Contact ! Birò, a new electric quadricycle, reinforces the offer of small urban vehicles that can be driven without a license. After Renault’s Twizy (launched in 2012) and Citroën’s AMI (which hits the market in 2020), it is the Italian company Estrima that arrives in French city centers with its small vehicle, and in particular in Paris where a dedicated, the Birò Store*, allows you to discover it. “20 Minutes”, which had already tested its competitors, managed to cover a few kilometers with it.
From tractor to quad
It’s a name that probably won’t mean anything to you. Birò is Italian, born and bred near Venice. It was the company Estrima that designed and created this electric quadricycle, taking advantage of the know-how of 30 years of manufacturing high-security tractor cabins. Needless to say, on board the Birò there is a real sense of security. Its metallic structure inspires confidence, and even if the vehicle’s cabin remains very plastic, the driver and his passenger are at ease. Also, no real space issues as we noticed when we sat next to Côme Drescher, general manager of Birò France, who accompanied us to our test.
“Birò is the smallest electric quadricycle at 1.74 meters long, 1.03 meters wide and 1.56 meters high”, recalls Côme Drescher. Compared to the Citroën AMI, which measures 2.41 x 1.39 x 1.52 meters (W x W x H), the reduced length of the vehicle is favourable.
Park (almost) everywhere and for free
Able to be driven without a license from the age of 14, Birò is easy to drive. Only two pedals (an accelerator pedal and a brake pedal), not to mention a small lever to operate (to choose forward or reverse) must be tamed before hitting the road. It means nothing. The vehicle, whose top speed is 45 km/h, claims good torque with some thrust during acceleration and rapid braking.
The absence of power steering requires keeping both hands on the steering wheel to turn and manoeuvre. At the rear, a small 41-litre storage space can store a few races but little else. A more advanced version of the Birò, the Birò Big, offers 300 liters of storage space with a real trunk.
Testing the quad, despite a rather rough comfort level, is engaging. We appreciated the possibility of sneaking almost everywhere, but especially the possibility of parking perpendicularly to the sidewalks between two cars (which AMI does not allow). Benefiting from a CritAir 0 sticker, the Birò’s parking cost is zero.
Two types of batteries to choose from
Strima had a great idea for the lithium battery in his ATV. The manufacturer thus offers two possibilities: either a fixed battery with a range of 100 km (charging time on the network: around 5 hours); or a removable battery with a range of 50 km (3 hours of charging). Dilemma when buying, because you have to choose one or the other possibility.
The removable battery certainly limits the range of the small car, but adds great convenience to it: mounted on wheels, like a suitcase, this 27 kg battery pack can be easily removed and moved and can be recharged anywhere. Another point not to forget: the base price of Birò (from 10,800 euros, ecological bonus of 900 euros not deducted) does not include… the doors. They’re also removable (which can be appreciable on sunny days), but quickly become essential when the weather isn’t good.
Up to 16,000 euros with options
Thus, the price of Birò can reach 16,000 euros with different options! Côme Drescher, General Manager of Birò France, insists on the almost endless possibilities for personalisation, with, for example, the addition of Sonus Faber or Bose speakers, leather upholstery or even a table top made from recycled plastic. The manufacturer takes the opportunity to emphasize the “retrofitable” aspect of its vehicle, which can be completely dismantled and reconditioned. “We are going to keep the tubular structure of a Birò at the end of its useful life to manufacture a new model”, explains Côme Drescher to “20 Minutes”. Another interesting point: the quadricycle includes a telematics box as standard which, when connected to an application, makes it possible to offer shared car. Maybe enough to make your purchase profitable.
The most commercially aggressive AMI
A purchase that supposes, if not a significant expense, a true civic commitment. We regret that Estima cannot offer a commercial offer as aggressive as that of Citroën and its AMI. This ATV is not only cheaper to buy (from €7390, excluding the €900 eco bonus) but it is also affordable with a very attractive long-term rental offer. This is based on a first rent of 3,700 euros, then monthly payments of 19.99 euros per month for 48 months. In turn, the Renault Twizy is offered at a price close to that of the Birò, from 11,600 euros, excluding ecological bonuses.
Excluding cost, it remains difficult to oppose the various rivals. The Twizy is fun to drive, but probably at the end of its lifespan. The AMI looks like a real small car with a very cozy enclosed space, but not too small in size. As for Birò, its compactness and modularity remain solid arguments. On the speed side, the same struggle: up to 45 km/h. As for autonomy, those announced are 100 km for the Twizy and Birò, and 75 km for the AMI. The tastes and colors that are indisputable will remain.
* 27, rue des Archives, Paris IVth.