Innovation and research
- Developing increasingly high-performance and environment-friendly engines
- Improving vehicle features and safety
Anticipating customer requirements, creating products that are innovative in terms of their technology, style and functionality, pursuing research for a better quality of life are all fields of excellence in which the Piaggio Group excels, as well as a means for measuring its leadership position on the market.
The Piaggio Group develops these areas through activities at its research and development centres in Italy, India, Vietnam, the United States and China.
In particular, the main objective of the Piaggio Group is to meet the most progressive needs for mobility, while reducing the environmental impact and consumption of its vehicles, guaranteeing their performance and levels of excellence. A constant focus is placed on research into vehicles that are at the forefront in terms of:
- environmental credibility: products that can reduce pollutant gas and CO2 emissions in town and out-of-town use; this is achieved by further developing traditional engine technologies (increasingly sophisticated internal combustion engines), as well as making more use of renewable, sustainable energy sources;
- reliability and safety: vehicles that enable a growing number of users to get about town easily, helping to reduce traffic congestion and guaranteeing high standards of active, passive and preventive safety;
- recyclability: products that minimise environmental impact at the end of their life cycle;
- cost-effectiveness: vehicles with lower running and maintenance costs.
In 2016, the Piaggio Group continued its policy of retaining technological leadership in the sector, allocating total resources of €50.1 million to research and development, of which €30.9 million capitalised under intangible assets as development costs.
|In millions of euros||Capitalised||Expenses||Total||Capitalised||Spese||Total|
|EMEA e Americas||22.4||17.5||40.0||22.7||13.3||36.0|
|Asia Pacific 2W||4.7||1.0||5.7||5.0||1.1||6.1|
During the year, the Piaggio Group focussed on four fundamental areas, in order to achieve the best results possible:
- improving engines, with a consequent reduction in total noise levels and improvement in handling;
- improving efficiency;
- enhancing the riding experience;
- increasing safety.
The process to continually improve the 125 cc engine led to the development of the new iGet 125 and 150 Euro 4 air engines, which made their début on the new Liberty ABS 3V. The project, which aims to reduce overall noise levels and improve rideability, made it possible to optimise the engine injection and control system.
 As from 1 January 2016, all new models of motorcycles meet Euro 4 standards. As from 1 January 2017, all newly registered motor vehicles have to meet Euro 4 standards.
The new engines of the "iGet 4V Water” family, available in 125cc and 150cc, come equipped with electronic injection, four valve cylinder heads and radiator fitted on the propeller. They can be used with the “Start & Stop” system. This device replaces the starter and alternator and has no transmission gears that can cause noise.
Compliant with the Euro4 standard, they are the result of a design philosophy guided primarily by new and higher levels of quality and reliability.
Each component, from the exhaust to the inside of the gearbox cover and the new air filter has been designed to make for a smooth, quiet and comfortable ride, and to lengthen the life of the engine.
The design aims above all to reduce friction and in particular friction in the timing system.
The mechanical noise is also extremely low thanks to reduced play and optimised materials and shapes.
Building the radiator into the engine has reduced the overall weight of the vehicle and engine warm-up times, with benefits in terms of consumption and cold emissions.
The gearbox has been entirely redesigned and uses a latest-generation double toothed belt to minimise passive losses, as well as a setting that improves rideability, performance and consumption.
The new built-in engine electronic control unit, integrated with the S&S management part (Alternator, S&S Inverter, RISS), has been entirely developed by Piaggio.
In the course of 2016 this engine was also installed on the Vespa GTS 125 and in the next year it will gradually replace the Quasar engine on all models.
One example of the application of research to improve riding pleasure is the new power unit for the Moto Guzzi Roamer V9 and V9 Bobber, developed to increase the available torque at low rpm and engine elasticity, key ways to ensure a pleasurable ride and fun on the road. The changes have affected a large part of the traditional longitudinal V90° twin-cylinder engine, now in the Euro4 version. In addition to the crankcase and the drive shaft, the lubrication system has also been redesigned to reduce power consumption. New low flow oil pump; new piston cooling oil jets, equipped with control valve and flow management; new thermodynamics, first of all in the bore and stroke values. The timing now has inclined valves to improve volumetric efficiency. The electronic engine control unit and electronic injection system are new. The six-speed gearbox is new and highly precise with soft changes, and the clutch is single disc. The final transmission again uses a cardan shaft.
In the course of 2016, improvements were also extended to the V7-III family, the third generation of Moto Guzzi's most popular model. In this case the maximum power is increased by 10%.
Increase in safety and comfort
Recent years have seen major focus on this year, which can be summed up in the following points:
- ABS for light scooters: the new Medley, developed in 2015 and marketed in 2016, is fitted by default with disc brakes with ABS. Each wheel has a sensor and a phonic wheel to measure angular speeds. The 2-channel hydraulic control unit continuously compares the two signals and activates the ABS system, when the change of speed of one of the two wheels is abnormal, avoiding locking and ensuring stability and braking efficiency even on a low friction coefficient surfaces. The new Liberty 125 is also equipped with single-channel ABS, a completely new feature especially for Asian markets, which will get a specific version;
- Traction control for vehicles without the ride by wire system, combined with ABS, for optimal grip during acceleration and braking; the system was extended to the entire Vespa product line > 50 cc., MP3, Beverly, X10 and to the Moto Guzzi V7 and V9.
- the study and trial of an advanced semi-active electronic suspension system ADD (Aprilia Dynamic Damping) and its application to the mass produced Aprilia Caponord 1200;
- extension of the Ride by wire to the majority of Group vehicles, including the 500 version of MP3, which allows adoption of “by wire” Traction Control together with ABS, to maximise traction while accelerating or breaking, and offers the multi-map management of the engine to adapt the power supply to the traction or driving conditions;
- in the course of 2016, a new dial was developed which integrates the sensors of the "By Wire" device, allowing for savings in terms of weight and cost and the ability to more easily extend this technology to the scooters. The debut model in 2016 was the Moto Guzzi MGX21. In 2017 this innovation will be extended to other models;
- the Moto Guzzi MGX21 also featured new controls on the handlebars based on CAN technology (digital protocol), which permits a drastic reduction of wired connections on particularly complex interfaces such as that of the motorcycle in question;
- cruise control (based on Ride by Wire) available on the Aprilia and Moto Guzzi;
- cruise control (based on Ride by Wire) available on the Aprilia and Moto Guzzi;
- the APRC system (Aprilia Performance Ride Control based on the ride by wire system) on the RSV4;
- Multimap cornering ABS (RSV4 RR and RF), developed to ensure safety on the road and racing performance. The system ensures optimal braking and ABS action when cornering. The new ABS system combines with Aprilia’s RLM (Rear Liftup Mitigation), which limits the lifting of the rear wheel when decelerating sharply. Each of the three mappings of the Cornering ABS can be combined with any of the three new engine maps (Sports, Track, Race) so that riders of various experience and ability can find their best combination. The three maps are "full power" and only differ for the delivery curve and the engine brake’s percentage;
- electrically adjustable suspension, on the Piaggio X10 and Aprilia Caponord, of which the ADD package is a part (electronic suspension);
- dissemination and expansion of the Piaggio Multimedia Platform info-mobility system, based on linking the smartphone and the vehicle via Bluetooth®, iOS and Android;
- development and installation on Porter and Porter Maxxi of the electronic stability control system (ABS+ESC);
During 2016 a new dashboard was developed that was adopted by most of the Aprilia models (Shiver 900, RSV4 1000 and Tuono 1100) with TFT technology. It displays clear and easy to read information by adjusting the background and font colour to light conditions, which are automatically detected by the integrated sensor.
Piaggio Fast Forward
The explosive growth of networks and information systems has created the preconditions for new forms of autonomy, intelligence, sustainability, and efficiency in the transportation of people and goods.
Founded in 2015 to address the contemporary world's emerging transportation and transit needs, PFF leverages Piaggio's 130 years of experience in the development and manufacture of two-, three-, and four-wheel vehicles.
PFF is applying this knowledge and expertise to solving the transportation problems of the contemporary world.
Piaggio Fast Forward is a new company based in Cambridge (MA), established by the Piaggio Group, whose aim is the development of smart mobility platforms for a world in which city navigation and short-distance transportation are rapidly changing.
Piaggio Fast Forward is finding new ways to translate research into reality. Led by an interdisciplinary team of innovators drawn from the top ranks of the technology, design, and engineering fields, the company is committed to building light mobility platforms that provide innovative solutions to the movement of people and things.