Friday, November 5, 2010

Piaggio NT3 Concept targets the TATA Nano

At this week's 2010 Milan Motorcycle Show (EICMA), Piaggio presented the NT3 Concept, a three-seater four-wheel mini that could become the TATA Nano's biggest competitor in emerging markets like India or Vietnam.

Despite its small size (it only measures 2.4 meters in length), the NT3 is a highly versatile vehicle, with multiple cabin configurations, also made possible by the center driving position. It uses a spaceframe architecture with crashbox, meaning that it's safer than it looks. Power comes from internal combustion engines or a hybrid powertrain.

The smallest one has a capacity of 200 cc and it was created with economy in mind. It is followed by a more powerful 300 cc variant and a hybrid, which combines the more potent conventional engine with an electric motor.

The two can work together and propel the NT3 to a top speed of 80 km/h (50 mph). In "electric only mode" the car's top speed is 30 km/h or 19 mph.

Piaggio says that the NT3 can do more than 30 km with 1 liter of fuel – 3.33 lt/100 km or 71 US mpg –, though it's not known with which engine. In any case, the Italian manufacturer promises low operating costs and emissions.

The Italian maker, best known for its Vespa scooters, said the NT3 could enter the market in the next three years, but hasn't made any final decisions yet.

By Csaba Daradics

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