Innovation and research

Highlights
  • Developing increasingly high-performance and environment-friendly engines
  • Improving vehicle features and safety

Group

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 2015, the Piaggio Group continued its policy of retaining technological leadership in the sector, allocating total resources of € 46.8 million to research and development, of which € 31.4 million capitalised under intangible assets as development expenditure.

  2015 2014
In millions of euros
Capitalised Expenses Total Capitalised Expenses Total
Two-wheeler 25.7 12.6 38.3 27.2 12.5 39.7
Commercial Vehicles 5.8 2.7 8.5 4.6 2.0 6.6
Total 31.4 15.4 46.8 31.8 14.5 46.3
EMEA and Americas 22.7 13.3 36.0 26.9 12.7 39.6
India 3.7 1.0 4.7 2.5 0.7 3.1
Asia Pacific 2W 5.0 1.1 6.1 2.4 1.1 3.5
Total 31.4 15.4 46.8 31.8 14.5 46.3

During the year, the Piaggio Group focussed on four fundamental areas, in order to achieve the best results possible:

  • improving engines, optimising engine thermal/fluid dynamics, with particular reference to the combustion process, reducing leaks (friction, pumping), improving performance of the CVT (continuously variable transmission) system;
  • improving efficiency;
  • enhancing the riding experience;
  • increasing safety.

Engine acoustics and timbre were also focussed on, developing numerical/experimental methodologies for designing the intake and exhaust systems and engine components with acoustic emissions that are lower and more pleasant.

Improving engines

In 2015, the process to continually improve the 125 cc engine led to the development of the new iGet 125 and 150 Euro 4 air engine[1], which made its début on the new Liberty ABS 3V. The project, which aims to reduce overall and improve rideability, made it possible to optimise the engine injection and control system.

1 As from 1 January 2016, all new models of motorcycles shall meet Euro 4 standards. Euro 3 motorcycles may still be sold for one year, provided they were previously type approved. As from 1 January 2017, all newly registered motor vehicles shall meet Euro 4 standards.

Improving efficiency

The greatest efforts in 2015 were focused on the development of a new family of engines called "iGet 4V Water", available in 125cc and 150cc. With electronic injection, four valve distribution and radiator on the engine, they can also feature the “Start & Stop” system.

Compliant with the Euro 4 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 of the new iGet is also extremely low thanks to a reduction in play and the optimisation of 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.

Riding pleasure

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 maximum torque and elasticity, key ways to ensure a pleasurable ride and fun on the road.

The changes have affected practically everything, except the traditional transversal 90° V-twin engine. In addition to the crankcase and the drive shaft, the lubrication system has also been redesigned to reduce power consumption. The reduced-flow oil pump is new, made possible by the use of new piston cooling oil jets equipped with a control valve and flow and thermodynamic management, starting with 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 engine is in line with the Euro 4 anti-emissions standard.

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.

Increase in safety and comfort

Activities were strongly focussed in this area in 2015, including:

  • ABS for light scooters: the new Medley, developed in 2015 and on sale in 2016, is equipped as standard with disc brakes with ABS. Each wheel is equipped with a sensor and a phonic wheel for measuring 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;
  • wireless 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 > 50cc, MP3, Beverly, X10; in particular, in 2015 it was extended to the Moto Guzzi V7 Range;
  • 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 2014; 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;
  • cruise control (based on Ride by wire); available on Aprilia and Moto Guzzi motorcycles;
  • the APRC system (Aprilia Performance Ride Control based on the ride by wire system) on the RSV4;
    • the ABS race system (only for the RSV4), designed and developed by Aprilia in conjunction with Bosch to guarantee not only outstanding safety on the road, but also the best performance on the track;
    • 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 the Porter and Porter Maxxi of the electronic stability control system (ABS+ESC);
    • development and installation of the Child Lock system on the VAN glass version of the Porter.

Piaggio Fast Forward

Introducing PFF

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.

Piaggio is a pioneer in the lightweight transportation sector whose portfolio consists of some of the most distinguished brands in the industry including Gilera® Moto Guzzi® Aprilia® and Vespa®.
Decades ago, Piaggio invented the Vespa® and Ape® as nimble light transportation platforms, able to navigate high-density urban as well as rural environments.

PFF is applying this knowledge and expertise to solving the transportation problems of the contemporary world.

The company

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.

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Last update: 05/20/2016 09:40