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Ion beam formation at low energy (∼1 keV or so) is more difficult to accomplish than at high energy because of beam blowup by space‐charge forces in the uncompensated region within the extractor, an effect which is yet more pronounced for heavy ions and for high beam current density. For the same reasons, the extracted ion beam is more strongly subject to space charge blowup than higher energy beams if it is not space‐charge neutralized to a high degree. A version of vacuum arc ion source with an extractor that produces low‐energy metal ion beams at relatively high current (∼0.5–10 kV at up to ∼100 mA) using a multi‐aperture, accel–decel extractor configuration has been created. The experimentally observed beam extraction characteristics of this source is compared with those predicted using the axcel-inp code, and the implied downstream beam transport with theoretical expectations. It is concluded that the low‐energy extractor performance is in reasonable agreement with the code, and that good downstream space charge neutralization is obtained. Here, the code and the experimental results are described, and the features that contribute to good low‐energy performance are discussed.