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piaggio food truck

Italian Piaggio Ape are a classic street sight for ice cream and coffee concessions. In Italy and other parts of Southern Europe, you can still even see them around for “normal” day-to-day use, hauling supplies in their tiny truck bed.

A timeless icon of italian style

As a food truck Piaggio Ape are versatile and mostly popular for selling gelato (ice cream), drinks and coffee. Put a real barista behind the coffee machine and there are few solutions more iconic for a food truck serving Italian food.

That is not all though as there are many other possible versions from yarn to flowers to a small Mexican food truck or a purely promotional vehicle. Let us guide you through all the options and help you find the perfect fit for you.

what are my options when choosing a piaggio food truck?

When choosing a Piaggo for your food truck build there are two major items to decide on: the original body or base vehicle to use and the necessary box or truck bed superstructure.

Karpatia offers the following base types of chassis for a Piaggio:

  • Revisions (gas) of any vintage model, such as the Piaggio Ape 50 or MP 500/600.
  • New PIaggio Ape – 50 or Piaggio Ape Classic

Keep in mind not all three-wheeler food trucks are Piaggio’s. We also offer quality, new electric tuk tuks and other tuk tuk food truck conversions from any kind of vintage base such as Bajaj or Honda. As far as Piaggio is concerned, you have the above options.

New models can be ordered with an electric motor from the get go, and vintage models can be converted to electric.


gas versus electric

Deciding on vintage vs. new and gas vs. electric is both a personal and a business decision based on the product you are selling, operating parameters, and your budget. Newer units have a lot going for them as they are more reliable, require less maintenance, are more economical with fuel, cheaper to lease as a new vehicle, and more robust with higher load bearing capacity and torque allowing a heavier or larger superstructure.

Downsides are their higher initial cost and having just that tiny little bit less charm compared to a vintage. In the end the decision is yours based on what suits your brand best and we will walk you through the options during the initial consultation.

Piaggio Ape Food Truck TukTuk Beer Tap

we recommend piaggio food trucks for:

  • Coffee and hot drinks
  • Ice cream
  • Popcorn
  • Sweets like cotton candy and crêpes
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Cocktails
  • Prep- light food such as wraps or hot dogs and bratwurst


The simple surface area of the bed, the torque, and load bearing capacity restrict all the possibilities of a Piaggo food truck a bit.

A lot is still possible, especially considering we make as many parts as possible out of aluminum and fiberglass to reduce the load, but please realize you will not be fitting a full kitchen on the back of this.

For vending and concessions within city limits, you can get around autonomously using the Piaggio itself without issue.

Given you are traveling larger distances with a trailer and pickup or van anyway, your Piaggio set up can be expanded with all sorts of attributes to haul along, like a semicircle bar or seating arrangements with the Piaggio acting as the centerpiece and prep station.

pre-configured piaggio food truck solutions



Freshly roasted and ground coffee beans served from a real Italian premium espresso machine by a professional barista, and all that presented using the cute and stylish Piaggio Ape – what’s not to love?

The Piaggio is a great value solution when you have dreams of setting up an independent coffee shop. You can build your brand and get the name out there while fine-tuning your skills and coffee recipes. Once you’re all set for brick and mortar, the Piaggio is great to keep outside the door to attract even more customers or for doing events.

Not just for bright-eyed startups either as a coffee Piaggio is a big asset to both coffee producers and coffee chains for their marketing and mobile sales, with some franchise coffee concepts even completely set up using mobile vending.



Put a banner on it and park, simple as that. Great banner design on a well-placed, stylish Piaggio is going to draw eyeballs at lower CPMs than Facebook.

However, it does not have to be so simple. If you are launching a new product or doing a brand activation campaign, Piaggio apes are a great way to scoot around from place to place and hand out samples or sell retail goods.

An added benefit is that they often qualify for moped classification in most US states and are always classified as a moped for EU member states. This allows you to have younger staff without a driver’s license operate a Piaggio food truck independently and keeps your promotional costs down.

Piaggio Ape Food Truck TukTuk


Although you can do any kind of ice cream from a Piaggio there is only one that really fits, premium Italian gelato scoops.

Get that golden permission slip from your city for mobile vending and you can make tons of profit while the sun shines. Go to parks, sports venues, busy office lots, and beaches to make a ton of money and attract new customers.

These are not just for independent vendors either. Existing ice cream parlors with a name can greatly extend their reach and have a handy resupply point ready in their regular store, or the Piaggio can be parked outside on those extremely busy days to break up the queues ensuring nobody leaves the line without being served.

Hotels, restaurants, and resorts can also make use of these mobile vending units to great effect for boosting F&B sales.



Most mobile vending concessions and licenses outright ban or are extremely tight on selling alcohol from a food truck. You can only sell at private events, catered events, and occasionally special events open to the public such as food truck festivals. On top of that many of the larger, open-to-the-public events often hog the alcohol sales to themselves.

Festival operators or proprietors of larger establishments with an alcohol license for their entire property can do very well with them as the Piaggio makes for an easy mobile bar that can relieve pressure from the main service points and increase total orders.

Piaggio Ape Food Truck TukTuk Beer Tap

extra services

  • pre-configured

    It might be your first Piaggio Food Truck, but it’s not ours. From coffee and prosecco to yarn and flowers, we have a basic plan to get you rolling quicker.

  • financing

    No cash, no problem! Get pre-qualified by our finance partners or see if we can negotiate a more affordable loan option through our factory financing.Financing is possible for both new and used models.

  • website included

    Starting a new business or doing a major upgrade?

    We include our deluxe Food Truck Website package with any purchase of a Piaggio food truck, allowing you to shine as brightly online as offline.

    Learn More →

For more information about Piaggio food trucks or to request a free quote, call us anytime at 404-999-1864 or fill out the form on our contact page.

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frequently asked questions about piaggio food trucks

Learn more in our knowledge center ►

Yes, both vintage restorations and newbuilt units are road legal units.

Due to their engine capacity, however, they are often classified as mopeds and there will be limits to what roads can be used in addition to speed limits.

Cost depends on your state. There is a lot of USA out there, meaning the overland transport is nothing to scoff at. Contact us using the form for a no-strings-attached quote and we will specify the estimated shipping cost on our offer.

Generally yes, of course!

The foundation of a good build is using the right unit for your conversion. We recommend getting a new Piaggio as pricing is fair and it guarantees a quality product. But if you want a vintage unit for DOT purposes, aesthetic, or other reasons, we are still more than happy to take on your project.

If you have already found one that is great, we are happy to assess the work needed to get it back in shape and working using that particular unit.

The exception is if during our inspection, we find you had particularly poor luck and bought a unit that has a disproportional amount of problems and work necessary to bring it back up to our standards. In that case we inform you that you unfortunately made a bad purchase and look for other options together.

Alternatively, if for instance for sentimental reasons you really want to use a particular unit as the base of the conversion, it is of course possible – we can and have restored some real car wrecks – so we will still restore it if you really want to do so for non-business reasons even if it is not the most economical path to take.


IS A piaggio ape THE RIGHT food truck FOR YOU?

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