Part of a specifically targeted safety campaign, the Euro NCAP tests are intended to draw attention to the safety (or lack there of) of the motorcycle-derived vehicles increasing in number and popularity across Europe – which are not subject to the same crash test and safety standards as cars.
Tested using a modified Euro NCAP crash test protocol, with scores comprising crash dummy data and structure or restraint performance, four street-legal heavy quadricycles – the Renault Twizy 80, Club Car Villager 2+2 LSV, Tazzari ZERO and Ligier IXO J LINE 4 – were put through both front and side impact tests at a speed of 50km/h (instead of 64km/h for cars).
According to the European safety body, all vehicles showed severe safety problems.
Having its structure virtually collapse in the frontal impact test, the Club Car (pictured above) scored two out of a possible 16.
The Ligier (pictured below) matched the Club Car’s score, with the upper connection of the driver’s seatbelt pulled out of the structure, leaving the dummy unrestrained.
Despite scoring a marginally better four out of 16, the Tazzari had a major restraint system failure during the frontal test, with driver’s seatbelt breaking resulting in the driver’s head hitting the steering wheel with a force that Euro NCAP says indicates a high risk of serious or fatal injury.
With a test best score of six out of 16, the Renault was aided in its result by being the only vehicle of the four tested to have an airbag fitted as standard, however, its stiff structure and restraint system resulted in “dangerously high dummy readings”.
Blaming the lack of safety regulation and crash testing procedures for the compact and fuel efficient vehicles, Euro NCAP secretary general Michiel van Ratingen said the poor safety performance was “worrying”.
“Even though they meet legislative standards, these vehicles lack the minimum safety equipment which has become commonplace on passenger cars sold in Europe,” van Ratingen said.
“Our test campaign confirms that quadricycles generally provide a much lower level of safety than regular passenger cars.
“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.”
It’s worth noting that while light quadricycles are limited to a top speed of 35km/h, the Ligier, Renault and Tazzari have top speeds of 70km/h, 80km/h and 100km/h respectively. Euro NCAP also points out that the quadricycles’ crash test results cannot and should not be compared with its normal passenger car star ratings.