Piaggio Reveals NT3 Concept Designed to Take On Tata Nano

Piaggio may be best known for its scooters and three-wheel motorcycles but the Italian brand is also trying its hand at a cheap car for the masses. The result: A Tata Nano fighter called the NT3, which was recently shown at the Milan Motorcycle Show.

The NT3 has three seats, with the driver’s position placed smack in the middle of the vehicle. It measures just 94.4 inches long, which theoretically makes it a breeze to maneuver and park in congested urban environments. During the design phase, the NT3 team turned to the Vespa and Vespa Ape pickup truck and van for inspiration. The front wheels are left open in tribute of Piaggio’s scooter and motorcycle heritage. Width and height are 59 and 63 inches, respectively.

Given the NT3’s physical dimensions, engine sizes remain petite. The smallest is a 0.2-liter and the next size up is a 0.3-liter. Since these are shared scooter engines, power output is expected to be on the minimalist end. The third powertrain is the hybridized setup shared with the three-wheeled Mp3 Hybrid, which has a 3.5-horsepower electric motor and 24-horsepower 0.3-liter single-cylinder engine. The hybrid NT3’s top speed is around 50 mph and 19 mph in full-electric mode. Overall fuel efficiency is expected to be over 30 kilometers with a liter of fuel, or which equates to about 71 mpg on the European cycle.

The Nano costs just $2500 in its India home, and the NT3 would undoubtedly stay within this range. It may even go on sale in Europe sometime after 2013, although emerging markets in India and Southeast Asia remain the key targets.

Sources: Piaggio, Autocar