Leva

LEVA-EU Positions

LEVA-EU regularly takes reasoned positions on various matters relating to light electric vehicles. Below is a selection of those positions. 

For more information, contact Annick Roetynck, +32 9 233 60 05, [email protected]

LEVA-EU fully endorses SBS position on Brexit and standardisation

Brussels, 14 September 2020 – As talks between the UK and the EU reach a decisive point, Small Business Standards (SBS), the association representing European Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in standardisation, has published a position paper stressing the importance of standardisation and conformity assessment in relation to trade and the future UK-EU relationship.

Standards and conformity assessment procedures play an essential role in trade. They can facilitate market access by reducing trade barriers and transaction costs, or in the case of diverging standards and conformity assessment procedures, create technical obstacles and impose additional testing and certification. Standardisation and conformity assessment are thus key elements that need to be carefully addressed in the future UK-EU relationship.

Today 95% of British standards are identical to the international and European ones. If the UK were to depart from the European standardisation system and develop its own solutions, it would be particularly costly for SMEs across both sides of the channel. Standards are widely used by SMEs to assess, test, trade and produce compatible products within tightly integrated value chains.

According to the position paper published by SBS, future cooperation on standardisation between the UK and the EU should be based on the key principles of European legislation including the transparency of processes, facilitation of stakeholder participation, access to information and draft standards. The UK should also keep its commitment to the single standard model whereby one single standard is in use across the EU and the UK on any given issue.

The mutual acceptance of test results and certificates is also important for SMEs for which paying twice for the same test can be prohibitive. Mutual recognition should be based on accreditation and relevant international standards. The position paper also highlights the need to keep a level playing field to prevent the creation of backdoors to import goods from third countries into the EU.
  
The position paper can be consulted through the following link. 

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. 

LEVA-EU’s full feedback is here.

LEVA-EU on the Challenge Innovative Batteries for eVehicles

We were reading through the announcement of the Challenge Innovative Batteries for eVehicles. To our astonishment it appeared from the rules for the contest that the challenge is only open for manufacturers of batteries for electric cars.

We are completely in the dark as to the reason for not opening up this challenge for manufacturers of batteries for light, electric vehicles. There are still a lot of issues to be resolved in this field, whilst some light, electric vehicles prove to be much more popular and successful than electric cars. Last year, an estimated 3 million electric bicycles were sold. Nevertheless, the business is still looking into weight reduction, range increase, new materials as well as into making batteries more sustainable. All e-bike batteries are Lithium-Ion, which as you undoubtedly know, still causes some sustainability issues.

LEVs other than electric bicycles also still have battery issues. The uptake of E-mopeds and E-motorcycles for instance is hindered by the fact that, due to the battery, their price-level is not yet competitive with their ICE counterparts. Furthermore, a growing number of LEVs, such as e-scooters, are being deployed in sharing systems, a trend that creates new challenges for the batteries.

In view of all the above, we would like to learn from the EIC what the reasons are for limiting the Challenge Innovative Batteries to electric cars and for not including LEVs

    EIC-reply:

    Thank you for your email enquiry about the EIC Batteries prize and the concerns you raise on behalf of the industries you represent.

    The purpose of the EIC batteries prize was to spur innovation in new/novel battery chemistries (battery cell chemistries) with performance vast superior to any battery technologies currently on the market. The prize does not attempt to favour one mobility sector over another.

    Moreover, the call text generally reads “The challenge is to develop a safe and sustainable battery for electric-vehicles” (https://ec.europa.eu/research/eic/index.cfm?pg=prizes_batteries).

    The competition requires a battery “prototype” to be produced and therefore any inventor/entrepreneur coming up with a solution of a battery (cell chemistry) that can achieve the required performance characteristics, would be eligible for the prize.  

    It is true however that the text addresses specific requirements that are relevant for cars, namely; range, time required to recharge, whole-life costs, safety.  The electric car was chosen simply because it represents the most challenging platform for a battery’s performance in terms of energy density, weight, re-charging time and cost.

    In addition, the requirement for the field tests  “..will involve the fitting of the battery in a Euro NCAP small family car test vehicle (provided by the finalists)…” – is due to the fact that these are the highest volume sold vehicles in the EU and therefore relevant to the needs of the average family in Europe.  

    The prototype battery does not need to be fully integrated in a vehicle, but to be able to demonstrate the required performance.

    We hope you can recognise that although the battery packs for an electric car and a LEV are different, the cell chemistries inside the pack are the same. As such, a solution for a battery for an electric car would also be suitable for a LEV.

     

    To conclude, if any of the battery manufacturers you represent have a battery solution that is able to demonstrate the performance characteristics specified in the competition’s “rules of contest”, they are eligible to apply. It might be that they would need to fit their prototype battery in an electric vehicle to demonstrate the battery’s performance. I would therefore simply urge you to contact your association members engaged in battery development and inform them about the prize.

    As far as the Commission is concerned “A revolutionary battery solution may appear form anywhere”.

    LEVA-EU’s position on testing the electric range of electric bicycles in the type-approval

    1. It may be relevant to have a harmonized test to provide customers with clear information on top of the information already provided through the electric consumption test.
    2. It is absolutely essential to take into account that there are a very large number of variables that have an influence on electric range and to inform the customer of this issue.
    3. It is essential for the harmonized test to be developed by the industry involved provided there is sufficient support within the industry for such a test.
    4. There is no need for a legally binding test as part of the type-approval. The type-approval for electric bicycles as it stands today is extremely complicated and extremely expensive, to a point where it is not feasible for small companies. The introduction of a legally binding test will further increase the price of type-approval, thus exacerbating this issue and having a negative impact on competition. It is possible to supply customers and users with objective and precise information by means of a voluntary, harmonized test.
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