its Research and Development Centres around the world. The Group sees the ability to combine robotics and software as key to improving future mobility systems in cities and, through its capabilities in the production of electric vehicles and the management of related infrastructure, intends to confirm its leadership in the revolution which is taking place.
As 2030 approaches, Piaggio has decided to embark on a path based mainly on electric technology1, pursuing its idea of Sustainable Mobility even more strongly.
"To achieve this goal, the large-scale adoption of electric vehicles, such as motorbikes, scooters and light commercial vehicles equipped with battery swap or plug-in technology, must be promoted, fostering a more sustainable battery life cycle management and greater environmental friendliness."2.
This strategy starts in Pontedera, where Piaggio set up its new eMobility department in 2021, dedicated to the development of two-, three- and four-wheeler vehicles and components for Sustainable Mobility. When fully operational, the department will have 40 electronic, mechanical and electrical engineers.
The first tangible result of this "new approach" is the Piaggio 1 electric scooter, to be marketed in 2021. This scooter features sophisticated technical solutions such as the HUB brushless motor (in the rear wheel), the removable battery to reset the charging time, digital instrumentation, the full-LED lighting system, keyless starting device, the helmet compartment under the seat, a streamlined construction and modern design. It is available in two versions:
- Piaggio 1 - Speed 45 km/h, range up to 55 km in ECO mode, up to 43 km in SPORT mode (WMTC cycle), continuous power 1.2 kW, 1.4 kWh easy-to-remove battery;
- Piaggio 1 Active - Speed 60 km/h, range up to 85 km in ECO mode, up to 66 km in SPORT mode (WMTC cycle), continuous power 2 kW, 2.3 kWh easy-to-remove battery.
Both types of battery are designed and built by Piaggio.
2020 saw the debut on the market of the Vespa Primavera Elettrica "motorcycle", boasting a better performance that is beyond the limit of the "moped" category. This development has made it possible to expand the base of customers looking for an environmentally friendly vehicle with a performance that is suitable for urban transit. In 2021, other models in this series were developed, and will be marketed in the coming years. The Vespa Elettrica was showcased at the Italian Pavilion of Expo Dubai (18.11.21), during the Dubai Design Week, as part of the ITALIA GENIALE3 exhibition. The exhibition was organised by ADI and ADI Design Museum for the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the General Commissariat for Expo 2020 Dubai, in association with UIBM Ufficio Italiano Brevetti e Marchi, Unioncamere and ITA/ICE Italian Trade Agency.
Ape e-City Full Electric
In December 2019, Piaggio launched the Ape e-City version with Full Electric engine on the Indian market. This important technical innovation for the model has been developed to meet a growing need for eco-friendly vehicles.
The Ape e-Cargo version, to flank the e-City model, will be introduced from the beginning of 2021, guaranteeing the availability of a full range of electric vehicles for passenger and goods transport, with the further aim of expanding sales on European and export markets.
The range of electrical products will be further enhanced in the coming years; There was a strong commitment to this area of R&D in 2021. However Piaggio's strategy for Sustainable Mobility not only targets technology and the end product, but also the system. This is why it announced two important cooperation initiatives in 2021.
Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC)
Following the signing of the Letter of Intent in March 2021, the Piaggio Group signed with HONDA Motor Co. Ltd., KTM F&E GmbH and YAMAHA Motor Co. Ltd. an official agreement for the foundation of the Swappable Batteries Motorcycle Consortium (SBMC). Piaggio and the other founding members of the Consortium believe that a system of standardised interchangeable batteries is a key factor in the development of electric mobility. The Consortium aims to promote the large-scale diffusion of light electric vehicles such as mopeds, scooters, motorcycles, tricycles and motor quadricycles, encouraging a more sustainable management of the life cycle of batteries, in line with international climate policies.
The Consortium aims to solve problems regarding the future of electric mobility, such as autonomy, charging times, infrastructure and costs, without losing sight of the four main objectives:
- the development of common technical specifications for interchangeable battery systems;
- verification of the possibility of sharing battery systems;
- the definition and promotion of the Consortium's common specifications, to be proposed as standards to European and international standardisation bodies;
- extension of the adoption of the Consortium's common specifications globally.
Memorandum of Understanding Piaggio-Bp4
On 25 October 2021, Piaggio and Bp signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop and implement a wide range of services to support the growing deployment of electric two- and three-wheeled vehicles in Europe, India and Asia, including the Indian affiliate Jio-Bp. Once opportunities for cooperation have been defined in detail, it will offer interchangeable charging and battery stations, as well as fully comprehensive services such as "Battery as a Service" (BaaS, the leasing, management and recycling of batteries) and "Vehicle as a Service" (VaaS, the leasing, repair, maintenance and intelligent energy management of vehicles). Activities and the focus will initially focus on the Indian market, where Jio-bp and the Piaggio Group are already engaged in developing solutions for electric vehicles, and will then explore growth opportunities in Asia (China, Indonesia and Vietnam) and Europe.
1Statement by Roberto Colaninno, Chairman and CEO of the Piaggio Group, at the presentation of the Moto Guzzi V100 (September 2021, adnkronos).
2Statement by Michele Colaninno, Chief of Strategy and Product of the Piaggio Group, in the Piaggio-BP joint press release (October 2021).
3Subtitle: “Design enables. Beauty, originality, creativity of a universally appreciated industrial design'.
4Bp p.l.c., formerly British Petroleum, is a UK company operating in the energy sector and especially the oil and natural gas sectors, where it is one of the four largest players worldwide (together with Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil and Total). The head office is in London.