Transportation Minister Israel Katz signed off Wednesday on a pilot program for the import of 1,000 micro quadricycle cars to Israel.
Quadricycles, fourwheeled microcars that fall into “light” and “heavy” categories, have become increasingly popular in Europe and are now set to hit the Israeli market.
The pilot program will begin this August, at which time members of the general public will be able to purchase the cars from importers who have received special permits, the Transportation Ministry said. The goal of the project is to test the possibility of integrating this vehicle type into the urban movement of Israel, according to the ministry.
Launching a pilot import program for the micro quadricycle cars was the recommendation of an inter-ministerial committee of experts, jointly arranged by the Transportation Ministry and the Technion, the ministry said.
“This is a vehicle with small dimensions that is likely to be an efficient transportation solution for reducing congestion, especially in urban centers, and provide an alternative to private vehicles,” Katz said.
The European Union first enacted a directive concerning microcars in 1992, at that point grouping together two- and three-wheeled motor vehicles with quadricycles.
Only in a 2002 directive did the EU differentiate between “light quadricycles, whose unladen mass is not more than 350 kg. (category L6e),” and heavy quadricycles, “whose unladen mass is not more than 400 kg. (category L7e)” – in both cases not including the mass of an electric battery.
Light quadricycles would abide by the rules of mopeds, while heavy quadricycles would abide by the rules of motor tricycles, designed for speeds of more than 45 kilometers per hour, the 2002 directive says.
In January 2013, both the European Parliament and European Council passed a regulation governing market surveillance for twoand three-wheeled vehicles as well as quadricycles, including environmental protection and safety measures, which will be implemented on January 1, 2016.
The cars to be imported for Israel’s pilot program will run on electricity and will hail from the L7e category of heavy quadricycles that are not more than 400 kilograms.
During the first stage of the program, quadricycle operators will be required to have a private vehicle (Class B) driver’s license, the ministry said. Also, over the course of the first pilot year, it will be forbidden for the quadricycles to travel on intercity highways, limiting travel to urban roads.
To get the program on its way, the ministry on Wednesday invited car importers to consider taking part in the pilot import.
In August, the car will be marketed to the general public, with a condition that only one passenger can ride with the driver, the ministry said.