While conventional motorcycle manufacturers such as Honda, Yamaha are exploring electric technology and others like Piaggio and Bombardier producing or developing hybrid three-wheelers, a small electric vehicle manufacturer is going the other direction, adding a gasoline engine to an electric scooter.
Revolution Manufacturing Sdn. Bhd. unveiled two hybrid scooter models, the Gwheel 800HB and the Gwheel 500HB. The two hybrid scooters are the products of a RM6 million (US$2 million) investment in developing green two-wheelers.
The GW 800HB uses an 80cc four-stroke internal combustion engine and an 800W brushless electric motor. The scooter can run in gasoline, electric or hybrid modes. According to Revolution Manufacturing, the 80cc engine can bring the GW 800HB up to a maximum speed of 55 kph (34 mph) while the hub-mounted electric motor can push the scooter up to about 40 kph (25 mph).
In hybrid mode, the engine would propel the scooter while providing a charge for the lithium ion battery. At low speeds or when coming to a stop, the engine shuts off while the electric motor takes over propulsion duties.
The company claims a range of 220 km (136.7 miles) with its 1 gallon gas tank and a fully-charged battery. The GW 800HB will be offered with at a price of around RM8,000 (US$2,625). No specs were released for the GW 500HB, but it will use a 50cc engine and is priced at about RM7,000 (US$2,300). At those prices, the hybrid models will cost about 15% more than their gasoline-fueled competitors.
Revolution Manufacturing plans to sell 16,000 units in 2011, a total that would represent 2% of the Malaysian motorcycle market. The company plans to increase its market share to 3-4% over the next three to five years. Revolution Manufacturing also plans to export its hybrid models to nearby markets such as Indonesia, Bangladesh and Vietnam, with later expansion into Eastern Europe and South Africa.