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Electric cart, quadricycle, licence-free car ... what are the differences?

Between electric carts, quadricycles, licence-free cars, mini cars... the list can be long, but these words designate the same thing: a four-wheeled vehicle, which is driven without a B licence. It can have an electric or internal combustion engine. As with more traditional cars, many manufacturers are now offering licence-free cars or electric buggies.

Electric car: what are we talking about?

A small car is a small car, which can generally be driven without a licence, and from the age of 14! A small car can be electric or thermal (i.e. petrol or diesel).

A licence-free car, unlike a conventional car, does not require a driving licence to be used. They are smaller, less powerful and faster, but they can be very advantageous, especially for their price from 7800 euros: we will talk about it just after!

Finally, a quadricycle is a four-wheeled vehicle, usually equipped with an engine and a specific battery.

A cart is a licence-free car and vice versa, and both are also quadricycles that can be of different categories and power. They offer the advantages of a scooter, with the added safety.

Be careful not to confuse with mopeds, which refers to a motorised land vehicle with two or three wheels and a small engine capacity (less than or equal to 50 cm3), such as scooters.

Micro-car, quadricycle, licence-free car : how do they differ?

There are two categories of quadricycles:

  • Light quadricycles are lience-free cars like Tiny. They are also known as voiturettes (a small car), or "mini-autos", and can be accessed with an AM licence.
  • Heavy quadricycles such as quads and large carts (which can travel at up to 80 km/h) require a B1 licence and the passing of the highway code. Our Tiny cars do not fall into this category.

When buying or renting, ask about the engine. An electrically powered cart is more environmentally friendly and less polluting than a petrol or diesel powered cart. Finally, as the name suggests, they are often distinguished by their small size. Often in the form of a microcar, manufacturers are showing increasingly fun looks to attract and seduce a young clientele. Car manufacturers are taking a close interest in this new phenomenon, linked to the evolution of urban mobility and its needs.

Mini car: what are the characteristics of these licence-free vehicles?

Today, a licence-free car offers a selection of advantages: safer than a scooter (seatbelt compulsory), a wide range of possible options, mobility comfort, independence from public transport or walking... With an electric motor, it becomes more environmentally friendly. This is why Tiny can be the vehicle that meets your criteria and your budget!

This type of vehicle is :

  • Equipped with four wheels: it is a quadricycle
  • Motorized
  • Limited to a maximum speed of 45 km/h
  • Can accommodate one passenger
  • Has a closed cabin, so you can drive in complete freedom and safety
  • Accessible for driving with a AM driving licence, from the age of 14.

Some licence-free cars are electric: they do not run on diesel or petrol but can be recharged from a plug. This is the case with our Tiny city car, which does not need a charging station!

Range is the number of kilometres that can be driven before the battery is discharged. The range of our Tiny model (Pickup or Rock version) is up to 120 kilometres.

As far as regulations are concerned, a small car without a licence must have a registration certificate, a car insurance policy (serving as legal protection), just like a conventional car. It is an offence to drive an uninsured car. You can find out more on our article dedicated to insurance. It should be noted that depending on your past record and in the event of an at-fault accident, insurers may impose penalties on you, even for a small car without a licence.

Finally, electric licence-free cars, this is freedom, zero CO2 emissions and access to all from the age of 14!

In short, in France, you will find several models with a look and price that will suit you: the manufacturer Aixam (e-city), the Citroen Ami, Renault and its Twizy, Ligier Myli... Without forgetting our Tiny microcar, perfect for a young driver in our opinion, and its very accessible price, from 8990€.

What does it take to drive a mini electric car?

In France, people born in 1988 or later, as well as young drivers, must :

  • Hold an AM licence (formerly known as the BSR, Safety Road Certificate), which consists of 8 hours of practical training in a driving school, and the School Road Safety Certificates), not to be confused with the A licence (motorbike licence). Competent professionals teach the driver how to drive licence-free car and the world of the road: other users, signs, etc.

Thanks to this training, he will be able to use the car without a licence on the public highway, park it...

It also raises awareness of the risks (i.e. alcohol, physical injury, etc.), as well as the possible penalties for non-compliance with traffic rules: offence, fine, etc.

  • Have an insurance contract: a no-licence car insurance (at least third-party insurance, with compulsory third-party liability cover, glass breakage, etc. to cover all risks)

Note: people born before 1988 can drive a vehicle without a certificate or AM licence.

Small licence-free car: is it more advantageous than a conventional car?

A licence-free car can be driven from the age of 14, for 2-seater models and a maximum speed limited to 45 km/h.

For motorists wishing to drive a conventional car, they must pass the highway code test and take the driving test. This is not the case for licence-free cars.

However, a licence-free car driver is not allowed to drive on expressways and motorways.

If a driver's licence is suspended or cancelled, it is still possible to drive a licence-free car.

In addition, the compulsory technical inspection for cars with a B licence has also been compulsory for quadricycles since 1st January 2023.

Finally, licence-free models offer more accessible prices (basic versions from 7000 euros)

Here is a summary table:

 

Licence-free car

Classic car

Road traffic regulations Test

❌

✔

Driving test

❌

✔

Accessible from 14 years old

✔

❌

Car-Insurance

✔

✔

Registration certificate / grey card

✔

✔

Technical control

✔

✔

Limited speed and power

✔

❌

Traffic restrictions

✔

❌

Type of motorisation

Electric or thermal

Electric or thermal

In summary, what are the differences between electric carts, quadricycles, licence-free car...?

In the end, "carts", "licence-free cars", "mini auto", "microcar", or "mini car" are all synonyms for quite the same thing: a motorised vehicle that can be driven with an AM licence.

All belong to the family of quadricycles ("4-wheelers").

An electric car is a light quadricycle that can be driven without a driving licence B and runs on electricity thanks to a rechargeable battery. As a result, it is a car with a lower environmental impact and is economical (starting at around 7,800 euros). 

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