Tag Archive: Light electric vehicles

  1. fka and TRL announce Webinar for new Personal Mobility Devices Study on behalf of European Commission

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    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

    Second major problem is that inclusion in Regulation 168/2013 results in national rules that are particularly restrictive and hindering, since they have been developed for vehicle concepts, which are quite different from LEVs. The worst example is the categorization of speed pedelecs as mopeds. Consequently, in most member states they are subject to moped terms of use that seriously hinder the use of speed pedelecs, thus the market development.

    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.

    If you wish to participate you need to register here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fkatrl-the-future-of-european-micromobility-technical-regulations-tickets-754655082667?aff=oddtdtcreator The event will be recorded and made available via the TRL website www.trl.co.uk.

    LEVA-EU sincerely hopes that this exercise will go beyond the study and that the research will finally
    inspire the Commission to work on adequate and urgently needed technical regulations for LEVs.

  2. LEVA-EU interested in Horizon Call Light Commercial Vehicles

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    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: annick@leva-eu.com, tel. +32 475 500 588.

  3. Become LEVA-EU member now and enjoy extended membership

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    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 annick@leva-eu.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

    Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

  4. FRIKAR Signature Deliveries by Podbike are Expanding

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    The maker of the four-wheeled e-bike with weather protection has updated that all local buyers in the Stavanger area of Norway have now received their Podbike® FRIKAR™ Signatures and are enjoying their rides around town. Currently, Podbike is in the process of expanding its delivery reach.

    Customers residing in and around the coastal town of Bergen, which is approximately a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Stavanger, have also received their bikes.

    Sending FRIKARs to other cities in Norway marks an important milestone for Podbike, as it represents the company’s first deliveries beyond its home area. The Bergen deliveries have been successfully completed, and deliveries to Oslo have commenced. Looking ahead, Podbike has set October as the target month for deliveries to Trondheim, a city significantly distant from Stavanger (800 km). Following this, the company will proceed with deliveries to the rest of Norway.

    In a previous update shared in May, Podbike announced its decision to transition from traditional stick-building techniques to small-batch production. The company acknowledges that there may have been inquiries regarding the progress of this transformation. Rest assured, every moment of anticipation has been worthwhile. Starting from August 1st, Podbike’s workshop has reinvigorated its production capacity, with an impressive ten bikes manufactured this month alone. This substantial increase in production has been achieved through a dedicated commitment to streamlining processes.

    Many pre-order customers are located in Germany, and Podbike anticipates commencing deliveries to German buyers before the end of the year. Podbike has already contacted its earliest pre-order customers in Germany to confirm their interest in purchasing a Podbike FRIKAR Signature.

    Podbike is committed to addressing each area one at a time, with the first area for deliveries to be announced in the next update from the company.

  5. Fernhay eQuad: last-mile delivery efficiency

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    LEVA-EU member Fernhay developed the eQuad as a compact, agile and flexible solution for last-mile logistics.

    Efficiency in urban areas is, increasingly, an essential component of sustainable and comfortable city living. Populations are shifting towards urban centres, meaning that all the operations which keep the flow of goods and people moving need to be as streamlined as possible.

    The eQuad electric delivery vehicle is Fernhay’s green-tech solution for efficient inner-city logistics, specifically designed to be a crucial cog in the machinery of supply chain logistics. Last-mile deliveries, where goods are delivered from a transportation hub to end recipients, often face challenges such as congested traffic and delays, and are subject to environmental concerns. The eQuad provides solutions to these challenges:

    • Customisable solutions: tailored to customers’ requirements for specific logistical needs and varied urban features.
    • Compact and agile: A narrow design allows easy manoeuvring through busy urban streets.
    • Zero emissions: electrically powered, eQuad operates without tailpipe emissions, contributing towards cleaner urban air.

    Fernhay sees the eQuad as an essential part of an efficient city, representing a shift in thinking – from traditionally accepted, but inefficient, practices, to more sustainable and innovative solutions. As more businesses and city planners adopt tools such as the eQuad, the cumulative effect can lead to significantly more efficient, and less polluted, urban spaces.

  6. Eskuta expands premises to cater for increased demand

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    Source: MicromobilityBiz, D. Blackham

    LEVA-EU member Eskuta is expanding its UK premises in Nuneaton, with the strategic installation of a new mezzanine.

    This step will enable the manufacturer to double its stock capacity, and is expected to be completed by early September 2023.

    To be installed in both units of Eskuta’s facilities, the mezzanine will provide an additional 160 sq m of space, allowing Eskuta to both serve a larger customer base, and reduce waiting times for their moped-style e-bikes, which are assembled on-site by the company’s team of technicians. New job opportunities are expected to be generated by this step.

    Eskuta managing director Ian O’Connor, who founded the company in 2015, said: “The expansion marks an exciting time for Eskuta, the new mezzanine installation is the first stage of our expansion plans, and the additional capacity will allow us to reduce lead times and enter new developing markets.

    “We are passionate as ever about shaping the future of e-mobility and championing the importance electric bikes and Light Electric Vehicles will play in the future, as we head towards net zero and aim to reduce congestion in our towns and cities.

    “Coventry, Birmingham, and the surrounding areas have been the birthplace of many leading motorcycle and cycle manufacturers over the years, and we are proud to be continuing that legacy as we all transition to a sustainable and electric future.”

    Eskuta has received several recent accolades, included winning Reach Media’s BusinessLIVE’s ‘Small Business of the Year 2022’, and the SX-250 e-bike being recognised in a recent article as ‘Best Moped Style e-bike 2023’ by Expert Reviews.

  7. Fluctuating trends for electric motorcycles and mopeds in the first half of 2023.

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    ACEM has published figures on the moped and motorbike market in the first half of this year. In the first half of 2023, registrations of electric motorcycles across the five largest European markets, which together hold around 80% of the new registrations in Europe, noted a decrease of 8%. Breaking the trend, Germany has a 33% increase in registrations. Registrations surged from 4,142 in the same period last year to 5,527 in the first half of 2023.

    The other four major markets experienced a decline in registrations when compared to the first half of 2022. The UK faced the most significant setback with a drop of 38% in registrations, totaling 1,186 units. Italy and Spain followed, both noting a 20% decline (4884 units and 3309 units respectively), while France experienced a more modest decrease of 7%. (4469 units)

    Combined , the five markets count for a 3,2% share of total motorcycle registrations, with 19,375 electric motorcycles. This is slightly lower than the 3,9% share in the same period last year.

    Registrations of electric mopeds, including speed pedelecs, show a mix of growth and contraction. Belgium and Spain registered growth, 9% (9,959 units) and 13% (4,558 units) respectively. In the other three largest markets registrations decreased. The Netherlands faced a substantial 55% decline (6,874 units), followed by France with a 19% drop (9,954 units) and Italy with a 9% decrease (2,855 units).

    The combined registrations of electric mopeds in the five markets totaled 34,200 vehicles in the first half of 2023, marking a significant 22% decline compared to the same period in 2022. Total registrations of ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) and electric mopeds decreased even stronger, by 26% in the first half of 2023.

    The share of electric mopeds in total registrations increased to 34,3% compared to 32,7% in the first half of 2022. Both Belgium and Spain noticed a significant share of electric mopeds in total registrations, exceeding the 50%.

    In contrast, ICE motorcycle registrations saw a strong 12% increase across the region in the first half of 2023. However ICE-mopeds experienced a substantial decline of 29%.

  8. Italy’s e-scooter suppression plans

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    Source: Bloomberg

    Once considered the post-covid future of urban transport, pedestrians and other road users are now viewing the transport means unfavorably. Deemed a menace to city streets and a source of obstruction on sidewalks in cities including Rome and Milan, changes are ahead.

    According to a draft of Italy’s transport code seen by Bloomberg, e-scooters will now need a registration plate and owners will need an insurance policy. In addition, of e-scooters sharing services, something that has seen rapid expansion, will also face authoritative restrictions.

    Transport Minister, Matteo Salvini, has promised to address traffic violations from e-scooter users, who will furthermore be required to wear helmets. Manufacturers of e-scooters will also be required to fit turning indicators. The Italian media did initially report the introduction of license plates for bicycles, but this was not seen by Bloomberg.

    It is not just Italy where e-scooter restraints are being aired. Many other European cities are airing complaints. This year, Paris residents voted to completely ban hiring services throughout the city.

    According to data from Osservatorio Sharing Mobility, a state-backed sector association, over 45,000 rental scooters were present on Italian streets in 2021, reflective of their use as an alternative to public transport and the absence of cycling lanes in the larger cities.

    Other proposed changes to the transport code include hardened measures for drunk driving, which includes a lifetime ban, and restrictions for those younger people who have only recently received their license.

  9. Critical Raw Materials Act: LEVA-EU warns Commission for impact on LEV-sector

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    LEVA-EU has responded to a Commission request for feedback on their proposal for a Critical Raw Materials Act. In that feedback, LEVA-EU exposes some thorny issues that could become problematic for LEV-companies, especially relating to permanent magnets.

    The Critical Raw Materials Act is aimed at boosting EU supply and improving recycling of critical raw materials among which permanent magnets. These can be found in motors for Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs), which is why the future legislation is of concern to most LEVA-EU members. Some are producing electric motors for LEVs. Others produce or import LEVs containing electric motors with magnets.

    First, on a more general note, LEVA-EU requests the Commission to acknowledge that LEV-companies, especially SMEs and start-ups, are gradually reaching a point at which the legal framework in which they are expected to operate is no longer feasible. Sustainability and circular economy measures should not be such as to push companies, that are already largely contributing to sustainable mobility, out of the market.

    Today in Europe there is a largely insufficient supply of components for LEV’s, especially motors and batteries. Many LEV- companies have no choice but to source outside the EU. According to the proposal the natural or legal person that places light means of transport on the market is responsible for all recyclability requirements. LEVA-EU believes that this may well create a discrimination between companies using EU produced motors and those using non-EU produced motors.

    Furthermore, LEVA-EU believes that reducing the demand for the critical materials should be the first choice, not optimising the extraction of these materials. In this framework, the trade association deeply regrets that the Critical Raw Materials Act does not pay any attention to reducing the carbon footprint of vehicles and their components, through reducing the demand for the materials concerned.

    LEVA-EU manager Annick Roetynck explains: “We want the Commission to request for a study on the potential savings on critical raw materials by downsizing and reducing the weight of road vehicles. The average hybrid or electric vehicles use between 2 and 5 kg of rare earth magnets. Therefore, the substitution of ICE-cars by electric cars will unleash an unparalleled demand. The aggregate weight of magnets in LEVs will no doubt be many times less. Therefore, the substitution of cars by LEVs will make an unparalleled contribution to a sustainable demand and supply of these magnets.”

    LEVA-EU also points to several articles in the proposed Regulation that will create very specific problems for the LEV-sector.

    The definition of “light means of transport” does not adequately describe all categories of vehicles and will result in unclear legislation. Other articles allow for 5 years’ time before conformity assessment procedures take effect for one group of LEVs and only 3 years for another. LEVA-EU warns that if the different timings are upheld, this is likely to create a competitive advantage for some LEVs and a disadvantage for others. The Commission also proposes to exempt vehicles with less than 0.2 kg of permanent magnets from the future act. This too may create a discrimination, for instance between conventional electric cycles with one motor remaining just under 0.2kg, whilst Series Hybrid electric cycles may just be above that limit. This may well infringe the principle of technology neutrality. LEVA-EU has proposed amendments to eliminate potentially discriminatory rules. However, LEVA-EU also asks for further research to determine the relevance of this minimum weight in view of the objective to produce at least 15% of the Union’s annual consumption through recycling.

    In the meantime, LEVA-EU continues to consult with its members on the forthcoming legislation.

    The proposed Critical Raw Materials Act is here: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A52023PC0160
    LEVA-EU’s feedback is here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/prldpkk3say2wxj/LEVA-EU%20Position%20Critical%20Raw%20Materials%20Act.pdf?dl=0

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