Law in Italy permits a class of cars, legally known as "Light quadricycles" to be driven by anyone over the age of 14, without any licence, test or other qualification. The vehicles are ruled by three main limits, a maximum empty weight of 350kg, a maximum speed of 45km/h and an engine not greater than 50cc (if petrol) or with a power output of not more than 4kW (if diesel). Under current legislation they can only legally be used as a single-seater, although almost all models available on the market have two seats; it is planned to modify the law to allow travel two-up, if the driver is over 18.
Currently, most of the cars in this class use a two-cylinder diesel engine of around 500cc size, all producing the maximum 4kW. Front wheel drive and automatic transmissions are universally fitted. The chassis are all made from tubular steel, covered with plastic body panels, body length varies from 1.3 to 1.5m. Suspension is independent all round, with 145 tyres on 13" rims the norm. Brakes are generally discs at the front and drums at the rear, although some models have discs all round.
Currently (2002) these cars sell around 6000 units per year in Italy, and around 35,000 in Europe. France is another major producer of such vehicles.
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