October 29 , 07
The World’s Most Advanced Hybrid Scooter

The University of Tasmania has leapt to the cutting edge of hybrid-vehicle technology with the launch of the World's most advanced Motor Scooter.

The canary yellow livery may look unassuming, but the tiny two-cylinder scooter showcases technology that will power the passenger vehicles of the future.

The scooter's primary power source is an electric motor, unconventionally mounted on the front wheel, which provides enough power to cruise down to the shops or the nearest cafe.

The standard internal combustion engine, converted to run on renewable ethanol, kicks in seamlessly.

The power sources combine for a top speed of 50mph that will give it the jump over its rivals at the traffic lights.

"This should out accelerate a scooter of the same size because it has the two power sources working in tandem," design team leader Steven Ambrose said.

But it is the scooter's environmental credentials that the project team is most proud of.

The hybrid uses 35 per cent less fuel than the petrol-only machine it is based on for a truly staggering 137 miles per gallon.

A state-of-the-art regenerative braking system captures energy when the front brakes are applied and feeds it back into the battery.

When not in use, the machine can be plugged into a household power point to recharge in just 40 minutes.

Although Japan and Germany have produced similar prototypes, the UTAS project is a first for Australia and has huge commercial applications, says chief investigator Vishy Karri.

"The control system is generic, so we can take it and put it onto a 4WD car and with minor changes it would work," Dr Karri said.

The retro-fitted parts cost just $1500 but could be sourced for as little as $800 in full-scale production.

UTAS's commercial arm is considering pursuing marketing opportunities that could one day see the scooter on the showroom floor..