Tag Archive: Light electric vehicles

  1. Pakistan government begins the promotion of electric motorcycles in an effort to reduce fuel-spending

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    Source: DND, D. Naeem

    In response to the energy crisis and rising fuel-import costs, the Government of Pakistan has given a briefing on national initiatives to lower fuel consumption. This includes the significant promotion of LEVs such as electric motorcycles.

    At the National Energy Conservation Policy conference, Pakistan’s Defence Minister, Khawaja Asif, proposed the shift away from conventional combustion engine motorcycles. He suggested that the change would benefit individuals, the economy, and the environment, plus reduce the country’s annual petrol spending – currently Pakistan spends 3 billion USD on petrol to power motorcycles each year. The new initiative aims to gradually phase out petrol-powered motorcycles completely.

    While the initial purchase point is higher, the government of Pakistan has outlined how the bikes can be more cost-effective throughout the product’s lifetime. Financial aid to promote the shift to electric power is currently under consideration.

  2. New Machinery Regulation: adverse effects on Light Electric Vehicles Business

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    End of last year, the European Parliament, Council and Commission reached an agreement on the future Machinery Regulation. Parliament and Council went against the Commission’s proposal to exclude all vehicles from the future legislation. That will have particularly adverse effects on electric cycles, e-scooters and self-balancing vehicles.

    Originally, the Commission proposed to exclude all “vehicles which have as their only objective the transport of goods or persons by road, air, water of rail (…).” The justification was that Machinery legislation was “not meant to regulate risks other than those stemming from the machinery function (such as sawing, excavating, etc.) and not the risks exclusively relating to its transport function of persons or goods.” If they had been excluded, they would have come under the General Product Safety Directive (GPSD), just like conventional cycles. More importantly, this would only have been a temporary solution in anticipation of a specific Regulation for Light Electric Vehicles.

    Unnecessary Machinery Directive

    The intermediate solution of the GPSD would have been so much better for LEVs because this Directive only has very general requirements. In addition, there are already several European standards with specific technical safety requirements in place, i.e. the EN 15194 for EPACs, the EN 17128 for PLEVs (e-scooters & self-balancing vehicles) and the EN 17404 for EPAC mountain bikes. The fact that these vehicles present no structural safety risks shows that the standards offer adequate technical requirements and that the Machinery Directive is unnecessary to ensure that safety.

    On the contrary, in recent years, in standardisation it has become increasingly clear how much the current Machinery Directive is an obstacle to Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs). The Directive contains hazards that are totally irrelevant to LEVs, for instance noise, vibrations or protection against risks from moving parts.

    HAS consultants

    Originally, there were in-house CEN consultants, who worked together with the technical committees to ensure that the draft standards met the requirements of the Machinery Directive in the best possible way to maximize the chances of harmonization. The harmonization of standards under the Machinery Directive offers manufacturers presumption of conformity in case of a dispute, or worse, a court-case. This presumption of conformity is an important guarantee of legal certainty.

    With these in-house consultants, there was room to negotiate which requirements were relevant or not. One very important agreement for the EN 15194 (EPACs) for instance was that the requirements for moving parts were not relevant for cycle wheels. Without that agreement, the standard would have required all wheels to be covered.

    Since, the Commission has changed the system. They replaced the in-house consultants by so-called Harmonised Standards (HAS) consultants. The contract was outsourced to a private company, i.e. Ernst & Young. The task of these consultants is to support the Commission to verify whether the requirements for harmonisation are met. However, HAS consultants are no longer involved in the actual drafting processes and therefore technical committees can no longer make use of HAS consultants services to fill any potential gaps in the technical or legal expertise, nor to negotiate.

    Harmonisation impossible

    What’s worse for LEVs, HAS consultants make all Machinery Directive requirements applicable to LEVs, whether relevant are not. As a result, in the new system none of the LEV- standards has achieved harmonisation.  To this end, nonsensical tests should be introduced such as on the noise level the vehicles produce or on vibrations, which for LEVs obviously come from the road surface not from the vehicle itself. As for the future standards for electric cargocycles, it is already clear that no harmonisation will be requested because it is simply not feasible.

    The new Machinery Regulation will only exacerbate these issues. Indeed, the new legal text will now explicitly state that the Regulation applies only to risks arising from the machinery function, not the transport function. However, who will determine what is a machinery function and what is a transport function? In our view, LEVs don’t have machinery functions, only transport functions. That is exactly why the Commission thought it necessary to exclude them. Unfortunately, the European Parliament and Council literally twisted the Commission’s words, the result being an unworkable mess.

    Disastrous impact

    One party that argued hard to keep LEVs, more specifically electric bikes, in the new legal text was CONEBI, the trade association for the (electric) bike industry. We quote from their position paper: “The EU Machinery Directive is of high importance to the EU Bicycle Industry as it legislates the essential health and safety requirements relating to the design and construction of electrically power assisted cycles (EPACs). The fact that EPACs are within the scope of the Machinery Directive was officially acknowledged in the first Edition of the Guide to Application of the Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC of December 2009.

    CONEBI clearly does not question the adequacy of the essential health and safety machinery requirements for EPACs. Also, the CONEBI memory is somewhat lacking here. in 2006, yours truly and a representative of CONEBI (called COLIBI at that time) had a meeting with the Commission to ask if there was still any chance of avoiding the Machinery Directive for electric bicycles excluded from type-approval. In other words, originally CONEBI was not in favour of having electric bikes in the Machinery Directive. Their current efforts to keep EPACs in the new Machinery Regulation clearly shows that the association has no understanding of the impact on standardisation for EPACs AND for other light, electric vehicles, nor of the consequences for the businesses concerned. Hopefully their understanding will grow as the disastrous impact of the new legislation on LEVs becomes a reality. In the meantime, LEVA-EU will continue its efforts for a specific LEV-Regulation designed in consultation with the LEV-business for the LEV-business.

    Photo by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

  3. Survey shows growth in online e-bike purchasing by younger generation

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    Source: Tweewieler

    The fifth annual GfK E-Bike Monitor report has been published, based on the feedback of 2,000 respondents from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, and Italy.

    According to the report, the main reasons for buying an e-bike are for recreational use and commuting. Although the overall majority of respondents prefer to buy an e-bike at a brick-and-mortar store, this trend shifts dramatically when looking at the younger 18-24 age bracket, where 60% have bought an e-bike online.

    Within this demographic, the survey indicates that growing numbers are choosing to make the journeys to and from school or college by e-bike, which increases the overall average use per week. No less than 45% of e-bike purchasers indicate that they use the e-bike at least once a day.

    The GfK report also explored what aspects e-bike buyers considered most important in making their decision to purchase. The 18-24 demographic focused mainly on the e-bike’s top speed, and technical features such as GPS tracking and smart connectivity, as well as battery life. For the average e-bike purchaser, battery performance is of even greater importance, as well as factors such as the motor’s range and location.

    Physical stores still dominate, with 75% of respondents preferring those that carry several brands, and over 90% of those visiting a store taking a test drive. However, the share of online sales is growing, thanks in part to the increasing number of purchases by the 18-24 age bracket.

  4. LEVA-EU member CAKE commits to developing the Kibb

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    The new model is a semi-autonomous electric ATV for regenerative farming

    LEVA-EU member CAKE, the Swedish maker of premium lightweight, electric motorcycles, will move forward with development of the Kibb, an electric, semi-autonomous, all-terrain four-wheeler designed to handle the unique needs of regenerative farming. The Kibb is designed to handle light agricultural tasks autonomously with minimal impact to delicate ecosystems, and CAKE plans to bring the machine into production by 2025.

    Today, the machines employed for farming at scale contribute heavily to global greenhouse gas emissions, and negatively impact the ecosystems we all rely on for healthy food cultivation. With the Kibb, CAKE aims to provide a lower-impact agricultural transport option and support a growing movement toward sustainable farming.

    “Sustainable and responsible farming is vital for healthy ecosystems and we are aiming to make Kibb the number one tool for all future farmers.” says Stefan Ytterborn, CEO and founder of CAKE.

    The Kibb will be a multifunctional battery-powered ATV capable of operating with or without a human driver. The modular body of the Kibb will have different attachment points to allow for compatibility with a wide variety of ATV accessories. It can also act as a mobile power station, providing the farmer with a new best friend to perform the day-to-day duties associated with regenerative agricultural life. The Kibb will also be able to perform simple tasks autonomously, which will free up time to focus on other farm or ranch-related tasks while the Kibb is at work.

    To move the Kibb from a concept to a powerful industrial tool by 2025, CAKE will work closely with experienced farmers from a wide set of disciplines including organic farming, permaculture, and regenerative agriculture to address the mechanical challenges they face.

    The Kibb electric quad was first conceptualized by Fanny Jonsson, a Swedish transportation designer, during her Masters thesis work at Umeå Institute of Design. Jonsson interned with CAKE’s product design team as part of her thesis in 2022, and harnessed their expertise in product development to render the Kibb electric ATV platform. Since her graduation, CAKE has brought Jonsson onto the brand’s product development team full-time, where she will help bring the Kibb from render to reality.

    “Not only was the result from Fanny’s thesis an incredible achievement, but it was such an impressive reflection of the core CAKE values, that it was impossible not to turn the Kibb into reality,” continues Stefan Ytterborn, CEO and founder of CAKE.

    Jonsson adds, “When I started to build out the concept, I had real world challenges in mind, and explored heavily where there is the most unlocked potential on the market. Starting from the core CAKE DNA combined with a new vehicle type was truly exciting, and that CAKE started manufacturing this and is giving everyone the opportunity to follow the progress from my renderings and concept to reality is an honor as well as a great tool to take zero emission, regenerative farming to the next level.”

    The Kibb is still in its early development, and in order to make a vehicle that answers to the needs of future farmers, CAKE plans to begin by investigating the problems they face today. The brand welcomes consumers to follow along on the journey of trial and error as CAKE digs deep into the soil at farms around the world leading up to the anticipated release of the Kibb in 2025.

    One way or another, all CAKE names derive from the island of Gotland. The Kibb comes from the local ancient language “Gutniska” and means ox, representing the strength combined with gentleness and positive impact for biodiversity.

    Read more and follow the Kibb journey here: www.ridecake.com/kibb

  5. SMEs and accessibility standards

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    Approximately 87 million people in the EU are affected by a disability or some kind of limitation that affects their daily lives and restricts them from performing everyday tasks. But ultimately accessibility is relevant to all of us, since we all can potentially become temporarily or permanently disabled, and all of us experience a reduction in our functional abilities as we age.

    The European Accessibility Act (Directive 2019/882) was adopted in 2019 and aims to make certain everyday products and services accessible for persons with disabilities and to improve the way the internal market functions in this area. The Directive is a result of the commitment to accessibility made by the EU and all Member States upon ratifying the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

    Member States had to put in place the necessary provisions at national level to implement the Directive by June 2022. The Act lays out a minimum set of accessibility requirements for a range of products and services such as computers and operating systems, telephones and smartphones, passenger transport-related services, TV equipment, emergency services or e-commerce. Understandably, given their increasing importance in terms of communication and participation in the economy, digital technologies are the focus of the European Accessibility Act. The Directive also foresees the possibility for Member States to adopt requirements in relation to accessibility of the built environment.

    Businesses selling products and services covered by the Act will have until June 2025 to ensure that these comply with the common EU accessibility requirements. An exemption is foreseen for microenterprises providing services.
    On 22 November, SBS organised a webinar aimed at raising awareness among SMEs and SME organisations of the Accessibility Act and the related standardisation work. The Directive foresees the use of harmonised standards as a possible means to ensure that products and services conform with its requirements, and the Commission has issued a series of Standardisation Requests, one of them quite recently, asking for the development of such standards.

    SMEs are very often involved in both the production of technological solutions and in services for elderly persons and people with disabilities. Participating in standardisation is important for SMEs to be able to influence the framework within which they must operate, a point emphasised by SBS expert Rudolph Brynn during the webinar.

    Mr Brynn is an accessibility expert at SBS and works for a company that provides advice on universal building and outdoor design, digital accessibility and usability, and legislation and standards. He presented the SBS’ activities in this context and pointed out important aspects that SMEs should know about and the potential impact they might have on them.

    The other webinar speaker was Ms Inmaculada Placencia Porrero, Senior Expert in the European Commission’s social affairs unit, responsible for Disability and Inclusion. She provided an overview of the Disability Act, its objectives, and its main provisions.
    The European Commission recently issued a Standardisation request (M/587) to CEN, CENELEC and ETSI to develop three new standards and revise existing ones related to the accessibility of ICT products and services and their procurement, accessibility of the built environment, design for all, and accessibility of emergency communications, support services and non-digital product information.

    You can find the webinar presentation material here.

  6. Adaptive acoustic vehicle alerting system (AVAS) – what will help improve acoustic ecology?

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    LEVA-EU Member Thor Avas shares the latest insight on acoustic technology as increasing numbers of electric vehicles appear on the roads and sidewalks.

    Electric transport has a positive effect on the ecology of the city and agglomerations in the broadest sense of the word.

    When considering electric vehicles locally, the emission of exhaust gases is reduced, and the acoustic ecology is improved by reducing the noise of vehicles (the hum of internal combustion engines disappears). Micromobility vehicles increase the personal mobility of the population.
    However, with the spread of electric transport, new difficulties also appear – the number of collisions with pedestrians is increasing. This is not only due to the fact that electric transport can pick up speed faster, but also because it is quiet and has low acoustic visibility at low speeds. Electric vehicles are even classified as silent vehicles, which, according to the national legislation of various countries in North America, Europe, and Asia, must be equipped with a special acoustic device that makes sounds when driving – an AVAS system (acoustic vehicle alerting system).

    Requirements for AVAS systems are regulated by national and international regulations FMVSS 141, GB7258, EU 540/2014, UN R138.01.
    These documents also define the maximum sound level (75 dBA) emitted by the AVAS system.

    The visibility of an AVAS-equipped vehicle to a pedestrian will be determined not only by vehicle characteristics, travel speed, road surface types, AVAS sound types, and loudness but also by the acoustic characteristics of the environment.
    When considering AVAS systems, the visibility of an electric car in a noisy city can be sufficient, but in a park area or countryside, it could be excessive. In this case, the damage to acoustic ecology can be even greater than the noise of an internal combustion engine.

    Thor AVAS conducted an experiment that assessed the visibility of vehicles (a car with an internal combustion engine, and an electric car with the AVAS system on and off) on a quiet country road.
    Visibility was determined using the “fixation time” – the time from the moment a research expert acoustically recorded (heard) that a car was moving in their direction until the moment the car reached them. Passages of an electric vehicle with the AVAS system turned on had two volume options – with the AVAS system operating with a sound level of 75 dBA (maximum allowed) and a sound level of 69 dBA (twice as quiet).

    The results showed that operating at acceptable volume levels, the AVAS system in the countryside will provide excessive visibility, that is, pedestrians will hear the approach of an electric car for 25-55 seconds at a speed of 10 km/h and 25-30 seconds at a speed of 20 km/h. These visibility values are several times higher than those for a conventional ICE vehicle.
    None of the regulatory documents indicates the possibility of an adaptive mode of operation of the AVAS system – such a mode in which the volume of operation is selected based on the acoustic environment. Such a mode of operation could reduce the noise impact on the environment and improve the acoustic environmental friendliness of the AVAS system.

  7. Institute of Transport Research of the German Aerospace Center invites you to participate in a study

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    We are looking for participants who own a light electric vehicle (LEV, class L5e, L6e or L7e) and would like to tell us more about the use and their experiences with their LEV.

    The research project is investigating what requirements and needs owners have for LEV design. This includes several questions, such as:

    • What do owners like and dislike about using LEVs?
    • From their perspective, what works well and what doesn’t work well?
    • What should be improved and what should be maintained?

    To answer these questions, we are looking for YOU – LEV owners.

    If you are interested in participating, please visit our project website and write an email to the given mail address: DATAMOST: Use patterns of LEVs – DLR Moving Lab 

    (Please note that the language of the study is German.)

    We look forward to your participation!

    The LEV Study Team

  8. First e-cycle hearse created by funeral home in Paris

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    Source: TheMayor.EU, T.V. Iolov

    New innovations see carbon footprint reduced through increasingly unique, scenario-specific technologies.

    The “Le Ciel & La Terre” funeral home in Paris, France will utilize the first electric-bicycle hearse named “Corbicyclette”. Using the new vehicle during funeral proceedings reduces the overall environmental impact of the event. Furthermore, the creation allows many of the capital’s new bicycle-focused regulations to be met, allowing for easier transportation in the city centre.

    According to Le Ciel & La Terre, the hearse is anchored to the platform of an electrically assisted steel three-wheeled bicycle, which gives it the power to take on steep slopes. The airtight compartment intended to accommodate the coffin is made of solid, light, natural and environmentally friendly marine plywood. Being a Light Electric Vehicle, the Corbicyclette does not emit any greenhouse gasses during its operational phase.

    Creator Isabelle Plumereau shared, “The Corbicyclette is to propose a new ritual for families that I accompany, especially at the cemetery,” allowing for “a slow, silent, quiet procession, to the rhythm of the steps of the people who walk behind and who make the procession.”

  9. Join LEVA-EU now for Membership till end 2023

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    LEVA-EU Membership is usually valid for one year from the date that you confirm your affiliation. However, the LEVA-EU board has decided to apply 1 November as a cut-off date for next year’s membership. If you join between 1 November and 31 December 2022, your membership will run until 31 December of the next year.

    Read up on why you should become a member of LEVA-EU here. You will find full details on what we do under “What We Do” in the top menu of the homepage..

    To apply for membership, simply complete and send the online form here or contact LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck for more details or an introductory meeting: annick@leva-eu.com

    We hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you as a LEVA-EU Member soon!

    The LEVA-EU Team,
    Annick, Bram, Eddie, Dennis, Willow and Bruno

    Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash

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