Small But Mighty: The Best Electric Microcars Available Right Now
Mini has always equalled mighty if you’re looking for a nimble option to get you places, as proven by the continued success of electric microcars.
These vehicles were never going to break records for the fastest electric car or the electric car with the longest range, but that’s the point. Electric microcars were made to maximise convenience, which is why you see so many of them out and about, currently.
Minicars, microcars, or quadricycles, whatever you call them, have earned their spot at the electric transport table, and you’ll see why as you read on.
Today we’re going to be pinpointing the best electric microcars in the market to give you a better understanding of what’s currently available.
We’ll also include additional information such as price, features, and power specifications; everything you need to make an informed decision.
Let’s get moving.
What is an Electric Microcar?
The hint is in the name when it comes to electric microcars. Simply put, they are scaled-down versions of other electric transport, but what they lack in seat numbers they more than makeup for in convenience.
You see, these minicars were designed to help you navigate nearby locations with ease – ‘nearby’ meaning anything within a 20-50 mile radius. Initially released with noisy and polluting engines, today’s microcars are a lot different in contrast — mostly thanks to the electric parts they now sport.
What’s unique about this type of transporter is that it can be driven as early as the age of 14 with a licence due to its classification. Do keep in mind that this can vary depending on the type of microcar you own/are looking at.
Heavy quadricycles, for example, are slightly different and will require you to be 16 years old and have a B1 licence in order to move around.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the two classifications, for reference:
- Light Quadricycles: Similar to mopeds and can be driven from the age of 14 with a licence. They weigh no more than 350kg and travel at a maximum of 45km/h with power never exceeding 4 kW/5.4 hp
- Heavy Quadricycles: Can be driven by 16-year-olds and up with a B1 licence, have a weight of no more than 400 kg and a maximum speed of 80 km/h. Power does not exceed 15 kW/20 hp.
The Best Electric Microcars Available Right Now
Unlike other short-distance transporters, there are actually quite a lot of options in terms of the number of electric microcars available right now. That said, some are better than others and are definitely worth considering.
Below we’ve picked out the very best electric microcars available at this moment in time. This list is in no particular order, either, so feel free to move about the list at your own pace.
Please Note: The costs associated with these vehicles might fluctuate as time goes on.
Released in 2011 and still going strong, the Renault Twizy is considered by many to be the quintessential microcar.
It has dual homologation, from a light quadricycle with 5 hp and to a heavy quadricycle with 17 hp and 80 km/h speed. In both cases, the claimed range is 100 km and full recharging takes about 3.5 hours. This is lightning fast when compared to other microcars and most other electric cars.
Unlike a lot of other microcars, the Twizy seats two people, one behind the other as if they were riding a motorbike.
All that said, the Twizy is on the more expensive side of the scale for a microcar, which could throw a lot of potential buyers off. Still, it’s a transporter that has more than stood the test of time, making it very reliable in a pinch.
XEV’s Yoyo is a big hit across Europe, and it’s easy to see why.
This heavy quadricycle can reach a top speed of up to 50 mph (roughly 80 km/h) thanks to its 8 kW and 10 hp battery, a battery that can easily be removed from the rear should you ever need to.
Range-wise, the Yoyo promises at least 90 miles (roughly 150 km) between charges, allowing you to go about your business as you see fit.
Easily the best thing about the Yoyo is the ultra-modern interior that connects seamlessly with any mobile device for additional functionality. Through your phone you can see how much juice is left in the battery, and so much more.
It takes around 6 hours to charge the Yoyo, which is slightly longer than the Twizy (just something to keep in mind if you’re looking to move around often without delays).
Another heavy-hitter in the minicar category, introducing the Citroen Ami, a lightweight transporter capable of hauling two people up to 45 miles or so courtesy of a 5.5 kWh battery motor.
This motor can be recharged from a normal household socket in around three hours, making it slightly faster than the Twizy. Range is lower, though, as this is a light quadricycle.
Speed-wise, the Ami can travel up to 27 mph (roughly 45 km/h) as imposed by the highway code. This can limit its viability if you’re in the market for something a little quicker.
Visually, the Ami is one of the most unique-looking vehicles out there, period, and that applies to all kinds of electric vehicles, not just microcars. The blocky design is instantly recognisable, giving the minicar a tonne of personality.
Brand: Tazzari EV
Tazzari EV is an Imola-based company responsible for a variety of powerful microcars fit for all kinds of unique tasks, such as hauling goods (thanks to the Minimax Cubo Van) and beach transport (thanks to the Zero 4 Buggy).
For city travel, the Minimax is king and is available in two configurations – one is a light quadricycle and the other is a heavy quadricycle.
The great thing about the Minimax, regardless of which one you go with, is that it can be parked easily like a scooter in both the city and garage and takes up very little space, equivalent to a motorcycle.
Range is capped at around 125 miles (200 km), which is quite impressive when compared to some of the other options mentioned above/below.
One of the main reasons why a lot of people buy this microcar is due to its ability to go from 0 to 80% in less than an hour, which is lightning quick, allowing seamless transitions between trips.
The e-Aixam City light quadricycle with City and Coupé models, power output of 6 kW and 8.15 hp, and the 6.5 kWh lithium-ion battery is capable of a range of 80 miles (roughly 130 km) when fully charged.
It takes around 3 and 30 minutes to charge this vehicle, which isn’t too bad, all things considered.
Some of the other microcars included in this list can be quite a distraction, visually speaking. If you’re looking for something a lot less out there, so to speak – something that doesn’t look too different from full-size vehicles – then Aixam will be right up your street.
Every vehicle they produce looks like something that could fill a full parking space, despite being a fraction of the size.
Why Buy an Electric Minicar?
We chalk up the success of electric minicars to three things:
- Carbon Emissions
Cost is an easy one to explain when you look at the number of drivers clocking on to how much money they spend a month on travel when travelling to and from work, or to the shops, or wherever.
Price-wise, these short transporters are a hell of a lot cheaper than other electric vehicles out there, which includes some high-end e bikes too!
Obviously, this isn’t a good option if you’re looking to do the school run due to the limited number of seats, but for anyone living a minimalist/healthy lifestyle, then there’s nothing better than a microcar!
The number of carbon emissions released by traditional ICE vehicles is another motivating factor, with eco-friendly drivers looking to drastically reduce the amount of carbon they produce.
This pushes them in the direction of electric vehicles, only they might not have the funds available to make the transition. Luckily, e microcars are very affordable, costing as low as £4,000.
Convenience is arguably a minicar’s greatest asset, which is why we’ve used the word multiple times up until this point.
The ability to plug in, plug out, and drive with little to no fuss is very satisfying, especially when you consider the amount of time it takes to charge these transporters compared to other full-scale electric vehicles. The Renault Twizy, for example, only takes 3.5 hours to charge.
Why Shouldn’t You Buy an Electric Minicar?
There are some drawbacks to owning an electric minicar that needs to be outlined, as you can expect.
The most obvious of which is the size of these vehicles. Not everyone will be comfortable in these transporters, especially tall folk over 6 foot 2 who struggle to find the leg room in standard vehicles, let alone electric microcars!
The same can be said for overweight individuals who might not appreciate the size of the cabin, not to mention, performance issues due to increased strain on the battery.
Another issue we see quite often is the unrealistic expectations drivers have when making the switch. They see that these are electric vehicles from top car manufacturers and they expect peak performance and range.
Again, these microcars were never made to be speed demons or range beasts, they were designed to help you go from point A to point B without any major costs or disruptions.
If you’re looking for an electric vehicle capable of taking you and your family on holiday, then it might be worth looking elsewhere.
Let’s say that again so that the people in the back can hear us:
Electric microcars aren’t the same as standard electric cars despite having the word ‘electric’ in the name.
Small But Mighty: The Best Electric Microcars Available Right Now
Our prediction going into the new year:
Electric microcars will continue to build momentum, giving money-conscious customers interested in downsizing (in more ways than one), plenty of options moving forward.
Still, our advice to anyone looking into these electric minicars would be to explore every option before getting your money out. As mentioned, there are some drawbacks that do limit the viability of these transporters.
And that’s without talking about how you can get a lot of full-sized EVs from the second-hand market for the same price as some of the top-end microcars.
Also, there are some decent options in the electric trike market if you’d rather put some level of effort into getting places. Charging these transporters could be a lot cheaper, bills-wise, as a result.
We’d recommend putting together a list of pros and cons in line with the microcar you like the look of, and then comparing that list to another involving any other electric transporters that have caught your eye.
This should help you make a realistic decision based on fact, rather than an idealistic version that doesn’t live up to your expectations.
Electric Minicar FAQs
Below we’ve highlighted and answered some popular questions surrounding electric microcars.
What is the smallest electric car available?
That would be a toss-up between the Renault Twizy and the Citroen Ami. Both are very small transporters that are known as electric quadricycles due to their limited powers and capabilities.
How fast do electric microcars travel?
Electric microcars are limited by certain laws, meaning they can only travel up to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometres an hour) on average. Changing this law would require a different type of licence, depending on where in the world you live.
Are small electric cars street-legal?
Yes, the majority of small electric cars you come across are street-legal, allowing you to drive around as you please. That said, the limited range and power do limit how far they can travel, which is why they are so often hailed as specialists in ‘urban’ transport.