Electrified three-wheeled scooters that tilt into turns occupy one of the more interesting spaces when it comes to futuristic vehicle design. Sitting somewhere between a motorbike and a traditional motorcar, they could form part of a sustainable future for cities by offering a little privacy along with a relatively small footprint. Peugeot has hit on these key points with a new hybrid scooter built to weave its way through urban centers and hum along at freeway speeds when the time is right.

Groupe PSA's Peugeot PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) scooter was developed as part of the "Efficient Urban LIght Vehicle" (EU-LIVE) European consortium, an urban mobility project involving 12 partners from six countries. The consortium aims to standardize a European approach for the design, development and building of electric L-category vehicles, which consists of motorbikes, mopeds and all-terrain vehicles with three or four wheels.

The scooter is powered by two electric in-wheel motors along with an internal combustion engine, which combine with a 48 V Samsung battery to offer a total range of 300 km (186 mi). The electric motors handle city driving at speeds of up to 70 km/h (43.5 mph), but on the wide open road the 31-kW single-cylinder gasoline engine takes over to nudge the scooter up to 130 km/h (80 mph).

With a footprint of 2.4 x 0.85 m (7.8 x 2.7 ft), the scooter is based on the architecture of a tricycle and Groupe PSA says its hydraulic tilting system should make it as easy to drive as a regular ol' three-wheeler. For those looking at the images and thinking "that looks more like four wheels than three," you'd be correct, but Groupe PSA says it will still be categorized as a three-wheeler.

"The PSA Hybrid plug-in light vehicle is classified as an L5 Tricyle," explains Laure de Servigny, Groupe PSA spokesperson. "It's a question of the distance between the wheels that must measure less than 460 mm."

Since the rear wheels of the vehicle are 456 mm apart, it falls within the L5 three-wheeler category. Meanwhile, the cabin is heated inside and features seatbelts and an airbag, and the doors that rotate in line with the body should make parking in tight spaces a little more comfortable.

"Groupe PSA has committed to protecting individual freedom of movement. EU-LIVE is an illustrative example of it," says Carla Gohin, Senior Vice President, Research and Advanced Engineering. "This new electrified light vehicle allows an individual, safe and sustainable mobility thanks to its zero-emission mode."

Source: Groupe PSA

View gallery - 6 images