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Research Report 712 Safety of four-wheeled lightweight electric vehicles

Published: | Category: Healthy and safe people , Research programme , Research & reports | Audience: General

This research directly addresses the following Emissions Reduction Plan action: Determine whether legislative barriers preventing the use of some types of light low-emissions vehicles can be reduced without unduly compromising safety objectives. 

The research looked at settings in Europe, Japan and the USA, examining how they categorise vehicles, protection standards for their occupants and vulnerable road users and which roads they can use. Japan is the only place where lightweight EV safety standards are similar to other passenger cars. The fact that major manufacturers supply EVs that meet these standards demonstrates that car-like safety standards can be enforced without making EVs as heavy, inefficient, and expensive as other passenger cars. 

Safety data was examined for the UK, France and Germany. There is limited data available from the small fleets in these countries, however the casualty rates indicate that they’re less safe than passenger cars but safer than motorcycles.


accidentology, decarbonisation, electric, fleet size, lightweight, low-speed vehicles, micro-mobility, quadricycles, safety, vehicle safety regulation


M Edwards, TRL, Wokingham, United Kingdom
M Seidl, TRL, Wokingham, United Kingdom
L Smith, TRL, Wokingham, United Kingdom
LS Lee, TRL, Wokingham, United Kingdom
L Masibo, TRL, Wokingham, United Kingdom
K Mizuno, Nagoya University, Japan

Publication details

  • Author:
  • Published: December 2023
  • Reference: 712
  • ISBN/ISSN: ISBN 978-1-99-106835-4 (electronic) | ISSN 2815-8377 (electronic)