Heavy quadricycles

Euro NCAP special test highlights lack of safety equipment commonplace on passenger cars

In a special, one-off test, Euro NCAP has tested four heavy quadricycles

In a special, one-off test, Euro NCAP has tested four heavy quadricycles

In a special, one-off test, Euro NCAP has tested four heavy quadricycles.  All are fully type-approved for use on public roads, yet in frontal and side impacts at 50km/h, all showed severe safety problems and lack the minimum safety equipment commonplace on normal passenger cars.

The tests differ from Euro NCAP’s normal procedures and the results of the quadricycles cannot be compared with the star ratings published for passenger cars. The vehicles were scored mainly on crash dummy data but penalties were also given for poor performance of the structure or restraints.

Quadricycles are a relatively new class of small fuel-efficient vehicles used in rural or urban areas.  Popular in mainland Europe, quadricycles may be seen as an alternative to motorbikes or city cars.  Although street-legal, quadricycles do not have to pass any of the rigorous crash tests to which cars are subjected.

Quadricycles are technically classed as either light (L6e) or heavy (L7e) and do not have to pass the stringent safety tests that apply to normal passenger cars. Many quadricycles look similar to small city cars so may be considered as an alternative to such cars while others may consider them an alternative to a motorcycle.

Light quadricycles are limited to 45km/h (28mph). Heavy quadricycles are not speed-limited and some can reach speeds of 100km/h (62mph).

Even vehicles with very low maximum speeds are categorised as L7e if their mass exceeds 350kg.

Summary results

The Ligier and the Tazzari had major failings of their restraint systems in the frontal test. In the Ligier, the upper connection of the driver’s seatbelt pulled out of the structure, leaving the dummy unrestrained and leading to a high risk of injury.

In the Tazzari, the driver seatbelt broke and the driver’s head hit the steering wheel with a force that indicated a high risk of serious or fatal injury.

The structure of the Club Car virtually collapsed in the frontal impact.

The Renault Twizy was the only vehicle of the four to have an airbag as standard and scored best, but its stiff structure and restraint system resulted in some dangerously high dummy readings.

As a result of these tests Euro NCAP is calling for manufacturers and legislative authorities to ensure a minimum level of crash safety for this vehicle segment which is expected to become increasingly popular in the future.

Renault Twizy 80

(Overall score 6/16)

Structure

The structure of the Twizy stood up well to the tests with little deformation in the front or side impacts.

Renault Twizy

Renault Twizy

Restraints

The Twizy has an airbag and a four point seatbelt as standard. These worked correctly; the driver was well restrained in the frontal impact and protection of the head was good.

Owing to the very stiff structure and restraint systems, the dummy neck recorded dangerously high forces and protection of this part of the body was poor. The region in front of the driver’s knees contained a lot of hard structures. 

In the side impact, the head of the dummy was exposed outside the structure of the vehicle, increasing the risk of dangerous head contact in real-world accidents, and the score was penalised.

Renault Twizy dummy results

Renault Twizy dummy results

Tazzari zero

(Overall score 4/16)

Structure

In general, the structure of the Tazzari stood up well to the tests but inspection revealed that the structure had reached its limit in the frontal test and would not be able to withstand a more severe impact.

Tazzari zero

Tazzari zero

The front battery pack was pushed backwards into the footwell in the frontal test which could be extremely hazardous in an accident. In the side impact, the driver’s door opened, increasing the risk that the driver might be ejected.

Restraints

No airbags are available but the Tazzari ZERO has a three point seatbelt which broke in the frontal impact at the point where it is attached to the door pillar. The head of the effectively unrestrained dummy hit the centre of the steering wheel with sufficient forcefor a high risk of fatal injury.

Tazzari Zero dummy results

Tazzari Zero dummy results

Club car villager 2+2 LSV

(Overall score 2/16)

Structure

The structure of the Club Car collapsed in the frontal impact and the steering wheel moved rearwards by nearly half a metre. The dummy’s head hit the steering wheel and the values recorded indicated a very high risk of fatal injury. Values recorded in the neck were also dangerously high.

Club car villager

Club car villager

The chest pressed against the steering wheel, taking most of the force of the dummy with the result that there was relatively little force on the seatbelts. The seat base hinged forwards in the impact. In the side impact, there was nothing to protect the dummy from the striking barrier.

The driver’s seat became detached from the structure and moved sideways, together with the lower part of the test dummy.

Restraints

No airbags are available. The seatbelts didn't break or detach but most of the force was taken by the intruding steering wheel. In the side impact, the head of the dummy was exposed outside the structure of the vehicle, increasing the risk of dangerous head contact in real-world accidents.

Club car villager

Club car villager dummy

Ligier IXO JS Line 4

(Overall score 2/16)

Structure

In the frontal impact the structure of the Ligier was badly deformed - the door pillar and the windscreen pillar were almost separated. In the side impact, the driver’s door became detached from the car and the bootlid opened.

Ligier IXO

Ligier IXO

Restraints

No airbags are available. The upper connection of the three-point seatbelt pulled out of the door pillar in the frontal impact test.

The lap portion of the seatbelt is routed in such a way that it sits very high on the abdomen and the driver's seat collapsed which, combined with the high lap-belt allowed the dummy to 'submarine' under the lap belt which can be extremely hazardous to the abdominal region

The dummy's head contacted the steering wheel, which moved rearwards excessively in the test, and there was a high risk of fatal injury. 

In the side impact, the bottom of the B-pillar broke and the driver’s seat was pushed sideways and became detached from the floor structure.

Ligier IXO dummy results

Ligier IXO dummy results