Piaggio Commercial Apé is an Italian designed Piaggio Tri-Porter. Piaggio Tuk Tuks history began at the Italian Piaggio factory in Pontedera, near the leaning tower of Pisa in Italy.

At the end of World War II, most Italians, badly affected by the war, lacked viable modes of transport, and more importantly, the financial means to acquire full-sized four-wheeled vehicles. In 1947 the inventor of the Vespa Scooter, aircraft designer Corradino D’Ascanio, came up with the idea of building a light three wheeled commercial vehicle to power Italy’s economical reconstruction, an idea which found favour with Enrico Piaggio, the son of the firm’s founder, Rinaldo.

Piaggio Commercial SA - Piaggio Commercial SA - Showroom Top Image

The very first Piaggio Ape model and the model immediately following it, were mechanically a Vespa Scooter with two wheels added to the rear, with a flat-bed structure on top of the rear axle. In the early sale brochures and adverts the vehicle was referred to as the VespaCar or TriVespa and cost 170.000 liras. The first Apes featured 50cc, 125cc or 150cc and more recently 175cc and 422cc diesel engines. By the time of the 1964 Ape D model a cab was added to protect the driver from the elements. The Ape has been in continuous production since its inception and has been produced in a variety of different body styles in Italy and other parts of the globe.

Controlled with scooter style handlebars, the original Ape was designed to sit one person in front, but can accommodate a second passenger (with a tight fit) in its cab. The load body and van models have a door on each side, making it quicker to get out of the vehicle when making deliveries to different sides of the road.

Performance is suited to the job of light delivery and short distance travel, with good torque for hills but a low top speed, which is irrelevant in the urban settings for it was designed.