Contact ! Birò, a new electric quadricycle, amplifies the range of small city vehicles that can be driven without a license. Following Renault’s Twizy (launched in 2012) and Citroën’s AMI (coming to market in 2020), it is the Italian company Estrima that is coming to French city centers with its small vehicle, and especially in Paris, where a dedicated store, the Birò Store *, allows you to discover it. “20 Minutes”, which had already tested its competitors, could travel a few kilometers with it.
From tractor to quad bike
It’s a name that probably means nothing to you. Birò is Italian, born and made near Venice. It was the Estrima company that designed and created this electric quadricycle, drawing on its know-how from 30 years of manufacturing high-security tractor cabs. Needless to say, aboard the Birò there is a real sense of security. Its metal frame inspires confidence, and although the cabin of the vehicle remains very plastic, the driver and his passengers are comfortable. Furthermore, there was no real problem with the space, which we noticed as we sat next to Côme Drescher, General Manager of Birò France, who accompanied us to our test.
“Birò is the smallest electric quadricycle with 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 (L x W x H), the reduced length of the vehicle speaks in favor.
Park (almost) everywhere, and for free
Birò can be driven without a driving license from the age of 14 and is easy to drive. Only two pedals (one accelerator and one brake pedal), not to mention a small lever to operate (to select forward or reverse gears), must be tamed before entering the road. Nothing means. The vehicle, whose top speed is 45 km / h, claims good torque with some pressure during acceleration and rapid braking.
The absence of power steering requires you to hold both hands on the steering wheel to turn and maneuver. At the rear, a small storage space of 41 liters can accommodate a few breeds, but a little more. A more advanced version of the Birò, the Birò Big, offers 300 liters of storage space with a proper trunk.
Testing the quad bike, despite a fairly rough level of comfort, is exciting. We appreciated the possibility of sneaking in almost everywhere, but above all the possibility of parking perpendicular to the sidewalks between two cars (which AMI does not allow). By taking advantage of a CritAir 0 sticker, the cost of parking the Birò is zero.
Two types of batteries to choose from
Estrima had a great idea for the lithium battery in his quad bike. The manufacturer thus offers two options: either a fixed battery with a range of 100 km (charging time on the mains: approximately 5 hours); or a removable battery with a range of 50 km (3 hours recharging). Dilemma when buying, as you have to choose one or the other option.
The removable battery certainly limits the autonomy of the small car, but adds great convenience to it: mounted on wheels, like a suitcase, this 27 kg battery can be easily removed and moved, and can thus be recharged anywhere. Another point not to be overlooked: the base price for Birò (from 10,800 euros, organic bonus of 900 euros not deducted) does not include … the doors. They are also removable (which can be noticeable on sunny days), but quickly become essential when the weather is not good.
Up to 16,000 euros with options
Thus, the price of Birò can reach 16,000 euros with various options! Côme Drescher, general manager of Birò France, insists on the almost endless customization options, 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 “retrofit” aspect of his vehicle, which can be disassembled and completely renovated. “We will keep the tubular structure of a Birò at the end of its life to produce a new model,” Côme Drescher explains to “20 Minutes”. Another interesting point: the quadricycle includes a telematics box as standard, which, attached to an application, makes it possible to offer car sharing. Maybe enough to make your purchase profitable.
The more commercially aggressive AMI
Purchase that presupposes, if not a significant expense, a genuine civic engagement. We regret that Estima cannot offer such an aggressive commercial offer as Citroën and its AMI. This quad bike is not only cheaper to buy (from 7390 euros, excluding the ecological bonus of 900 euros), but it is also available with a very attractive long-term rental offer. This is based on an initial rent of 3,700 euros, then monthly benefits of 19.99 euros per month for 48 months. For its part, the Renault Twizy is offered at a price close to Biròs, from 11,600 euros, excluding organic bonus.
Without cost, it is ultimately difficult to oppose the various rivals. Twizy is fun to drive, but probably at the end of its life. AMI looks like a really small car with a very inviting enclosed living space, but not so reduced in size. As for Birò, its compactness and modularity are still solid arguments. On the speed side same battle: up to 45 km / h. In terms of autonomy, the advertised are 100 km for Twizy and Birò and 75 km for AMI. There will remain the taste and colors, which are indisputable.
* 27, rue des Archives, Paris IV.