LEVA-EU Feedback on the Commission’s Roadmap for an EU Strategy for a Sustainable and Smart Mobility
LEVA-EU is the only trade association in Europe that works exclusively for light electric vehicles. LEVA-EU currently represents around 50 companies, active in various parts of the LEV-business.
The term light, electric vehicle (LEVs) includes a range of vehicles with one, two, three or more wheels that offer affordable, accessible, healthy and clean transport. These vehicles are included in the L-category or excluded through Article 2.2 of Regulation 168/2013.
The objectives for the future Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy include:
Increasing the uptake of zero-emission vehicles
Making alternative solutions available to the people and businesses
Supporting digitalisation and automation
Improving connectivity and accessibility
To what extent are LEVs at the forefront of the Commission’s mind in achieving these objectives?
And yet, COVID-19 has clearly shown to what extent LEVs effectively offer a solution for sustainable transport. Thousands of cities throughout Europe, literally gave way, not only to pedestrians and cyclists but also to electric bicycles, electric cargo bikes, e-scooters, electric mopeds, light electric three and four-wheeled vehicles: affordable, accessible, healthy and clean transport.
And yet, the EU and its member states either ignore or marginalize LEVs, or both. With the UK and the Netherlands, we only quote 2 examples of countries that are still not allowing e-scooters on public roads. In other member states, millions of citizens use them for short trips … trips, a large percentage of which previously would have been done by car. Fifty percent of all car trips in the EU are less than 5 km and 30 percent even less than 3 km. And still, the Commission is focussing to a very large extent on alternative fuels and on charging infrastructure, in other words on cars. In the meantime, millions of people have taken up commuting by e-scooter, e-bike, speed pedelec, … whilst a growing number of businesses deliver their goods and services by electric cargo bikes.
The growing shortage of road space for pedestrians, bicycles and LEVs stirs up a public and political debate, not about pushing back big, polluting, noisy, dangerous, expensive vehicles and giving back space to affordable, accessible, healthy and clean travel. The debate is about how to continue to squeeze all that sustainable transport onto little strips on the side of the road.
LEVs do not need alternative fuels, nor charging infrastructure. They all work on small amounts of electricity, which they can get from just plugging them into any power point. LEVs first and foremost need the right regulatory framework. Their uptake is very seriously hampered by European and national regultory bottlenecks, which the Commission refuses to solve.