Tag Archive: Light electric vehicles

  1. Last Chance to Help Pushing for Inclusive E-Bike Regulations in the UK

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    In the UK, an online consultation organized by the governement, to gauge opinions on improving technical rules for electric bicycles, will be closing next Thursday 25 April at 23.59. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to significantly improve the rules and make the electric bicycle market accessible to millions of British people. The consultation is here: https://rb.gy/a8guw3.

    LEVA-EU calls on all parties with a real interest in growing the light electric vehicle market, and electric bikes in particular, to respond in a positive way to the proposals. It will give millions of people access to electric bikes, it will boost electric cargobike use and it will make mobility in the UK more sustainable.

    The two main proposals are:

    1) increasing the maximum continuous rated power from 250 to 500W
    2) allowing electric pedal assisted bikes to be equipped with a throttle without the vehicles having to be type approved (as is the case today).

    In the EU, and until further notice also still in the UK, an electric bicycle with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h, a maximum continuous rated power of 500 W and a throttle, is categorised as an L1e-A powered cycle, and must be type-approved.

    EPACs 250W without throttle and EPACs 500 W with a throttle, of the same weight, have exactly the same kinetic energy. Consequently, the result of an impact will be identical for both vehicles. So you would expect these identical vehicles to be subject to identical technical requirements. And yet they are subject to two completely different legal frameworks: the Machinery Directive for the 250W as opposed to Regulation 168/2013 for the 500 W. The result of the latter damming legislation, originally designed for mopeds and motorcycles, thus totally inadequate and inaccurate for any type of electric bike, is that not one powered cycle has been approved. No manufacturer wants/is able to risk type-approval. Moreover, most Member States wouldn’t even know how to deal with such a vehicle in their traffic code. Belgium, one of the few member states to acknowledge the difference between mopeds and electric bicycles in the traffic code, has given L1e-A vehicles the same status as conventional bikes. However, this is to no avail since there are no such vehicles on the market.

    LEVA-EU has been advocating for years for the abolition of the maximum continuous rated power requirement, which plays no role in the safety of electric bicycles. Instead, technical regulations must be developed to ensure that vehicles accelerate safely. The proposed increase from 250 to 500W is not ideal but would provide some breathing space for cargo bicycles in particular.

    The proposal to give electric bicycles with pedal assistance and a throttle the same legal status as bicycles with pedal assistance only sounds like music to LEVA-EU’s ears.

    The UK has 16 million people with a physical disability. For several millions of them this means that they are unable to pedal consistently. The combination of pedal assistance and throttle is therefore a solution that can get millions of people in the saddle. Moreover, it will also make the lives of, for example, cargo bike riders and bicycle couriers considerably easier.

    But guess what? The entire British cycling community is loudly calling for the proposals to be turned down!!!!

    The Bicycle Association (BA), the professional organization of (electric) bicycle manufacturers and importers and the dealer organization ACT call the proposed measures “unnecessary” and “risky”. They even claim: “There’s no evidence these changes would significantly boost demand.” That’s really making a fool of the truth. Until 2016, electric bicycles with a throttle were allowed as regular EPACS in the UK. They know all too well that the so-called twist and go bicycles were more popular than bicycles with pedal assistance only. It took the UK until 2016 to align its legislation with European legislation as a result of which e-bikes with a throttle were banished to the L1e-A category.

    The BA and ACT warn that 500W could pose a fire risk! Such absolute nonsense, provided without any proof, undermines the credibility of their argumentation completely. They further argue that e-bikes, on which you no longer have to pedal, could lead to “moped-style regulation on the whole e-bike category“. They have clearly erased from their collective memory the long episode in British law during which e-bikes with throttles enjoyed the same status as conventional electric bicycles, without that resulting in moped-style regulation on the whole e-bike category. The British government now voluntarily offers once again equalization for equal vehicles. Why would they suddenly turn around and change the law into moped-style regulations after all?

    The sheer nonsense that electric bicycles with throttle could jeopardize the bicycle status of the current EPACs is a song that has been sung by CONEBI for 25 years. The only reason for that position is protectionism. The major companies behind CONEBI do everything they can to protect their cash cow, the EPAC with pedal assistance only, against any competition and at any price. And as a member of CONEBI, the BA naturally sings from the same hymn sheet. It is not clear why the ACT also finds it necessary to deny their members, the (electric) bicycle dealers, a much better future.

    Cyclists’ organisation, Cycling UK, is also firmly against the proposals. In a comment, the director of external affairs showed a complete lack of knowledge of the matter as she stated: “These proposals present a huge safety risk to pedestrians and others who cycle. The dramatically increased power would mean faster acceleration and much heavier bikes, which we’re really concerned about.” The Cycling UK director is clearly not familiar with the concept of maximum continuous rated power, ignorance which does not prevent her from taking a firm stance.

    The British government is voluntarily offering a unique opportunity to remove legal barriers to electric bicycles, making them accessible to millions more people. The BA and ACT challenge that proposal with nothing but intellectual dishonesty, Cycling UK even with stupidity. How dare they deny millions of people access to sustainable mobility, whilst claiming they are defending the interests of their industry?

    The consultation is here, https://rb.gy/a8guw3, and will remain online until 25 April, midnight.

    We welcome the challenging of the LEVA-EU position on this issue, but we will only engage in evidence-based discussions.

    Annick Roetynck,
    LEVA-EU Manager

  2. Second Best Year Ever for New Speed Pedelecs in Belgium, Significant Decline in the Netherlands

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    With 15,672 newly registered speed pedelecs in Belgium, 2023 is the second-best year ever, after the absolute record year 2022. In seven years, the market for new speed pedelecs has increased by +283%.

    There are several reasons for this growth: historically high traffic congestion combined with increasingly better bicycle infrastructure, technological advancement (greater range thanks to more powerful batteries, increased safety thanks to ABS, etc.), and a more widespread and increased cycling allowance. The latter has been raised to € 0.35 per km since 1 January 2024 of which a maximum of € 3,500 is free of tax and social security.

    Second-hand speed pedelecs achieved a record figure of 6,805 units for 2023. That is almost 20% more than in 2022 and whopping 125% more than in 2021. This success can be largely attributed to the increasing number of lease speed pedelecs that become available and are either bought secondhand or resold. Of course, there are also private buyers who are happy to trade in their speed pedelec for a more modern model.

    All in all, new speed and secondhand speed pedelecs reached a total of 22.477 registrations, only 16 vehicles less than in 2022.

    However, there is a significant shift in the market: the explosive growth of the leasing segment, whose market share rose to 49.9% in 2023, at the expense of registrations by both companies and individuals. Particularly, individually bought speed pedelecs dropped a lot (-33.3%), but speed pedelecs bought by companies also declined significantly (-11%).

    Bicycle leasing offers some obvious benefits for companies such as less administrative burden, no worries about maintenance, insurance, or residual value because everything is neatly arranged for them and for the employee.

    To conclude the chapter on leasing, one might wonder if bicycle leasing is following the trend of cars in Belgium. More than half of the fast bikes are leased, and the share of individually bought speed pedelecs is sharply declining. If this trend continues, it will have a significant impact on the organization of bicycle retailers.

    This shift to leasing also has an impact on provincial results because now the provinces with the most leasing companies are disproportionately performing well – especially Vlaams-Brabant and Limburg but also East Flanders. Antwerp, which has many private buyers and fewer leasing companies, has lost its longstanding leadership position for just over a year. Brussels remains unchanged, and in Wallonia, we only see declines. The speed pedelec is struggling to gain traction in the French-speaking part of the country, partly due to less developed bicycle infrastructure, lower traffic congestion, and – specifically for Brussels – competition with regular bicycles and e-scooters in the extended 30 km/h zones.

    The good news is also that from May 1, 2023, all employees in the private sector are entitled to a cycling allowance, which could give bicycle sales in general, as well as sales of speed pedelecs, an extra boost. This is already notable in the success of the new speed pedelecs that are registered through leasing.

    In the Netherlands we observe a different situation: the bicycle market shows a significant decline for 2023 with a total of 4,185 speed pedelecs sold. The speed pedelec market was not hit as hard as the regular bicycle and e-bike market, but many speed pedelec sellers and manufacturers also felt the impact. The level of speed pedelec sales remained below the level of 2021 for several months in 2023.

    Contrary to Belgium, the Netherlands offers few fiscally attractive options for speed pedelec riders. For self-employed individuals (ZZP-ers), there are the MIA (Environmental Investment Allowance) and VAMIL (Random Depreciation of Environmental Investments), but the general public cannot benefit from these, and this is reflected in the sales.

    The best performing brand in both countries is Stromer capturing a market share of 39% in Belgium and 53% in the Netherlands. Additionally, Klever, Gazelle and Giant enjoyed  growth in 2023.

    In Belgium, two Belgian brands are part of the top 10: Ellio and ASKA. With 378 and 198 speed pedelecs sold in Belgium respectively, these young Belgian companies are demonstrating remarkable performance alongside the established brands. A third brand, Spector, had their first sales in 2023 in Belgium.


    1. https://www.traxio.be/artikels/speed-pedelecs-jaaranalyse-tweede-beste-jaar-ooit-voor-nieuwe-speed-peledecs-recordjaar-voor-tweedehands
    2. Het speed pedelec jaar 2023: de cijfers in België en Nederland – Speed Pedelec Review
  3. More Belgian employees choose to cycle to and from work

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    On the 11th of January 2024 HR services company Acerta published the results of their quarterly Mobility Barometer surveying the commuting habits of 330,000 employees in Belgium. This survey reveals a notable shift in the way of commuting:  the car is losing ground to bicycles. 35.8% of employees occasionally cycle to work. Interestingly, the average commuting distance in Belgium has risen by half a kilometer in just one year, now surpassing 20 kilometers.

    While 23% of Belgian white-collar workers still possess a company car, the car is no longer the sole means of transportation for employees. According to Acerta’s Mobility Barometer, reliance on cars for commuting has decreased from 78.4% in 2021 to 77.9% in 2022. The bicycle is gaining ground, reaching a 35.8% share, and public transportation is also making strides, now utilized by 8.3% of employees, compared to 7.8% in 2021.

    Charlotte Thijs, Acerta’s mobility expert, comments, “There has been a growing awareness regarding transportation choices. Factors such as increasing environmental consciousness, a diverse range of transport options, the boosted image of (electric) bicycles, and recent spikes in fuel prices are influencing employees not to automatically choose cars, indicating a potential decline in the decades-long dominance of automobiles.”

    The most popular combination is that of a car and bicycle, with 19% opting for this mode. Additionally, 15% exclusively choose bicycles. Public transportation users mostly don’t combine it with other modes (5.8%), or if they do, it’s with bicycles (1.2%).

    Charlotte Thijs adds, “The sustained popularity of bicycles in commuting doesn’t come as a surprise. We observe more employers offering bike leases, and there’s an increase in individuals receiving bicycle allowances. Public transportation seems to benefit from various trends, and with more flexible subscription systems catering to remote work, further gains are possible.”

    Source:The data collected are based on a sample of actual salary data from employees working for more than 40,000 employers in the private sector, including both SMEs and large enterprises. The data were collected through the ACERTA Mobility Barometer between 2021 and 2022, providing a representative depiction of the Belgian employee population in the private sector. ACERTA conducts measurements quarterly, and this marks the seventh edition of the study.

  4. LEVA-EU Seeks Consortium Partnership in Horizon Project Light Commercial Vehicles

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    On 7 December, the Horizon call “New designs, shapes, functionalities of Light Commercial Vehicles (2Zero Partnership)” will be launched, with a proposal deadline set for 18 April 2024.

    Horizon Europe is the EU’s research and innovation funding programme until 2027 with a budget of € 95.5 billion. It’s aimed at tackling climate change, helping to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosting the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

    The primary aim of this Horizon call relating to Light Commercial Vehicles is to develop innovative, zero-emission light commercial vehicles optimized for urban environments, focusing on affordable, safe, sustainable, and reliable goods transport. The initiative emphasizes active engagement from freight services users and fleet owners in defining requirements and testing. The core focus is on identifying and overcoming key barriers to the advancement of new concepts for urban and sub-urban logistics and freight mobility.

    LEVA-EU expresses keen interest in participating as a partner within this framework. Leveraging its extensive knowledge of technical legislation for L-category vehicles and electric cargo cycles, LEVA-EU also possesses a deep understanding of legal challenges hindering the development of sustainable light commercial vehicles. Furthermore, the organization is very active in European and international standardization. Also, LEVA-EU is well-connected within the LEV community, offering valuable networking resources to any project. LEVA-EU is poised to play a significant role in dissemination and communication efforts.

    Consequently, any consortium planning a project related to L-category electric vehicles and/or electric cargo cycles is encouraged to reach out to LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck to explore potential collaboration opportunities: annick@leva-eu.com, tel. +32 475 500 588.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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