Quadricycles made road legal, but safety a major concern (Video)
Quadricycles, the popular alternative to scooters, may have received the go-ahead, but have faired unsuccessfully when put to the Euro NCAP tests. These results have brought the quadricycle under the watchful eye of safety authorities who are viewing these devastating crash test results quite seriously.
The four quadricycles put to test by Euro NCAP are Club Car Villager 2+2 LSV, Renault Twizy 80, Tazzari ZERO and Ligier IXO J LINE 4 Places. Crash speeds stood at 50 kmph as against 64 kmph for cars with each of these models failing to toe the line. The results revealed that only performance of Renault Twizy was better than the rest due to the existence of three point seat belts and driver air bags.
Ligier and Tazzari were found to be lacking when restraint systems in frontal tests were taken into account. In the former, the upper connection of driver seatbelt proved out of structure leaving dummy open to injury. This quadricycle was given a scoring of just 2 points out of 16 in Euro NCAP ratings. Tazzari on the other hand scored a 4, but driver seatbelt broke in the testing leaving driver’s head free to hit steering wheel with such impact that it could prove fatal.
Club Car Villager 2+2 LSV also scored a 2 out of 16 points with the quadricycle virtually collapsing in frontal impact while Twizy scored the best of the four with a rating of 6 out of 16 though still way below expected standards of safety.
The point of concern here is that India, which has reported the most road accident deaths in the world, has recently approved the use of quadricycles, though restricting them only for commercial use. Automakers like Bajaj, Mahindra and Piaggio have already shown interest in launching quadricycles, while Bajaj being the frontrunner. Bajaj has already displayed its RE60 quadricycle at the 2014 Auto Expo, which is expected to be launched in the coming months.
Euro NCAP’s Spotlight Falls on Heavy Quadricycles
Brussels, 4 June 2014. Euro NCAP has tested four heavy quadricycles in a special safety campaign. All vehicles have performed very poorly and some have shown serious risks of life threatening injuries.
In recent years, a new class of sub-compact vehicles has emerged in Europe. Quadricycles, originally derived from motorcycles, are small and fuel-efficient vehicles used in rural or urban areas as an alternative to motorbikes or city cars. In some countries, they are also used by local government authorities and institutions which require small and environmentally-friendly vehicles. Although street-legal, quadricycles do not have to pass any of the rigorous crash tests to which cars are subjected.
The tested models were the Club Car Villager 2+2 LSV, the Renault Twizy 80, the Tazzari ZERO and the Ligier IXO J LINE 4 Places. All are fully type-approved for use on public roads, yet in frontal and side impacts at 50km/h, all showed severe safety problems. 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.
Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General said: ‘It’s worrying to find that, because crash safety tests are not required by law, quadricycles show a level of safety that is way below that of cars. Even though they meet legislative standards, these vehicles lack the minimum safety equipment which has become commonplace on passenger cars sold in Europe.’
While some vehicles scored better than others, all four quadricycles showed serious safety problems. The vehicles were scored primarily on data from crash dummies but penalties were also given for poor performance of the structure or restraints. 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 – the only vehicle of the four tested to have an airbag as standard – scored best but its stiff structure and restraint system resulted in some dangerously high dummy readings.
‘Our test campaign confirms that quadricycles generally provide a much lower level of safety than regular passenger cars. The poor results, however, urge us to ask ourselves whether consumers should really be satisfied with the protection currently being offered? As quadricycles look set to become more and more popular, Euro NCAP is calling for manufacturers and legislative authorities to ensure a minimum level of crash safety for this vehicle segment’ stated Michiel van Ratingen.