Tag Archive: Legislation

  1. Commission Workshop on LEV-Legislation: registration to close on 8 September

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    On 14 September 2022, the European Commission will hold a workshop on the technical requirements on road safety for so-called Personal Mobility Devices (PMD). The term PMD covers all electric cycles, including cargocycles and speed pedelecs, e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles, electric skateboards, etc. LEVA-EU calls on the whole LEV-sector to participate in the workshop and have a say about current and future LEV-legislation.


    This workshop is a one-off opportunity to make it clear to the European Commission that the current legislation is not adapted to light electric vehicles (LEVs) and therefore hinders their market development and uptake. LEVA-EU therefore warmly appeals to all companies, manufacturers, importers, distributors, as well as user groups involved, to seize this opportunity to testify that PMDs are currently severely hampered by a lack of proper legislation and to demand harmonised and accurate European legislation for these vehicles. The workshop will take place both physically in Brussels and online. Registration closes on 8 September, 12:00 CEST: https://bit.ly/3APEupl.

    In March 2021, TRL presented to the Commission, Member States and stakeholders, among which LEVA-EU, their “Study on market development and related road safety risks for L-category vehicles and new personal mobility devices“. In that study, TRL formulated a number of important findings and recommendations. Just to quote a few:

    • The current 250 W limit applied to EPACs is too low for the heavier pedal assisted cargo bikes that are now growing in popularity.
    • The L1e-A subcategory (electric cycles up to 25 km/h but more than 250W) has failed to attract manufacturers and consumers.
    • The business model of many PMD manufacturers is incompatible with the type-approval system.
    • On the question of traffic rules, there is support for the development of an EU harmonised approach.

    TRL concluded that technical regulation outside the Machinery Directive and Regulation 168/2013, tailored to the needs of the PMD industry was the best way forward . The system could include a variety of assessment methods, ranging from self-certification to independent testing. TRL concluded further: “In our view this new system for the regulation and approval of PMDs would provide the flexibility necessary to support innovation in this rapidly evolving sector, while maintaining technical standards and road safety.

    Following this study, LEVA-EU submitted to the Commission a very extensive Position Paper on how EU rules and regulations for Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs) could be easily formulated into a simple but accurate legal framework, specifically for PMDs. The Commission responded: “We will carefully review and provide a detailed reply to your position paper.” That detailed reply never came. When we contacted the Commission to enquire after their response, we were told that at that time car emission issues had priority. On that occasion it was announced that there would be a workshop in the second half of 2022.

    LEVA-EU is, to say the least, very surprised by the content of that workshop. The TRL study explicitly covered All PMDs and also clearly stated that the legislation for ALL PMDs needs to be revised. The September workshop, however, seems to focus one-sidedly on e-scooters. There is no mention in the programme of any planning for a review of the legislation. The Netherlands, France and Germany are each allowed to explain their national rules for e-scooters which, in our opinion, are in direct conflict with European legislation. And before the Commission enters into discussion with the participants, only one e-scooter manufacturer is allowed to comment on technical aspects and regulatory compliance. You read it correctly: ONE.

    In the framework of the energy crisis as well as the Green Deal, the Fit for 55 Package, the New Urban Mobility Framework, the European Climate Pact and many more EU policies, it can no longer be justified that LEVs are neglected to this extent. We need solutions NOW.

    LEVA-EU therefore calls upon all LEV-stakeholders to attend the Commission’s Workshop of 14 September 2022, either live in Brussels or online. Do not miss this unique opportunity to have your say on how your EPAC, Electric Cargo Cycle, Speed Pedelec, E-Scooter, Self-Balancing Vehicle Business needs its own accurate legal framework without any futher delay. Register before 8 September, 12 CET, here: https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/63d8a542-d4b1-17e4-4159-fad262171bff

    Fur further details, please contact LEVA-EU Manager, Annick Roetynck, tel. +32 9 278 45 46, email annick@leva-eu.com.

  2. Swiss Federal Council: power does not play significant role for speed limited vehicles

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    Nine years after the publication of Regulation 168/2013, with its wretched 250W power limit, the Swiss Federal Council has finally been the first to officially come to the conclusion that this or any other power limit makes no sense. The Council writes: “The engine power does not play a significant role for vehicles of which the speed is limited by design.” Of course, this may not convert the EU, whilst this 250W continues to cause damage to the LEV-sector on a daily basis. However, what LEVA-EU has been preaching since its establishment has now finally been officially endorsed by a legislator. This makes it harder for the EU to continue to deny that Regulation 168/2013 should be urgently revised for the benefit of LEVs.

    The Swiss Council has taken the finding one step further and concluded that traffic should be reorganised on the basis of the principle of kinetic energy. This is another assertion that LEVA-EU has long been proclaiming loud and clear. The Council writes: “Decisive for the safe coexistence of different modes of transport in the same area and for traffic flow are speeds that are as uniform as possible. In the event of a collision, the kinetic energy of the parties involved is decisive for the severity of the accident. The engine power does not play a significant (…). For these reasons, vehicles are assigned to traffic areas on the basis of their speed and weight. For the dimensioning of the traffic areas, the space requirements, the
    requried space and the width of the vehicles are also decisive for the dimensioning of the traffic areas.

    Below is the full press release on the planned reform:

    The transport of goods with small electric vehicles and so-called cargo bikes is booming. As a result, road space in urban areas is under greater strain. In the view of the (Swiss) Federal Council, the traffic space in these areas should be used more in favour of non-motorised traffic in the future.

    In the cities and agglomerations, more and more different vehicles are travelling in the same traffic areas. This increases the risk of accidents. On the basis of parliamentary proposals, the Federal Council has analysed how the scarce traffic areas can be better used and how the coexistence of road users can be improved. The corresponding report is now available: https://www.newsd.admin.ch/newsd/message/attachments/69506.pdf

    Goals of the Federal Council

    The Federal Council is guided by the following three objectives for its further work:

    1. Sustainability: the Federal Council recognises the growing importance of emission-free, smaller and slower vehicles. They contribute to the reduction of CO2 emissions and to the better use of limited traffic areas.
    2. Safety: the Federal Council wants to increase road safety, especially for non-motorised traffic. Therefore, the scarce traffic space in urban areas should be used more in favour of non-motorised traffic when building and planning transport infrastructures.
    3. Simple and comprehensible regulations: for the categorisation of vehicles and the regulations for their use, the Federal Council strives for simple and future-proof solutions.

    Based on this, the Federal Council proposes the following new regulations:

    • In principle, the pavement should continue to be reserved for pedestrians. As before, this does not apply to scooters, roller skates and other devices that do not have an electric drive.
    • Bicycles, e-bikes with pedal assistance and purely electrically powered vehicles are to be permitted in bicycle traffic areas. Legally, this category refers to small vehicles that may be driven without a driver’s licence and that weigh a maximum of 250 kg (today 200 kg), have a maximum width of 1 m and travel at a maximum speed of 25 km/h. For fast e-bikes, there is an exception. There is an exception for fast e-bikes. E-bikes with pedal assistance up to 45 km/h may use both the bicycle areas and the road.
    • Electric vehicles with a weight of max. 450 kg (with driver’s licence category M or F) may also travel on the bicycle areas at a maximum speed of 25 km/h.
    • As before, small electric vehicles must be equipped with at least one steering bar or grab rail and have two independent brakes. Vehicles that do not meet these requirements will continue to be excluded from the use of public spaces.

    Further procedure

    Based on these principles, the Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) will concretise the standards concept, check the effectiveness of the operational and organisational measures and, based on this, draw up a revision of the road traffic law.

    Photo by Alin Andersen on Unsplash

  3. Belgium Wheelers’ Petition for review micromobility speed limits

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    Belgium Wheelers is a Belgian association of users of so-called micromobility vehicles. This term refers to all vehicles without a seating position and to self-balancing vehicles, which are excluded from Regulation 168/2013. Technically, they fall under the Machinery Directive, while member states are competent for their terms of use.

    Whilst some countries, among which the Netherlands and the UK, still prohibit most of these vehicles on public roads, Belgium has one of the most liberal policies on micromobility in the EU. All vehicles are allowed on public roads and enjoy the same terms of use as conventional (e)bikes. However, all vehicles must be limited to a maximum design speed of 25 km/h.

    From their experience, the Belgium Wheelers conclude that this legislation “is not adapted to the technical features of these machines, nor is it in line with the reality on the ground.” They further argue that legal limitation of motor power or speed by construction may sometimes be a factor of danger rather than safety. For instance if the power proves to be insufficient for the weight of the rider, it can slow the vehicle down to a point that it cannot be ridden in a safe way anymore. Also, the Belgium Wheelers believe that aligning the vehicles with the speed limits of 30 km/h and 50 km/h on the road, will reduce the risk of collisions and accidents.

    As a result, they have launched a petition to call for the introduction of two categories: one with a design speed of 30 km/h instead of 25 km/h and one of 50 km/h. The first one would be subject to the same terms of use as the 25 km/h vehicles today. The faster category would come with an AM driving licence, helmet obligation, registration and compulsory civil liability insurance.

    Belgium Wheelers state: “This new category will allow for a wider public to have useful access to these devices, with sufficient power to allow use over longer distances and/or for a wider range of user sizes, which is not the case for machines with limited engine power or a maximum speed of 25 or 30km/h.

    The petition is addressed to the Belgium House of Representatives and will be online until the end of the year. For the Parliament to debate the request, 25,000 signatures are required and the petition is still a long way off that result. You can find the petition here in French, Dutch and English: 55_2021-2022/2 – Aanpassing van de wetgeving inzake elektrische micromobiliteit apparaten – Pétitions – Petities (belgium.be)

  4. Legalise e-scooters, says UK Transport Committee

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    In a report published today, E-scooters: pavement nuisance or transport innovation, the Parliamentary Committee says that e-scooters have the potential to offer a low cost, accessible and environmentally friendly alternative to the private car. 

    Whilst supporting the introduction and use of e-scooters, the Committee advises that current rental trials and any plans for legalisation should not be to the detriment of pedestrians, particularly disabled people.  

    The Committee calls for robust enforcement measures to eliminate pavement use of e-scooters, which the report says is dangerous and anti-social. If the Government supports the Committee’s recommendation and decides to legalise privately owned e-scooters, the law should clearly prohibit their use on pavements and ensure that such enforcement measures are effective in eliminating this behaviour.

    The Transport Committee further caveats its report by calling for a sensible and proportionate regulatory framework for the legal use of electric scooters, based firmly on evidence gained from current rental trials and from other countries. The current rental trials should allow important evidence and data to determine the best way to legally incorporate both rental and privately owned e-scooters within the UK’s transport mix.

    The Department for Transport must also encourage the use of e-scooters to replace short car journeys rather than walking and cycling. The Committee warns that it would be counter-productive if an uptake in e-scooters, whether rental or private, primarily replaced more active and healthy forms of travel and calls for the Department to continue promoting active travel as a key policy.

    All further details are here

  5. Commission Asks TRL to Revise Technical + Road Use Rules for ALL LEVs

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    On behalf of the European Commission, TRL has started an investigation into the appropriateness and accuracy of European rules governing light, electric vehicles. The Commission had announced this research at the LEVA-EU symposium in February but then seemed to indicate that the scope would be limited to “Personal Mobility Devices”, i.e. e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles, monowheels, etc. The scope now appears to include all LEVs, which creates a unique opportunity to prove the need for fundamental change.

    Last February, LEVA-EU organised a symposium on the legal status and market position of the speed pedelec. This symposium, attended by the European Commission, clearly showed how European technical rules result in great difficulties for manufacturers and that the categorisation as L-vehicle create great safety risks for speed pedelec riders.

    Speed pedelecs are not the only LEVs suffering from inadequate and outdated rules. As electric cargo-bikes take up an ever increasing role in city logistics, the 250W limit to keep them out of the L-category becomes an ever increasing obstacle. There are legal bottlenecks for LEVs excluded from the L-category just as well. Some Member States, such as the Netherlands and the UK, still forbid e-scooters on public roads. Other Member States develop their own technical rules, thus undermining the principle of European harmonisation and the single market. The national terms of use for electric tricycles and quadricycles, excluded from the L-category are totally unclear and uncertain.

    E-scooters with saddles or very light mopeds, which are technically very similar if not identical to e-scooters without saddles are not excluded from the L-category. They are therefore subject to an extremely complicated, expensive though inaccurate type-approval, upon which they are subject to the terms of use for conventional mopeds including the wear of a motorcycle helmet.

    The only LEV to enjoy a much better regulatory framework is the electric bicycle with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and 250W. This vehicle has been excluded from the L-category, as a result of which it became subject to the Machinery Directive. This has allowed for the harmonised standard EN 15194, whilst all member states have given this e-bike the same legal status as conventional bicycles. As a result, this market has been growing very steadily for several decades now.

    But to make mobility more sustainable and green, the EU needs a wider variety of LEVs. Markets, other than e-bikes 25 km/h-250W, such as speed pedelecs have only enjoyed a limited growth even though there is a clear potential. Or, the vehicles are under threat of very sudden and arbitrary changes in national rules that could suddenly destroy the market. The response of the Dutch government to the Stint accident is the best example of such threat. The insane penalties decreed by France for LEVs exceeding their speed limitation by construction is yet another sword of Damocles for the sector.

    LEVA-EU has been pleading and working for a fundamental change of the rules ever since its foundation. Without such change, the EU will never be able to achieve its Green Deal’s objectives, which include a 90% GHG emission reduction by 2050.

    At the February symposium, the EC representative announced the Commission’s intention to order a study on how LEVs, such as e-scooters and self-balancing vehicles (PMDs) could be included in the type-approval. This study has very recently been initiated by TRL and its scope appears to be broader than what the Commission announced in February.

    TRL is calling on all LEV stakeholders for their input. TRL is interested “to hear about the effects of national and regional regulations on the safety of, and market for, PMDs. We are also interested to hear any ideas that stakeholders might have for the best ways in which new and existing PMDs could be regulated in order to safely and efficiently integrate them into road use. We understand that the scope of this project includes vehicles that might already be type approved in the L category, e.g. cycles designed to pedal and cargo bikes and we are therefore open to suggestions regarding any improvements that could be made to that system.

    LEVA-EU is extremely pleased with this widened scope that allows for research into the accuracy of the rules, not only for PMDs such as e-scooters and self-balancing vehicles but also speed pedelecs, electric cargo-bikes, electric bikes with more than 250W (L1e-A), etc. Further good news is the fact that TRL is not only going to consider technical regulations but also road circulation measures to ensure the safe deployment of these machines in the EU and the effect of regulation on the PMD market in the EU. Current problems are to a large part resulting from the fact that Regulation 168/2013 was designed without any consideration as to the effect of the technical categorisation on the terms of use for the vehicles.

    LEVA-EU herewith calls upon ALL stakeholders concerned to state their views on current LEV-regulations as well as their proposals for improving the rules. TRL is currently collecting input and plans a webinar some time in September.

    For all further details, please contact LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck, tel. + 32 9 233 60 05, email annick@leva-eu.com.

  6. Non-Type-Approved E-scooters with Saddle are Illegal

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    In those member states that allow electric scooters on the road, they are clearly on the rise. With that, the offer of e-scooters with saddle is also growing. However, those vehicles are ticking time bombs since they are completely illegal if non type-approved. LEVA-EU, the trade association for businesses in the light, electric vehicle sector, explains why a saddle makes such a difference.

    The growing popularity of the electric scooter is gradually becoming visible in traffic. It is a green means of transport that can contribute to making mobility more sustainable. A number of manufacturers have now added a saddle to that scooter, possibly in an attempt to improve comfort and to promote the vehicle to a wider audience.

    Incalcuable consequences

    In Belgium, which has introduced very favourable rules for e-scooter in its traffic code, the offer of electric scooters with saddle is growing noticeably. Bol.com has an electric scooter “for children” from € 117.99. Via Fruugo, Zipper scooters with saddle are advertised from € 269. MediaMarkt offers the Mpman as an electric balance bike for € 349. In the web shop of the weekly magazine Knack the Ecoscooter is at € 499 and Fnac promotes the Inmotion P1F at € 699.35.

    All these vehicles have one thing in common: they are illegal. All distributors should cease sales immediately and recall all vehicles sold. Should one of these vehicles be involved in a serious accident, the consequences for the involved distributors and manufacturers of the scooters will be incalculable.

    The warning comes from LEVA-EU, the European trade association for light, electric vehicle businesses. LEVA-EU negotiates directly with the European institutions on the technical legislation for these vehicles. As a result, the organization has first-hand correct and in-depth knowledge of the legislation.

    1,036 pages

    Most vendors do not disclose the legal status of these e-scooters with saddle or suggest that they belong to the special category that Belgium has created in the traffic code for e-scooters without saddle.  There is a chance that the distributors themselves are in the dark about the illegality of their merchandise. The legal status of the electric scooter with saddle is the result of 1,036 pages of European legislation that has not evolved with the market and has grown into a gigantic legal bottleneck.

    In 2009, the European Commission had to rewrite the technical requirements for mopeds and motorcycles. It was already clear then that the internal combustion engine would have to make way for its electric counterpart and that classic mopeds and motorcycles would be supplemented or replaced by a series of light, electric vehicles with the electric bicycle in the lead. The Commission then, with the approval of the European Parliament and the Council, stubbornly refused to write future-proof legal texts. In 1,036 pages, Regulation 168/2013 and the 4 associated implementing regulations mainly describe the limitation of emissions and safety features, which are not relevant for light, electric vehicles.

    Saddle = moped

    The Commission was prepared to exclude the classic electric bicycle (25 km / h-250W) from Regulation 168/2013, along with a number of other vehicles, which they did not know how to handle in type-approval. This was the case for vehicles that “are not equipped with at least one seating position” (Article 2.2.j of Regulation 168/2013). Electric scooters that are not equipped with a seat are therefore excluded from the type-approval for mopeds and motorcycles. As a result, as far as the traffic codes are concerned, these scooters end up in a legal vacuum, which Member States can fill at their discretion.

    To fill this vacuum, Belgium has devised the category “locomotive machines” (voortbewegingstoestel (NL) – engin de déplacement (F)). Belgium stipulated in the traffic code that these vehicles are allowed to drive up to 25 km / h. In addition, they get a similar position on the road as bicycles, they do not require a license plate and no insurance. The user must not wear a helmet and does not require a driver’s license.

    Put a saddle on that scooter and the story is completely different. Then it is vehicle equipped with at least one seat. So, it is subject to type approval in the category L1e-B “moped” and in the Belgian traffic code it comes under “moped class A”. As a result, you must register it, apply for a license plate and pay insurance. You are also obliged to wear a motorcycle helmet and at least have an AM driving license. You must also be at least 16 years old to drive such a scooter. Bol.com’s scooter for children is therefore doubly illegal in a manner of speaking.

    There is no (scientific) research that supports the decision to submit e-scooters with a saddle to type approval and without a saddle not. At the time, decision-makers just put a wet finger in the air, as they did when deciding on the 25 km/h and 250W limits for the electric bicycle.

    Highly dangerous

    However, it is impossible to have the Zipper scooters, Mpmen and Ecoscooters of this world comply with the European type-approval for mopeds and motorcycles. The technical requirements are totally inaccurate for these vehicles. Even if you manage to get a type of electric scooter with saddle approved, it still does not guarantee a safe vehicle. The same problem also occurs for example for speed pedelecs or electric cargo bikes with more than 250W. However, if you keep the saddle of all those vehicles under 54cm, you don’t have to meet type approval after all (exclusion from Article 2.2.k); legal nonsense pushed to an extreme.

    Another, much bigger problem is that most Member States do not have a “moped class A”, like Belgium has, or the Netherlands with “snorfiets” or Germany with “Leichtmofa”. All mopeds in L1e-B mopeds are treated as one and the same vehicle in the traffic codes of those Member States. In most of these cases, mopeds are not allowed to use cycle paths. This is how the feather weight Zipper, Mpman or Ecoscooter, which often doesn’t even reach 25 km / h, ends up between cars and freight traffic that drive much faster. This creates life-threatening situations. This problem also occurs with speed pedelecs, the majority of which cannot reach 45 km / h but rather have a cruising speed of 30 to 35 km / h. This appeared from recent research commissioned by the Flemish Environment Department (see https://bit.ly/3cTQtnI)

    4.2 million deaths a year

     LEVA-EU has recently made an urgent request to the Presidents of the Commission, Council and Parliament for a rapid and fundamental revision of Regulation 168/2013. In addition, LEVA-EU has developed a concrete and practical proposal as to how to replace the legal bottlenecks with rules for light, electric vehicles that will enable the market to grow safely.

    LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck adds: “In the Green Deal and other European policyy instruments, several billion euros are earmarked for making mobility green and sustainable. Improving legislation for electric scooters and other light electric vehicles is a measure that is virtually cost-free, much needed and guaranteed to generate millions, if not billions, of euros. And yet Europe continues to systematically put that measure off. This is unacceptable.

    Meanwhile, the Commission has replied to the LEVA-EU request. They announce yet another study, the results of which will be published in the first quarter of 2021. Only then could a debate on a possible revision of Regulation 168/2013 be started. Should a proposal for review be made, it will need to be approved by the Council and Parliament.

    Annick Roetynck: “This means that it could take at least another five years before our sector can have any hope of removing the legal bottlenecks. That is downright unacceptable. More than 400,000 people have died of Covid-19 so far. But meanwhile, 4.2 million people die from air pollution every year. Mobility is clearly a growing part of that problem. Why is Europe blocking the opening of the market for light electric vehicles? Why does Europe continue to ignore the potential of light electric vehicles to make mobility more sustainable? ” LEVA-EU does intend to keep knocking on the European door.

    The Dutch version of this article is here: https://bit.ly/3fk5AZj

  7. Northern Ireland finally in line with E-Bike legislation

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    Due to some bizarre legal twist, to date Northern Ireland had not aligned its legislation for e-bikes with EU legislation. Whilst all member states, including all other UK nations, had equated electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 lm/h and 250 W with conventional bicycles, Northern Ireland insisted on applying motorcycle terms of use.

    As a result, e-bikers had to register their vehicle, they had to have a license and insurance and they had to wear a motorcycle helmet. Needless to say that the e-bike market in Northern Ireland did not really take off. In 2017, Halfords withdrew all e-bikes from the Northern Irish market.

    Due to the deadlock in government formation, the problem could not be solved by law. Now that Northern Ireland has a government again and following the renewed interest in (e)cycling due to Corona, Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon brought the correct(ed) e-bike legislation to the Northern Irish Assembly.

    From now on, e-bikers in Northern Ireland are allowed to ride under the same conditions as conventional cyclists: without registration, license, insurance and helmet. Long overdue but better late than never, unless, of course, Brexit results in yet another bizarre twist in legislation.

  8. LEVA-EU sends open letter to EU Commission, Council & EP Presidents

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    Gent, 12 May 2020

    Open Letter to:
    – the President of the European Commission, Mrs von der Leyen
    – the President of the European Council, Mr Michel
    – the President of the European Parliament, Mr Sassoli

    Dear Mrs von der Leyen, Mr Michel and Mr Sassoli,

    LEVA-EU is the European trade association for businesses in the light electric vehicle (LEV)-sector. The term  LEV covers all electric vehicles in and excluded from the L-category, i.e. e-scooters, e-bikes, speed pedelecs, electric mopeds and motorcycles, etc..

    LEVA-EU herewith officially requests the Presidents of the European Commission, Council and Parliament to eliminate legal bottlenecks and to put LEVs at the heart of Green Deal, with a view to encouraging sustainable mobility as we are coming out of the Corona crisis.

    Almost 300,000 lives have been lost to COVID-19. We all agree that each one of those deaths is one too many. And yet, every year, we allow for 4.2 million people to die from air pollution. There appears to be a worldwide consensus that this is a price worth paying to preserve our economies and living standards. It took COVID-19 to show how life can be without that pollution: not only cleaner and healthier (in a way) but also quieter, more safe, greener, brighter, … The share of transport in that turnaround can hardly be underestimated.

    At all levels, policymakers are now faced with the choice between going back to “business as usual” or a fundamental change. It is once again the cities that are the pioneers in encouraging their citizens and businesses to make that fundamental change. A growing peloton of European cities decides to safeguard and sometimes even further expand the freed up space to allow pedestrians, cyclists and users of light, electric vehicles (LEVs) such as e-bikes, electric cargo bikes, e-scooters, etc. to keep a safe distance.

    When we now read the Green Deal, published before the Corona-crisis, the chapter on transport sounds very much overtaken by reality. Why should we wait until 2030 to cut greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% and until 2050 to achieve climate neutrality? In October 2019, the European Environment Agency (EEA) stated: “Cutting air pollution in Europe would prevent early deaths, improve productivity and curb climate change.” How can a decision to wait until 2050, thus killing millions more, be justified, especially since the Corona crisis has shown that we are able to cut air pollution.

    That is why LEVA-EU calls upon the European Commission, Parliament and Council to support the European cities and their citizens by taking two simple, concrete measures.

    First, before the Corona crisis, the EEA already stated: “Shifting to walking, cycling and public transport is crucial for Europe to meet long-term sustainability goals and policy objectives under the EU Green Deal.” The Corona crisis has shown that the willingness to travel in a sustainable way is far beyond political expectations. In the European Green Deal, the Commission expresses “its intention to tackle all transport emission sources and explains that achieving sustainable transport means providing users with more affordable, accessible, healthier and cleaner alternatives to their current mobility habits.

    Despite this statement, the Commission has not put forward shifting to walking, cycling, LEVs and public transport as a key element of the Green Deal. LEVA-EU calls upon the Commission and all European institutions to stop ignoring the invaluable EEA advice. We urge the Commission to include that shift as a key element in both the Green Deal Communication and in the announced strategy for sustainable and smart mobility.

    Second, the Commission has announced adaptations of existing legislation, i.e. the AFID and the TEN-T Regulation. We urge the Commission to add the revision of Regulation 168/2013 to this programme. A fast and fundamental revision of this Regulation on the type-approval for L-category vehicles is crucial to remove the many legal bottlenecks, which are currently severely obstructing the deployment of LEVs.

    Last February, at a symposium organized by LEVA-EU and the Belgian project 365SNEL, LEV-manufacturers presented the Commission with a large variety of legal and regulatory problems preventing them from fully exploiting the potential of LEVs. The 365SNEL project, funded by the Flemish Environmental Department, showed that after extensive test riding, 20% of the participants swapped their car for a speed pedelec for commuting.

    At the request of the Commission, the European Council and Parliament decided in 2013 to only exclude electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and 250 W from the L-category. So, most other light electric vehicles are included in technical legislation, which has originally been written for internal combustion engine mopeds and motorcycles.

    The legislation has 1,036 pages of text, to a large extent dedicated to emissions, noise and other technical aspects which are totally irrelevant for light electric vehicles. Manufacturers must figure out which of these 1,036 pages are applicable to, for instance, their speed pedelecs or their E-cargo bikes with more than 250W. And if they manage that all, they then have to go through a totally inaccurate type-approval procedure, which costs at least four times more than what the Commission predicted in their impact assessment before drafting Regulation 168/2013.

    The 365SNEL research has shown that the biggest obstacle to getting more people to consider LEVs is still high prices, yet this price is a direct result of extremely complicated, inaccurate European technical rules.

    Regulation 168/2013 is a significant barrier to European SMEs and choking growth at a key time when the popularity and profile of LEVs as a sustainable form of transport, especially in these COVID-19 times, is set to soar. Europe must not hold back innovation and growth in this sector.

    Categorizing LEVs as mopeds also presents considerable safety issues for riders. Most speed pedelecs for instance are unable to achieve their maximum speed limit of 45 km/h, but rather achieve a maximum cruising speed of 30-35 km/h. Yet, classing them as mopeds forces them off cycle lanes and onto roads among traffic achieving speeds of at least 50km/h. As a result, riders are forced to ride in dangerous conditions, because the speed difference between them and other means of transport is often life-threatening. This is yet another reason for a fundamental review of Regulation 168/2013.

    Last year, an estimated three million e-bikes were sold in the European Union. About 98 per cent of these were e-bikes with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and 250W, which shows the extent to which the technical legislation for L-category obstructs the development of new types of E-bikes and other LEVs.

    The LEV market holds an exciting future for cities and towns across Europe, but this potential will be lost if we do not make urgent and fundamental alterations to current legislation. LEVA-EU has presented the Commission with a well-founded proposal for legislative change. We would be very pleased to further explain and discuss this proposal.

    Finally, LEVA-EU wishes to rephrase the EEA statement: “Shifting to walking, cycling, light, electric vehicles and public transport is a duty for Europe to meet long-term sustainability goals and policy objectives under the EU Green Deal, in honour of all COVID-19 and air pollution victims.”

    Yours Sincerely,

    Annick Roetynck,
    LEVA-EU Manager

  9. LEVA-EU says ‘blanket’ EU regulation ‘choking’ light electric vehicle sector

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    The European trade association LEVA-EU is calling for an urgent change in EU regulations, it says are seriously hindering manufacturers at a time when cities are encouraging use of light, electric vehicles (LEV) as an alternative form of transport during the coronavirus crisis.

    LEVA-EU, the only trade association in Europe that works exclusively to represent light electric vehicle businesses, has presented proposals to the European Commission to revise rules it believes are inaccurate and can put users in danger.  It says the Covid-19 crisis has brought its proposals into sharp focus and is urging the EC to schedule changing the ruling as a matter of urgency.

    The advocacy group, whose work concerns a wide range of one, two, three and four wheel LEVs including E-bikes, speed pedelecs (E-bikes that can achieve speeds of up to 45km/h), E-cargo bikes  and E-scooters, says the central issue is that the Regulation class light electric vehicles (LEVs) in the same category as mopeds and motorbikes and as a result isvery seriously hampering the industry at ‘absolutely the wrong time’.

    Annick Roetynck, LEVA-EU manager, said the EC only has to look at all the cities across Europe opening up cycle lanes as the public scrambles to find safe alternative forms of transport. She called for ‘root and branch’ change to further unleash innovation and enterprise in the LEV sector much of which is made of up dynamic small to medium size firms.

    Our concern centres on Regulation 168/2013 which establishes the technical legislation for L-category vehicles, in other words mopeds and motorcycles. At the request of the Commission, the European Council and Parliament decided in 2013 to only exclude electric bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and 250 W from this L-category. So, all other electric bicycles are included in technical legislation, which has originally been written for internal combustion engine mopeds and motorcycles.

    The legislation has 1,036 pages of text, to a large extent dedicated to emissions, noise and other technical aspects which are totally irrelevant for electric bicycles. Manufacturers have to figure out which of these 1,036 pages are applicable to, for instance, their speed pedelecs or their E-cargo bikes with more than 250W. And if they manage that all, they have to go through a totally inaccurate type-approval procedure, which costs at least four times more than what the Commission predicted in their impact assessment before drafting Regulation 168/2013.

    This regulation is a significant barrier to SMEs and choking growth at a key time when the popularity and profile of LEVs as a sustainable form of transport, especially in these testing COVID-19 times, is set to soar. We must not hold back innovation and growth in this sector.

    Annick Roetynck says that classing LEVs in the same category as mopeds also presents considerable safety issues for riders. Most light electric vehicles in the L-category are able to achieve a maximum cruising speed of 30-35kmh, yet classing them as mopeds forces them off cycle lanes and onto roads among traffic achieving speeds of at least 50kmh. That difference in speed results in very dangerous and unpleasant riding conditions.

    In its proposals to the EC, LEVA-EU cites the Belgian project 365SNEL, carried out in the past 18 months where 106 people tested a speed pedelec for commuting for three weeks. After the test, 20 per cent of participants effectively swapped their car for a speed pedelec LEV.

    The research showed that price was putting off some consumers from investing in a speed pedelec, but LEVA-EU says inflated prices are the result of the complicated regulations facing manufacturers.

    Annick Roetynck said the organisation is campaigning to protect the industry as more people move to LEVs in the future. LEVA-EU acts on behalf of around 50 members across Europe and estimates about three million E-bikes alone were sold in the European Union during 2019. About 98 per cent of these were E-bikes with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and 250W, which shows the extent the technical legislation for L-category obstructs the development of new types of E-bikes.

    She said: “It has become very clear to LEVA-EU that the European technical rules for LEVs are hampering their market development. Research has shown that the biggest obstacle to getting more people to consider LEVs is still high prices, yet this price is a direct result of extremely complicated, inaccurate European technical rules. As a result of these rules, riders are often forced to ride in dangerous conditions because the speed difference between them and other means of transport is often life-threatening.

    In an open letter to the Presidents of the European Commission, Parliament and Council, LEVA-EU also calls for an amendment to the EU Green Deal. Even though the European Environment Agency has argued that shifting to walking, cycling and public transport is crucial for Europe to meet long-term sustainability goals and policy objective under the EU Green Deal, the Commission’s Communication has no reference to such a shift. LEVA-EU therefore calls upon the Commission to include the shift to walking, cycling, public transport and using light, electric vehicles (LEVs) as a key element in the Green Deal and consequently put that shift at the centre of the forthcoming strategy for sustainable and smart mobility.

    In the letter, LEVA-U has rephrased the EEA Statement: “Shifting to walking, cycling, light, electric vehicles and public transport is a duty for Europe to meet long-term sustainability goals and policy objectives under the EU Green Deal, in honour of all COVID-19 and air pollution victims.

    The LEV market represents an exciting future for cities and towns across Europe, but this potential will be lost if we do not make urgent alterations to current legislation. We will continue to act as a voice for our members to ensure we remove any barriers to trade and get more people to do their bit for the environment by choosing an LEV.

    LEVA-EU Member Rad Power Bikes testifies:

    LEVA – EU member Arno Saladin, European business manager of Rad Power Bikes in the Netherlands, says the combination of technical legislation and traffic codes is stifling an industry that has great potential. The business has focused on manufacturing e-bikes with a speed of up to 25kmh and maximum power above 250W (L1e-A), but he says that while a business has the time to navigate legislation in different countries, it is often confusing for the consumer.

    He said: “We haven’t expanded our line-up because our customers are facing so much uncertainty when they purchase a product in some countries, so we decided it would be much easier and clearer to produce 250W e-bikes.

    Light electric vehicles are a very new sector of the market but we find that the legislation is not created at a basic level for the consumer to use the products with confidence. That’s why we see a lot of manufacturers not introducing new models even though there is a clear demand for these types of vehicles. It’s a chicken and egg situation where, if the regulations and traffic codes were clearer then more businesses would be interested and the sector would grow. However, the decision makers say that it’s too small a sector to give it attention, but I believe that as soon as the legislators understand what they need to do, this market will rocket.

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