£POA Available as Van, dropside, tipper, you name it | Engine options 50cc/2.4hp, 218cc/10hp Payload (kg) Max 805 Verdict Three-wheeled utilitarian light commercials suitable for urban delivery work and specialist applications.
The Piaggio Ape — pronounced ah-pay, meaning bee in Italian — has been around forever; well 1948, actually. It’s never been a big seller in the UK, but has become somewhat iconic over the years.
It’s a three-wheeler — the rear two are driven — and is powered by either a 2.4hp 50cc two-stroke or 10hp 218cc one-cylinder petrol engine. The former (Ape 50) comes with scooter-like handlebars for steering, whereas the latter (Ape TM) can be specified with a steering wheel. A battery-powered electric version of the 50 is an interesting alternative and with a 35 mile range it might appeal for on-site use.
There is no refinement to the cab whatsoever, but it can accommodate two if they are very well acquainted. What the Ape can supply, however, is the base for any number of body configurations and conversions; a mobile coffee wagon seems to be one of the most popular. The gross payload of the TM can be as much as 805kg.
A full Review & Buyers’ Guide will be published shortly.