Tag Archive: EU Legislation

  1. Commission proposes to modernise EU legislation on batteries

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    Today, the European Commission proposes to modernise EU legislation on batteries, delivering its first initiative among the actions announced in the new Circular Economy Action Plan. Batteries that are more sustainable throughout their life cycle are key for the goals of the European Green Deal and contribute to the zero pollution ambition set in it. They promote competitive sustainability and are necessary for green transport, clean energy and to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The proposal addresses the social, economic and environmental issues related to all types of batteries.

    In a first reaction, LEVA-EU Partner Recharge welcomes the proposal as “a meaningful legislative framework that will close the gap in existing legislation and can level the playing field with international actors“. However, the battery trade association also issues a stark warning: “In today’s proposal we see a high level of complexity and fear that this will translate into over-regulating fast-paced, innovative industries such as batteries or electric mobility. Closing the gap with international competition will depend on long-term investments and a coherent regulatory framework.”

    LEVA-EU is currently analyzing the Commission’s proposal and will consult with its members on an accurate response for the benefit of the LEV-sector. For more information, please contact Annick Roetynck, +32 9 233 60 05, annick@leva-eu.com

    The Commission’s proposal is here, the annexes to the proposal here.
    The EU press release on the proposal is here
    Recharge’s initial response is here.

  2. VanMoof’s Ties Carlier: Why it’s time to update Europe’s outdated e-bike speed limit

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    When I first learned that police in Germany were stopping VanMoof bikes and taking them off the road if the maximum supported speed had the ability to exceed 25km/h, I found it quite ironic. After all, this was the same country where I used to go as a young man to drive 260km/h on the Autobahn and get a thumbs up from the very same police. So I started digging deep into the regulations and history of e-bikes. A few important questions kept coming to mind. Why has progress been so limited? Why are we stifling rather than encouraging an exciting transportation breakthrough? Why are we putting the brakes on one of the world’s fastest-growing markets? At VanMoof we feel so strongly about this because we want to get the next billion on bikes by making bike commuting as accessible as possible. One of the ways to do that is to reassess current EU regulations which class all light electric vehicles capable of going faster than 25km/hr as mopeds. For hundreds of millions of people the current assistance limit of 25km/hr is a big restriction and makes cars seem much more attractive. This in turn perpetuates congested urban spaces and polluted city air. But let’s rewind.

    Tech outpaces regulations
    The reason I’m writing about this is that over the past months we’ve had a number of cases in Germany of our riders being stopped by police for simply having the ability to exceed the 25km/h limit EU default setting by switching to the US country setting in our app (the USA allows assisted support up to 32km/h for all Class 1 e-bikes). We are making a change on November 17 to avoid any discussion on adherence to these laws. But I want to share here the reason we think the laws need to be modernized. The current EU rules date back to the 1990s and were established with limited rationale. Officials relied on what they knew – the moped. This makes little sense as the mass and velocity of an e-bike is significantly lower than a moped. But back then not many people had ever ridden an electric bike. If you spotted one it was most likely in and around small towns in the Netherlands where myself and my brother grew up. The bikes themselves were clunky and the technology rudimentary. A heavy battery pack retrofitted onto the back of an even heavier modified bike. At the time they were used mostly by elderly people as an assistive mobility device. We have come a long way since then. E-bikes have evolved and are mainstreaming as a high tech, mass appeal mobility option, especially for those living in cities with a commute problem to solve.

    Car’s unchallenged urban supremacy
    Back then, cars dominated our cities – just as they do now. They continue to be prioritized over every other mobility model, despite car use and ownership in cities trending down. Cars take up too much space and are gridlocked 95% of the time, yet most major global cities are still undeniably car-centric. When cars take up so much of our public space it makes cities far less liveable. It also makes them far less breathable. Toxic air in many of the world’s top cities has forced authorities to introduce congestion charges and license plate lotteries. Even switching just a fraction of car users to e-bikes will help tackle some of these huge contemporary challenges. For a brief moment earlier this year we were able to see urban landscapes free of traffic. That’s what our future cities can look like if we all drive fewer cars. But getting people out of cars and onto bikes means being able to offer a real alternative. Lower average speed is already seen as a limitation by many people when considering that change. A 25km/h limit means it is harder for e-bikes to compete with cars, especially for those with commutes of more than 10km. And these are the areas where e-bikes can make the biggest impact on quality of life.

    We should not settle for less
    Let’s keep focused on the big picture. We believe that smart decisions by those in power can nudge many more people to discover the joy of commuting by bike. The transformational potential of e-bikes, combined with less cars on the road, will make cities cleaner and more vibrant. One in three people who switch do so because of how they shrink cities, the savings on travel time and the more predictable commutes. Outdated regulations make it easier for people to choose a car for shorter commutes. This only preserves the status quo, limits overall adoption, holds back progress in cities, and puts pressure on already overcrowded public transport. We believe our riders – and all riders – deserve a smarter, cleaner future and a more diverse mobility mix, with laws that reflect that diversity and unleash that potential.

    Ties Carlier

    About this author:
    Ties is the co-founder of VanMoof. Dividing his time between Taipei and Amsterdam, he’s always on the hunt for the next biking breakthrough.
  3. LEVA-EU info-meetings on revision type approval

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    LEVA-EU has argued long and hard for a revision of Directive 168/2013, which regulates type-approval for vehicles with two or more wheels. The European Commission has now finally initiated such a review. It is particularly important that as many LEV companies as possible participate in this review. To help them in this, LEVA-EU organizes info-meetings.

    From its start, LEVA-EU has argued long and hard for a review of Directive 168/2013. The professional organisation has extensively argued how the market potential of light electric vehicles (LEVs) covered by that type approval is being thwarted.

    To date, electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 250W and 25 km / h, vehicles without a saddle, self-balancing vehicles and vehicles with a seat below a certain minimum height are excluded from Regulation 168/2013. In addition, electric bicycles 250W – 25 km / h have been given the status of a conventional bicycle in the traffic code of all member states. As a result, this category has been growing and thriving for years.

    LEVs that have remained in the Regulation, on the other hand, have a particularly difficult time. Speed ​​pedelecs, for example, have great difficulties to really develop because in most cases they are categorized as classic mopeds. However, the terms of use for mopeds are unsuitable for speed pedelecs. And so, massive uptake of speed pedelecs is not forthcoming. In L1e-A, powered cycles, the situation is even worse. In this category for electric bicycles 25 km / h with more than 250W, virtually no type approvals have been carried out since 2013.

    After all this time, LEVA-EU’s complaints have finally been heard. The European Commission has asked TRL, a research centre specialized in mobility, to investigate the position of LEVs in the type approval and their position in national traffic codes. All LEVs are scrutinized, i.e. electric scooters, self-balancing vehicles, electric bicycles in and outside the type approval, electric cargo bicycles, etc.

    TRL has started a broad survey of the sector through an online questionnaire that can be completed until October 30th. However, the current legal framework is extremely complex and confusing. It is important that LEV companies have a good understanding of that framework, in order to provide an informed and relevant response to the survey.

    LEVA-EU wants to help companies with this by means of a number of information meetings. These meetings are intended to provide a clear picture of the current legal framework. In addition, LEVA-EU will explain the opportunities and risks of the ongoing review.

    The online information meetings will start on October 13 with a first session reserved for LEVA-EU members. Then follow open meetings according to vehicle type:

    – Electric bicycles and speed pedelecs
    – Electric cargo bikes
    – PLEVs such as electric scooters and self-balancing vehicles
    – Three and four-wheel electric vehicles with pedaling function for passenger transport

    Each meeting will last 1 hour with information provided in the first half hour and questions answered in the second half hour. To participate in the meeting, interested parties should send an email to daan@leva-eu.com stating which meeting (s) they wish to attend. They will receive a personal invitation to the meeting.

    LEVA-EU Information Meetings Revision LEV Type Approval

    – Tuesday October 13, 10.30 GMT + 2: only for LEVA-EU members
    – Tuesday October 13, 14:00 GMT + 2: electric bikes and speed pedelecs
    – Wednesday October 14, 10.30 GMT + 2: PLeVS (e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles, …)
    – Wednesday October 14, 14:00 GMT + 2: electric cargo bikes
    – Thursday October 15, 10.30 GMT + 2: 3 & 4-wheel electric vehicles with pedalling function for passenger transport

    Photo by André Ravazzi on Unsplash

  4. Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive: LEVA-EU asks EP to exclude certain LEVs

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    The European institutions are currently reviewing the Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive. This is relevant to the sector of light, electric vehicles because this Directive stipulates which vehicles are subject to a special motor vehicle insurance.

    So far, there was a clause in the Directive, which gave the member states the authority to exclude certain vehicles from the motor vehicle insurance directive. In the majority of the member states this clause was used to exclude electric bicycles with motor power up to 250W and assistance up to 25 km/h. In a number of member states, other light, electric vehicles such as scooters, self-balancing vehicles, electric hoverboards, etc. were also excluded on the basis of this clause.

    All this may now be jeopardized because the European Commission believes that a larger variety of vehicles should be included. They have proposed a text to the European Parliament (EP), to which the EP has developed a number of amendments. These amendments will be voted in the IMCO Parliamentary Committee on Tuesday 22 January.

    Two amendments are aimed at excluding all vehicles that are excluded from Regulation 168/2013 from this insurance, two other amendments are rather aimed at making these vehicles also subject to the Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive.

    In anticipation of the vote on Tuesday,  LEVA-EU has sent a statement to all members of the IMCO Committee. LEVA-EU requests them to approve the amendments aimed at excluding those vehicles that are excluded from Regulation 168/2013 as well as L1e-A category vehicles. The latter are already severely obstructed by an aberration in technical legislation and would be further hampered if they were made subject to a motor vehicle insurance. LEVA-EU also requests the MEPs to vote against the two amendments aiming at enlarging the scope of the Motor Vehicle Insurance Directive.

    LEVA-EU will continue to monitor this issue very closely and will continue to discuss this with the European authorities with a view to obtain the best outcome for the European LEV-Sector.

    For further information, please contact LEVA-EU Manger, Annick Roetynck, email leva-eu@telenet.be, tel. +32 9 233 60 05.

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