Comments Off on fka and TRL announce Webinar for new Personal Mobility Devices Study on behalf of European Commission
Regulation 168/2013 on the approval and market surveillance of 2- or 3-wheel vehicles and quadricycles is the core of technical legislation and categorization of light electric vehicles (LEVs). These are either included in the scope of the legislation. That is for instance the case for electric cargocycles with more than 250W or for speed pedelecs. Or, they come under one of the exclusions listed in Article 2.2 of the Regulation. That is for instance the case for EPACs, i.e. electric bikes with pedal assistance up to 250W and 25 km/h, but also for e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles, etc.
If they are excluded from Regulation 168/2013, the vehicles come under the Machinery Directive. This opens the possibility of developing harmonized standards, which offer presumption of conformity. If your vehicle complies with the standard, it is presumed to be in conformity with the Machinery Directive. However, so far, there is only one harmonized standard for LEVs, i.e. EN 15194:2017. The EN 17128:2020 for vehicles without a seat and self-balancing vehicles has not been harmonized, nor will the future standards for e-cargocycles be.
Two major legal problems
Current legislation for LEVs poses two major problems. First, the legislation has not been specifically written for LEVs and is therefore not adequate. This results in very serious legal bottlenecks, which obstruct market development. One of the worst affected vehicle categories is L1e-A “Powered Cycles”, i.e. electric cycles with a maximum speed of 25 km/h and maximum 1 kW. As a result, virtually no vehicles have been type-approved in L1e-A
Commission acknowledges problems
Vehicles excluded from Regulation 168/2013 are for their use completely dependant on national rules. Some member states for instance do not allow the use of e-scooters on public roads. On the other hand, all member states have granted EPACs the same status as conventional bicycles, which allowed the market to prosper.
The European Commission is cognizant of the fact that current European technical legislation causes serious problems for LEVs but so far, failed to do anything to solve those problems. In 2021, the Commission asked TRL to conduct a study into so-called “Personal Mobility Devices” (PMDs). This term covers standing and seated e-scooters, EPACs, L1e-A Powered Cycles, cycles designed to pedal in L1e-B (speed pedelecs), electric cargocycles, self-balancing vehicles, e-hoverboards, e-monowheels and e-skateboards. The study concluded that LEVs would benefit most from their own, separate technical framework, a solution which LEVA-EU has been advocating since its establishment.
The file remained shelved for two years, but now the Commission has ordered yet another study. fka and TRL announced the launch of a study: “on behalf of the European Commission to investigate the methods by which the technical characteristics of micromobility devices could be regulated in the European Union.“
On the 8th of December at 2pm (Central European Time), fka and TRL will hold a webinar which is intended to provide a briefing to the micromobility industry, government representatives, safety charities and other NGOs, and other interested stakeholders on the project and the support that will be required by fka and TRL. LEVA-EU was informed that the term “micromobility” should be interpreted in a broad sense and covers all vehicles, which were subject of the previous study, i.e. e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles, electric cycles and speed pedelecs.
A little less than a year ago, LEVA-EU Member Alligt, a Dutch manufacturer of plastic wheels and parts for cargo cycles and velomobiles, gave the Bike2 pedal generator a new chance. The product was originally developed by a Danish company, which ultimately didn’t manage to bring a finished product to market. Alligt was among one of their first customers and worked with Bike2 to test the pedal generator. Eventually, they entered into an agreement as a result of which Alligt acquired the Bike2 patent.
CIXI.life is a French company and also a LEVA-EU Member, that has been developing its own pedal generator for the last 8 years. Their development is based on their mission to help people be more active in their travels for the benefit of their health. Furthermore, the system allows for a much smaller vehicle than a car, which helps make mobility more sustainable. Their pedal generator is several steps ahead of the Bike2 product.
In an effort to protect their product and make investment in their production more attractive, CIXI.life has now acquired the Bike2 patent. The addition of the Bike2 patent to their own patent offers CIXI.life optimal protection. Alligt retains a license for Bike2, which allows the Dutch company to continue producing the Bike2 system in small numbers with its partners.
Alligt is very pleased with the agreement because CIXI.life has the ambition to bring the pedal generator to market in significant numbers. The two companies have agreed that if CIXI.life does not achieve this objective by 2027, the patent will be returned to Alligt. This demonstrates the level of confidence that CIXI.life has in their team.
Early next year, they will have a development kit ready in limited quantities, along with a team to support the market introduction. Here is more information about the development kit.
The agreement allows Alligt to invest in the further development of their hybrid cargo bike wheels. These visually attractive wheels are made of elastic high-end plastic on the inside, combined with a high impact resistance extruded aluminum rim specifically designed for commercial use.
Comments Off on Last call for LEVA-EU meeting on dumping, Thursday 16 November in Brussels
The possible revision of the trade defence measures against e-bikes from China is the direct reason for LEVA-EU to convene a meeting on Thursday, 16 November in Brussels. The trade association for light electric vehicle businesses argues that a new period of 5 years of measures would continue to cause unprecedented damage to the electric bicycle sector in Europe. That is why LEVA-EU wants to discuss with the affected companies and their lawyers how the current immense problems can be tackled jointly and how a possible request for review can be jointly responded to.
The meeting is open to any company which currently is or has been affected by actions by customs and/or OLAF. Both LEVA-EU members and non-members are welcome. The companies and their lawyers can participate in the meeting free of charge, provided they first register with LEVA-EU manager, Annick Roetynck, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +32 475 500 588.
The companies are invited to submit a short report of their case to LEVA-EU, which will allow to organize the consultation around a few “cases“. That consultation will be aimed at achieving a possible joint approach to all customs/OLAF actions as well as to the possible review of the dumping measures. The meeting is also intended to offer lawyers the opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues about argumentation and defence in various cases.
The companies known to LEVA-EU as being under attack have been invited directly. All other companies and/or their lawyers are urged to register with LEVA-EU as soon as possible, upon which they will receive a direct invitation. All companies involved are also requested to pass on the invitation for this meeting to other companies that are under attack.
In the meantime, MLEX reports that “EU manufacturers” have effectively requested the Commission to extend the anti-dumping and countervailing duties on electric bikes from China for another 5 years. According to MLEX, “the companies asking for a review, argue that without import restrictions, there’s a risk Chinese rivals will resume distorted imports in Europe and hurt EU businesses.” The Commission is expected to decide by 19 January whether to open expiry reviews.
Comments Off on LEVA-EU interested in Horizon Call Light Commercial Vehicles
On 7 December, the Horizon call “New designs, shapes, functionalities of Light Commercial Vehicles (2Zero Partnership)“. Will open. The deadline for the proposal is 18 April 2024.
The main objective of this call is to deliver new urban optimized light commercial zero-emission vehicles with a focus on goods transport, that are affordable, safe, sustainable and reliable and with a strong engagement from freight services users and fleet owners in the definition of requirements and testing. The focus will be to identify and overcome the main barriers for the development of new LCV concepts for urban and sub-urban logistics and freight mobility.
LEVA-EU is interested in taking on a possible partner role in this framework. LEVA-EU has a very in-depth knowledge of the technical legislation for L-category vehicles and electric cargo bikes. Consequently, LEVA-EU also has a very extensive knowledge of legal obstacles to the development of sustainable light commercial vehicles. In addition, LEVA-EU is particularly well connected to the LEV-community, so the organisation can put that network at the service of any project. As a result, LEVA-EU can also play an important role in dissemination and communication.
Any consortium planning a project around L-category electric vehicles and/or electric cargo bikes is welcome to contact LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck to discuss cooperation opportunities: email@example.com, tel. +32 475 500 588.
Comments Off on Join LEVA-EU Meeting on the devastating anti-dumping measures against e-bikes
The anti-dumping measures against electric bicycles from China do not create the level playing field, that EBMA and the European Commission claim to aspire to. The measures prove to rather create a minefield, where many bomb craters threaten to appear soon.
On 2 May 2023, the European Commission has given notice that, unless a review is initiated, the anti-dumping measures against e-bike imports from China will expire on 19 January 2024. LEVA-EU considers it virtually impossible that EBMA will forego this opportunity for another five years of dumping measures. LEVA-EU fears that this will be the death sentence for many European companies. That is why the professional association is convening a meeting on 16 November in Brussels for all companies under attack.
Union producers had time until 19 October to submit a written request for a review. This request had to contain sufficient evidence that the expiry of the measures would be likely to result in a continuation or recurrence of dumping and injury. Should the Commission decide to review the measures, importers, exporters, representatives of the exporting country and Union producers will then have an opportunity to respond to the review request.
Today, there is no information (yet) as to whether EBMA has requested a review. Neither EBMA nor the Commission have communicated about this so far. The chance EBMA has not requested a review seems to be non-existent.
A possible revision of the dumping measures is the direct reason for LEVA-EU to convene a meeting on Thursday, 16 November in Brussels. A new period of 5 years of measures would continue to cause unprecedented damage to the electric bicycle sector in Europe. That is why LEVA-EU wants to discuss with the affected companies and their lawyers how the current immense problems can be tackled jointly and how a possible request for review can be jointly responded to.
The meeting is open to any company which is currently or has been affected by actions by customs and/or OLAF. Both LEVA-EU members and non-members are welcome. The companies and their lawyers can participate in the meeting free of charge, provided they first register with LEVA-EU manager, Annick Roetynck, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +32 475 500 588. The companies are invited to submit a short report of their case to LEVA-EU, which will allow to organize the consultation around a few “cases“. That consultation will be aimed at achieving a possible joint approach to all customs/OLAF actions and to a possible review of the dumping measures. The meeting is also intended to offer lawyers the opportunity to exchange ideas with colleagues about argumentation and defence in various cases.
The companies that LEVA-EU knows have been attacked will be invited directly. All other companies and/or their lawyers are urged to register with LEVA-EU as soon as possible, upon which they will receive a direct invitation. All companies involved are also requested to pass on the invitation for this meeting to other companies that are under attack.
Import statistics seem to give little reason to further restrict imports of electric bikes from China by extending the anti-dumping measures for another 5 years. Import numbers have decimated and, according to Bike Europe, in general the entry-level and mid-range market is doing particularly poorly. Between January and July 2023, imports from China shrank by more than a quarter to just 88,000 units. So, one could conclude that the measures are having an effect and could be lifted.
However, it is particularly unlikely that EBMA will stop here. There are currently so many actions against European companies accused of circumventing anti-dumping measures that EBMA may have little choice but to argue that systematic circumvention is taking place. Continuation of the measures would appear to be the logical way forward in the fight against that alleged circumvention.
Moreover, over the past 4 years and 9 months, EBMA has very systematically developed a discourse on bringing production back to Europe. In the recently published European Declaration on Cycling, the European Commission lists as an action point: “creating conditions to increase the European production of a broad range of bicycles (including e-bikes, speed pedelecs, and bikes for people with disabilities) and their components, including access to materials, equipment and maintenance of a global level playing field through existing EU trade defence instruments;” Herewith, the Commission itself is, as it were, already announcing the extension of the measures even before the investigation has actually taken place.
In February this year, the European Parliament had called for that Declaration in a resolution, which also states: “(The Parliament) calls on the Commission and the Member States to support the production of ‘Made in Europe’ bicycles and components, thereby stimulating the competitiveness of EU industry, by bridging the investment gap, maintaining a global level playing field and stimulating supply chain reshoring and security, and by encouraging high-quality jobs, creating cycling clusters and enhancing industry-related vocational training;”
The European Parliament even jubilantly announced that the current workforce in the “EU cycling ecosystem” could grow from 1 million to 2 million by 2030. Although dumping measures are not legally meant to create jobs, EBMA will obviously not fail to argue that dumping measures are still needed for at least another five years to “bring back” production here and to get people here to work. The fact that things are not quite flourishing for among others the Accell Group, one of EBMA’s major/leading members, may well only strengthen the argument for protecting European industry from the so-called great Chinese danger.
Reality, however, is somewhat different. In EBMA’s story of threats from the Far East, protection of union producers, reshoring production, job creation, … an essential element is missing. While EBMA works so hard to protect and to make some European companies prosper, the survival of innumerable other European companies is under serious threat. They are under attack and being accused of circumvention, fraud, even crimes that can lead to prison sentences. If all the fines and penalties hanging over their heads are to be collected and enforced, these companies will perish. The jobs they have created will disappear. They will no longer pay taxes and social security. Their European suppliers and distributors will suffer as well. Overall supply will shrink, prices will go up and electric bikes will become less attractive to the European citizen.
The past 4 years and 9 months have led to anything but a level playing field. The production of ‘Made in Europe’ bicycles and components is anything but at a level that could meet demand. The very, very worst thing is that a company in Europe cannot legally start the production of electric bicycles and/or components without first having to pay dumping duties for months, if not years, and then being hit with unfair guarantees. As long as the European Commission and Parliament continue to ignore this deplorable disorder, any reference from the Commission or Parliament to a level playing field sounds particularly false. Both Commission and Parliament speak with such ease about a level playing field and about 1 million jobs that will double in 6 years. Who will measure the playing field during that time to check whether it is level? Who will count the number of jobs in the “EU Cycling ecosystem” in that period? And who will be held accountable if the goals are not achieved?
In a 2020-report on Trade Defence Instruments (TDI), the European Court of Auditors (ECA) found that the TDI had “a clearly positive impact for the e-bike sector. Without the measures, production in Europe would probably have ceased. Furthermore, TDI measures on normal bikes and bike parts have been vital in enabling EU bike producers to invest in and develop their e-bike production.” This ECA-conclusion was not based on any research but “on publicly available information and interviews with stakeholders.” With that the ECA made an explicit reference to an EBMA-study, not exactly an objective source. LEVA-EU herewith invites the ECA to do its homework again, this time based on proper research instead of interviews with biased stakeholders. LEVA-EU is confident that the ECA will no longer be able to find that the TDI had a clearly positive impact for the e-bike sector. As for the Commission, LEVA-EU hopes that, in case of a review, they will conduct a very thorough investigation and they will think very carefully about a new five-year term.
Comments Off on Become LEVA-EU member now and enjoy extended membership
The duration of LEVA-EU membership is one year. However, if you join between 1 November and 31 December, you can enjoy up to two months of additional membership. If you confirm and pay your membership now, it will run until 31 December 2024.
To become a member, simply return this reply form, https://rb.gy/0ebl2 , completed to email@example.com. You will receive the membership fee invoice, and once paid, the membership with all its many benefits will start running until the end of 2024.
LEVA-EU’s main activities are twofold:
1. We help and assist our members in finding their way in the maze of EU Rules and Regulations. Our members receive exclusive information, which includes market data, legal information, briefings on a variety of issues relevant to them, etc. Furthermore, our members enjoy our individualised information service. We answer all questions related to light, electric vehicles for free. We have a very extended network and we give our members access to that network. We are always happy to connect people.
2. We work directly with the EU institutions for better regulations for LEVs. We are working as experts in CEN, ISO and IEC TCs, as well as in the following European Commission’s Working Groups:
Motorcycle Working Group, which deals with the legislation for L-category
Machinery Expert Group, which deals with the Machirey Directive/Regulation
Expert Group on Urban Mobility
Sustainable Transport Forum
The main issue we are currently working on is the review of the technical rules for light, electric vehicles. We believe the current rules are inadequate and inaccurate. We have developed an extensive position paper with concrete proposals for a fundamental reform. We are confident that our proposal would allow for LEVs to achieve their full potential and to significantly contribute to making mobility sustainable.
Other major issues on our agenda are the Battery Regulation, the Critical Raw Materials Act, the Right to Repair Directive and the review of the Driving Licenses Directive. All these legislative texts are of particular intrest to LEV-companies.
You will find a lot more information on what LEVA-EU has to offer, here on our website, see “Who we are”, “What we do” and “Join us” in the top-menu of our homepage.
The membership fee depends on the number of staff in your company. If you inform us of that number, we can tell you what the exact fee for your company would be.
Should you wish, we can set up a short introductory online meeting.
Please note that membership fees are LEVA-EU’s only source of income. We don’t receive any subsidies from EU or national authorities. Should you wish, you can consult our financial details in the EU Transparency Register.
We hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming your company as a member of LEVA-EU!
The LEVA-EU Team: Annick, Bram, Eddie, Willow, Ineke, Dennis and Bruno
Comments Off on Join LEVA-EU for meeting on damage to EU e-bike companies by dumping measures
On 16 November 2023, LEVA-EU will be hosting a meeting in Brussels for EU e-bike companies who are being attacked by the customs, by OLAF or both, following the anti-dumping and countervailing measures against electric bikes from China. We have reports of companies in virtually all member states being threathened with duties, fines and even prison sentences for company managers, for alleged violation of the trade defence measures.
LEVA-EU invites all companies who are under attack as well as their lawyers to a meeting in Brussels on Thursday 16 November. The purpose of the meeting is two-fold. We want to consult with the companies on a plan of action to systematically raise the issues with the European Commission, Parliament, Olaf and customs services. Secondly, we want to enable the lawyers defending the attacked companies to exchange information and expertise to optimise their defence.
This week, LEVA-EU will send out direct invitations to those companies that have already contacted the association with respect to their problems with customs and/or OLAF. All other companies who have not been in touch with LEVA-EU yet, are invited to report to the organization by phone +32 475 500 588 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org. The meeting is open to both LEVA-EU members and non-members.
Further information about the meeting of 16 November will follow but those interested in attending are invited to contact LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck as soon as possible by phone, +32 475 500 588 or by mail, email@example.com.
Before the Summer, the Commission has announced the expiry of the measures against electric bicycles from China in the Official Journal. LEVA-EU is anticipating a review and potential renewal of the measures. In the meantime, the Kafkaesque legislation and the multiple actions by national customs services and OLAF, cause unacceptable disruption and damage to many European companies. Ahead of the anticipated review, LEVA-EU called a while ago on all companies affected by the measures for evidence. The response was so overwhelming that LEVA-EU now decided to invite all affected parties to a meeting in Brussels on 16 November.
LEVA-EU’s call for evidence resulted in a tsunami of companies calling at LEVA-EU’s booth at Eurobike to report on their ordeal. The stories are harrowing and the measures customs are threatening with are such that they will simply destroy businesses. The actions are taking place across Europe as well as in countries outside Europe, including Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, … The allegations are very diverse: circumvention of dumping measures against electric bikes assembled outside the EU, circumvention through assembly in the EU, wrong application of rules of origin, wrong HS-classification, circumvention of anti-dumping duties on essential bicycle parts, wrong use of the Commission’s exemption, assembly without end-use authorisation, assembly of parts not within time limit or simply “fraud“. Entrepreneurs are threatened not only with overdue duties and staggering fines but worse, imprisonment. One of them has effectively been detained for several weeks.
LEVA-EU has been working relentlessly to explain all legislation pertaining to this e-bike case. In meetings with the European Commission, we have explained the many aberrations an discrimination in the rules, the net result of which being that it’s virtually impossible to start-up a new e-bike business in Europe, while many existing businesses are under threat due to unfair rules. Ahead of the review, we will continue to do so. To this end, we are in the process of drawing up an inventory of as many cases as possible of European companies that are being investigated by customs and/or OLAF.
Comments Off on EU Court of Justice: speed pedelec is not a vehicle
At the request of the Belgian Court of Cassation, the European Court of Justice has finally given a clear answer to the question as to whether speed pedelecs and by extension EPACs should be considered “vehicles“. The answer is “no” and therefore both EPACs and speed pedelecs are definitively excluded from the insurance obligation for motorcycle vehicles.
In 2017, a Belgian speed pedelec rider was fatally injured in a collision with a car insured by KBC. Through his employer, the victim had employment insurance with P&V, which paid compensation. KBC and P&V then became embroiled in a legal battle. P&V argued that the victim was not regarded as having been the driver of a motor vehicle and was therefore entitled to a compensation as a vulnerable road user by the car insurance. KBC argued against this reasoning.
Point 1 of Article 1 of Directive 2009/103 relating to insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles, defines a motor vehicle as “any motor vehicle intended for travel on land and propelled by mechanical power, but not running on rails“. Following Article 3 of theis Directive, civil liability in respect of the use of vehicles must be covered by insurance.
The court has pointed out that article 3 refers to “motor insurance“, “an expression which traditionally refers, in everyday language, to insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of devices such as motorcycles, cars and trucks which, unless they are out of order, are propelled exclusively by means of mechanical power.” The court also noted that “Devices which are not propelled exclusively by mechanical power and which therefore cannot travel on land without the use of muscular power, such as the electric bicycle at issue (…), do not appear to be capable of causing bodily or material damage to third parties comparable, as regards gravity or scale, to the damage that may be caused by motorcycles, cars, trucks or other vehicles, travelling on land, propelled exclusively by mechanical power, which can reach speeds significantly higher than those that can be achieved by such devices, and which, at present, predominate on the road. The objective of protecting victims of road accidents caused by motor vehicles, pursued by Directive 2009/103, therefore does not require that such devices be covered by the concept of a ‘vehicle’, within the meaning of point 1 of Article 1 of that directive.“
Interesting detail, the speed pedelec in question was equipped with a boost function which allowed for propelling the speed pedelec by the motor alone up to 20 km/h. Muscle strength was however required to activate that function. On this basis, the Court concluded that the speed pedelec, including the boost function was excluded from the insurance obligation.
It remains to be seen what the effect of this ruling will be in the Member States where speed pedelecs are subject to motor insurance. In Belgium, speed pedelecs have always been exempt from this insurance.
Comments Off on Uni-Kassel proposes standard for size-based categorization of vehicles
At the German University of Kassel, a project on “human-scale mobility” has been running for some time. It focuses on promoting light mobility for environmental and climate protection, urban quality and quality of life and is funded by the German Federal Environment Foundation. Last year, the university organised a well-attended symposium on the topic of light mobility in which LEVA-EU also participated. That symposium and further professional discussions have now resulted in a technical standard that categorises vehicles according to their size. This categorization is meant to assist policies that are aimed at encouraging the use of smaller, lighter vehicles.
Over the past decades, passenger cars have become increasingly larger and heavier. In addition, many car users, when purchasing a new car, switch to larger vehicles (van, crossover, SUV, off-road vehicle) than their previous models. The proportion of new SUV registrations in Germany has been rising steadily for years and are now over 25%. In addition, the number of cars and car density (cars per 1000 inhabitants) continue to increase: from 2010 to 2019 alone, car density increased by around 12%.
As the number and size of the car fleet grows, there is an increase in problems:
Increasingly longer, wider and higher vehicles are taking up more public space. Wide cars exceed parking spaces adjacent to the road and thus use sidewalks or part of the road itself. Due to increasingly longer models, fewer cars fit in parking bays. High cars, in turn, block visual connections in the street and have an intimidating effect on people walking, cycling as well as people in smaller cars.
Car users are increasingly parking their vehicles on the street because their size means they cannot fit anymore into their garages.
The decision to purchase a large car is based, among other things, on the fear of car users for accident damage in collisions. They “armour” themselves instead of pushing for safe speed levels and effective behaviour monitoring all. Because of the massive cars they become, paradoxically, themselves a danger to others.
In Germany, transport is a sector in which CO2 emissions must fall drastically in order to achieve the reduction targets. Larger cars not only use more energy and space, but also more raw materials and energy from production to disposal. In an era in which resources and energy conservation are a necessity, relative efficiency gains in production and operation are cancelled out by the increase of the size of cars and of the car fleet (rebound effect). The transition to battery electric vehicles leads to even more problems due to the weight of the batteries, which results in heavier vehicles, which is further reinforced by the desire for long ranges.
Municipalities and other stakeholders are therefore beginning to provide incentives for a reversal of the trend from progressive giantomania to light mobility. This requires a tool for operationalizing the “vehicle size” factor, which is provided with this technical standard. Based on the technical standard, which includes several parameters, vehicles are subdivided in 3 categories, i.e. small to large, which cover sizes from XXS to XXL
This categorization allows for a variety of applications. In technical discussions, the following possible applications are pointed out in particular:
– Definition of several, size-dependent measuring vehicles instead of only one measuring vehicle for passenger cars in the technical regulations – Size-differentiated designation of parking spaces, parking strips and other parking areas in public road space, on private land and in (private) multi-storey and underground car parks – Size-differentiated pricing of parking space in public spaces (e.g. residents’ parking fees) – Size-differentiated ban on entering/passing through narrow streets and alleys in old towns as well as in other sensitive urban areas of the city and size-differentiated access regulations on private property.