Latest news on Quadricycles, 16 year old driver entitlement and the 350kg Aixam Coupe S.
What follows is fairly old copy:
Ligier microcars from France are available right-hand-drive, UK and Euro Type Approved, have 505cc 2-cylinder Lombardini petrol or diesel engines and open-belt Variomatic transmission. In de-restricted UK specification, they should have a top speed of 55 to 65mph and give 65 to 85mpg. Unfortunately due to some quirk they are not taxed on their low C02 and owners have to pay £120 a year. And, after changes in licence regulations in 1996 and 2001, they can also be driven on the same motorcycle licence as a Reliant three-wheeler. The new regs permit 'quadricycles' (four wheelers) weighing less than 880lb and with less than 20bhp to be driven on a pre-2001 full motorcycle licence and a post 2001 B1 motorcycle licence. More details from Reliant Partsworld www.reliantpartsworld.co.uk, tel: 01543 431959. Reliant is also importing Piaggio Ape micro pick-up trucks and vans and will probably take on the cheaper Ligier Due Microcar in the near future.
A second microcar contender is Aixam Ltd. www.aixam.co.uk tel: 01788 553330. Aixam has been building microcars since 1975 and offers a range of convertibles and two- and four-seater hatchbacks with diesel engines from 276cc to 479cc. The UK range is all RHD and is powered by the 479cc Kubota diesel engine which gives up to 55mph and up to 90mpg. Prices start at £6,530 on the road with a year's VED for the 2-seater Utility, or £6,630 OTR for the 4-seater Economy, rising to £8,050 for the 4-seater Super.
Ex-Reliant Boss Jonathan Heynes is importing a range of right-hand-drive fibreglass monocoque models called Microcar Virgo. These are available with two seats, 505cc petrol or diesel Lombardini engines giving up to 68mph and up to 80mpg, and cost from £5,995 on the road, including a 3-year warranty: Microcar UK, Park House, The Grange, Wolverton, Stratford-on-Avon CV37 0HD, www.micro-car.co.uk, tel: 01789 730094.
Other microcar makers include JRD and Erad, who will be watching the UK market to see how sales go. We shouldn't forget the LHD 599cc 6-speed 87mph MCC SMART car, now also available as a 799cc common rail direct-injected diesel or a convertible, from MB UK, at prices from £5,995, tel: 0800 037 9966; or from KSB MotorGroup, website: www.ksb.co.uk. The American 'Sparrow', a single-seater three-wheeler electric microcar capable of up to 70mph, but costing £8,750, did not survive. Finally, the incredible two-seater 50cc three-wheeler and 350cc four-wheeler Fun Tech buggies seen at the Barcelona Motor Show can now be obtained in the UK from SMC Scooters of Torquay, tel 01803 200670 or Fun Tech UK on 01803 666610, website: www.fun-tech.co.uk; prices £2,995 and £3,995.
Announced 08/05/2007 14:58 by DfT:
Department for Transport (National)
(DFT) Safety regulation of quadricycles
The Government is seeking a review of the European regulations for quadricycles after initial tests of their safety performance, following their growth in popularity as a more environmentally friendly alternative to cars.
Current safety standards, set at European level, were established at a time when it was never envisaged that this type of product would be used as a mainstream road vehicle.
The Department for Transport began simulated impact tests once this growth in popularity had been determined. The vehicle tested passed all the European requirements applicable to quadricyles, but when it was subjected to the same impact test expected of normal cars serious safety concerns were highlighted.
Roads Minister (at the time) Dr Stephen Ladyman said:
"The safety regulations that govern this type of vehicle were designed at a time when it was thought they would cover four-wheeled motorcycles and some small, specialised commercial vehicles. Not city run-abouts that resemble small cars. But, given increasing environmental concerns, new vehicles that qualify as quadricycles have come to the market and are becoming more popular for urban use. Therefore it is right that we reconsider the regulations for this type of vehicle and whether safety regulations should be made more stringent. Now we have the initial findings of our tests we will be taking this up with the European Commission and manufacturers, and will publish more information when the full programme of tests is complete".
The Department for Transport will carry out further tests on another make of quadricycle to help its discussions with the European Commission, and is now in urgent contact with the relevant manufacturers. Once the full analysis is complete further information will be made available.
1. A "quadricycle" is a vehicle with four wheels whose unladen mass is not more than 400kg (excluding batteries if it is an electric vehicle) and whose maximum continuous rated power does not exceed 15 kW.
2. The occupant protection is assessed by a frontal impact test where the vehicle is propelled into a deformable barrier (to simulate striking another vehicle) at a velocity of 56 kmh (~35 mph). The impact takes place at a 40% overlap with the barrier and is concentrated on the driver's side of the vehicle.
The Department is scheduled to test two quadricycles. The first test, which involved a REVA G-Wiz electric vehicle, has taken place.
3. Construction standards for quadricycles are harmonised at European level, the main instrument being European Parliament and Council Directive 2002/24/EC - the Framework Directive. This Directive requires compliance with a number of individual Directives that set out requirements for particular vehicle systems; brakes, lighting, wheels, etc. These harmonised requirements are recognised by all 27 Member States of the European Community and once the vehicle is approved to the standards of the Directive by any member state the manufacturer has access to all 27 markets.
For quadricycles, as opposed to passenger cars, there are no requirements for occupant protection tests.