I tested the smallest electric car in the world – Liberation

Boarding the Estrima Biro, an Italian quadricycle without a 100% electric license, which has just entered the French market with record smallness.

The enthusiasm for the car without a license is well established, especially among young people. Logically, the manufacturers also decline it on the electric side, as proof of the Estrima Biro, from the Italian Estrima, which comes to compete with the Citroën AMI in France, after having proven itself for more than ten years in the Boot. With a record on the shoulder: its 1.74 meters in length and 1.03 meters in width make it the smallest 100% electric quadricycle in the world according to its manufacturer. Thanks to Côme Drescher, general manager of Biro France, we tested this miniature car (two-seater) in the streets of the capital, and imagine that we had a good laugh.

Arrived in front of Biro Store (1), four vehicles are parked vertically along the sidewalk – yes, vertically: the length of the carts represents the width of a normal-sized car. From the outset, the impression that the bumper is made of plastic is obvious, but Côme Drescher certifies that it is much more resistant than one would think since Estrima can claim to be, at the origin, a company specializing in the manufacture of tractor cabins.

The Estrima Biro exists in two models, and two maximum speeds, 45 and 60 km/h. For the first, no need for a driver’s license, only to be 14 years old. Because we love speed, we were able to test the fastest (which requires obtaining the code, a minimum of 16 years and a practical exam of thirty minutes), but hey the limitation to 30 in Paris intramuros n don’t allow a hint of madness…

The cart does not wobble

The little green racing car is very cute, I feel like I’m in a cartoon. Its very small wheels are placed against the pavement, its headlights look at me tenderly, it seems that it is calling me. The interior of the vehicle is khaki, the design of the dashboard is reminiscent of the old Alfa Romeo or Fiat, there are different models of seats, and you can choose a color, the vehicle is customizable. And hyper-luminous thanks to the panoramic roof and the transparent Plexiglas doors – bring sunglasses in case of good weather. The equipment, which includes a telephone holder and even an umbrella holder in the back, has little to envy to that of a classic car. On the power side, two types of batteries are at work: the first must be taken out of the vehicle and charged for three hours to travel 55 kilometres, the other, which remains at the front of the vehicle, is more powerful, allows you to drive 100 kilometers, but requires five hours of charging.

We open the roof a little to take advantage of the little wind blowing over Paris, and we turn on the ignition. Let’s go for a little excursion in the 1st arrondissement. I start as a passenger, to understand how the machine works, then I take the wheel. This one is parallel to the ground, a bit like in buses, it’s strange at first but you get used to it quite quickly. First acceleration, it pushes well. Red light, we press the brake, with difficulty: the pedal is super hard. First corner, everything is fine, no, the cart does not waver, strong on the supports, a good rotation. Fire start, it honks behind, Paris obliges. Last corner before arriving, we look in the mirrors, right, left, blind spot, and we accelerate on the last straight line. We feel good, we have good power, and the vehicle is super stable.

Leg cramps

Côme Drescher used to “the combination of a scooter and a car”, with a scooter penchant for maneuverability and ease in parking. Big strong point of the car in my eyes: thanks to the transparent doors, we have very good visibility of pedestrians and sidewalks. Downside: it is better not to be very tall. As I peak at 1m75, I had cramps in my legs, because of the pedals shifted to the right, almost in the center of the vehicle.

My overall impression? The Biro is above all a scooter, ultra-practical for getting around town, making very short trips, quietly, and parking everywhere. In addition to being environmental friendly, it is cute and rather pleasant to drive. It remains to be able to pay 10,000 euros, or 3,000 more than for the Citroën AMI. That said, Estrima, which works on its after-sales service and offers home repairs, also offers second-hand cars, for smaller budgets.

(1) 27 Rue des Archives, 75001.