Tag Archive: speed pedelecs

  1. Belgium increases cycling allowance in 2024 but caps tax exemption

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    The Belgian government has decided to substantially increase the maximum tax-free allowance for commuting by bike, e-bike or speed pedelec, raising it from € 0.27 to € 0.35 per kilometer. The new rate is applicable since 1 January 2024. This initiative is based on the Belgian cycle plan ‘Be Cyclist’, which runs since 2021 until the end of this year.

    Vincent Van Peteghem, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, explains the increase: “For those for whom it is possible, cycling is an efficient, sustainable, and healthy way to commute to and from work. With the increase in the tax and social exemption for bicycle allowances, we aim to give an extra push to the number of employees opting for cycling. Because more people cycling also means fewer cars on the road, leading to reduced traffic congestion and better air quality. Undoubtedly, it has a positive impact on the health of our citizens.”

    At the same time, an annual ceiling for tax exemption of € 2,500 has been introduced. This ceiling corresponds to an annual distance of 7,142 km, given a cycling allowance of € 0.35 per km. Based on 210 working days a year, this annual distance equals a one-way commute of 17 km. This may seem a realistic calculation, given that 92% of employees who cycle to work live within less than 15 km from their workplace. Nevertheless, there are speed pedelec riders who use their vehicle to commute over longer distances. LEVA-EU’s technical director for instance has a one-way commute of 40 km. In his case, the capped amount only allows for 89 paid commuting days a year.

    It’s not clear why the government has introduced this cap, thus discriminating those riders who contribute most to avoiding emissions and to reducing congestion, whilst using more expensive vehicles than (e)bike riders. Beyond the cap of € 2,500, riders are still entitled to the cycling allowance of € 0.35 per km but the excess amount becomes subject to social security and tax.

    The Belgian government is addicted to taxing everything and anything. The € 2,500 limit is probably a result of that obsession. It is a pity that no cost/benefit analysis has been carried out to determine the savings in external costs resulting from the replacement of a car with a speed pedelec. That analysis would undoubtedly show how counterproductive that cap is.

    On a more positive note, until April last year, employers had no obligation to pay the cycling allowance. In May 2023, employers’ and employees’ organizations reached an agreement to introduce the entitlement to a cycling allowance in all collective labour agreements in the private sector. This however does not mean that employers must pay € 0.35 per km. They are entitled to pay a lesser amount or a fixed amount per commute.

  2. Varied regulations impact speed pedelec usage across Europe

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    Source: Fietsberaad

    A recent study conducted by Mobycon on behalf of the German bicycle industry association Zweirad-Industrie-Verband (ZIV) sheds light on the diverse regulations governing speed pedelecs in Germany, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. The findings reveal significant disparities, with Switzerland and Denmark permitting speed pedelecs on almost all cycle paths, while in Germany, they are restricted to roadways.

    Mobycon conducted this research to compare the slow growth of speed pedelec usage in Germany to other countries. More than 22,000 speed pedelecs were sold in Switzerland in 2022, which accounted for approximately 10 percent of the total number of e-bikes sold. Meanwhile, in Germany 11,000 pedelecs were sold, despite it being a country with a population ten times bigger than Switzerland’s. According to the report by ZIV and Mobycon, these differences are related to the quality of the cycling infrastructure and clear enforceable regulations.

    According to Mobycon, based on current accident data, it cannot be objectively determined whether it is safer for speed pedelecs to be used on roads or on cycle paths. However, the report notes that accidents involving speed pedelecs tend to result in more severe consequences than those with regular bicycles.

    In Denmark and Switzerland the speed pedelec is treated as a bicycle, whereas in the Netherlands the speed pedelec is only allowed on cycle paths if mopeds are also permitted there. Notably, the Netherlands is the sole country among the five studied to have an adjusted speed limit for speed pedelecs on cycle paths.

    In Germany, the prohibition of speed pedelecs on cycle paths is thought to be due to limitations in existing cycling infrastructure, with cycle paths often being too narrow to accommodate speed pedelecs or cargo bikes, and may need to be shared with pedestrians. Unlike the Netherlands, Germany lacks a consistent provision of separate cycling infrastructure; in the Netherlands, cycle paths are mandatory on roads with a speed limit of 50 km/h.

    The most lenient stance towards speed pedelecs is observed in Switzerland, where authorities are considering widening cycle paths rather than imposing bans. This nuanced approach highlights the complex interplay between regulations, infrastructure, and the adoption of speed pedelecs across European countries.

  3. Flanders introduces specific rider exam for Speed Pedelecs

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    As of the 1st of October 2023, candidates aiming to obtain a Category AM driver’s license will have the option to take the practical exam using a speed pedelec.

    For those interested in riding a speed pedelec, it is essential to hold either a Category AM or A driver’s license, unless they already possess a Category B license. Previously, the Category AM exam required candidates to use a conventional scooter for testing.

    One of the key highlights of this update is the introduction of examination maneuvers specifically designed for speed pedelecs. This adjustment in the driving exam procedure is of significant importance, considering the accident statistics related to speed pedelecs.

    More information can be found in the following brochure:

    64f18f00a0e595362e56d873_Doc 131-BAN_V.pdf (website-files.com)

    To our knowledge, Flanders is the very first to introduce a specific AM-exam for speed pedelecs. Do you know of any other countries or regions in the EU who already have such a specific exam for speed pedelecs? Do let us know by mail to ineke@leva-eu.com

  4. From surveying 400 speed pedelec users, 80% have reduced their car usage

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    According to Kopgroep’s survey on 400 speed pedelec riders, there is a direct relationship between speed pedelec purchasing and car usage reduction. They found 80% of speed pedelec owners use the fast bicycle for commuting instead of their (second) family car. This representative research confirms the perception of these bicycles as a transport alternative in the fight against traffic congestion in the Netherlands.

    The research reveals that fast bicycles are used frequently with a staggering 96% of riders using a speed pedelec for commuting, with two-thirds of these riders traveling more than twenty kilometers one way to work. 80% of them ride to work at least three days a week, with 68% riding (almost always) in bad weather. From these findings, it was calculated that the speed pedelec usage of the surveyed group covers more than 5000 km per year.

    High risk

    The speed pedelec is allowed to ride among motorized vehicles on the road in many urban areas. One-third of riders perceive the restricted top speed (45 km/h) of the speed pedelec as a significant risk when riding amidst cars. This is particularly relevant on roads where motorists often exceed the 50 km/h limit. In such situations, speed pedelec riders want the freedom to choose safer bicycle paths at a slower speed. The absence of this choice hinders further growth for speed pedelec usage. So far, some ministries have been reluctant to include this freedom of choice in the law.

    Ministerial Responsibility

    The municipalities of Rotterdam and Amersfoort are the first to offer this freedom of choice. Speed pedelec riders in these two municipalities can apply for an exemption, allowing them to choose between riding on the roadway or, at an adjusted speed, on the bicycle path. The survey shows appreciation for this approach, but it also highlights inequality among the 342 municipalities in the Netherlands. Various municipalities, including the province of Utrecht, will follow the example set by Rotterdam and Amersfoort. Speedy cyclists would need to see solutions from an adjustment of legislation rather than relying on individual exemptions per municipality.

    Better road education

    The survey also indicates other road users have insufficient knowledge of the rules regarding fast bicycle riding. An information campaign to better inform road users about speed pedelec positioning on the road and bicycle paths can help encourage potential riders to make the switch from cars to bicycles.

    The use of speed pedelecs means fewer cars are on the road, which helps to reduce emissions and ensure that more people meet daily physical activity requirements.

    More information

    Kopgroep, is an independent group of speed pedelec riders that consult with other speed pedelec users. This survey serves as an example of their work.

  5. A double interview with the minds behind LEVA-EU member Ellio

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    Source: Ride Ellio

    The Belgian manufacturer just reached the 1,000-bike milestone. With a rapidly growing community and big aspirations, what’s next for the brand?

    What does the 1,000th bicycle mean to you? How do you feel about this?

    Tomas: Fair? When we started [Ellio] I thought it would go faster. But even when we had the 7 plagues of Egypt over us, with corona, the supply chain collapsing, the crazy demand for bicycles, but also the collapse of the speed pedelec market due to working from home, the war in Ukraine… too much to mention actually… I never doubted, because what I had in mind is exactly what people appreciate in Ellio. That was only possible thanks to the wonderful team that I get to be a part of every day. I feel blessed by fate to have been able to fulfill my dream. But I keep dreaming… of more, of better. Even better!

    Jorrit: It’s a milestone of course and that always feels good. It is a moment to look back at the road we have already traveled and I can say that I do so with great pride. At the same time, we also keep looking ahead, of course: 1,000 bicycles is just the beginning!

    Past versus now. How did you see the mobility landscape evolve from bike 1 to 1,000?

    Tomas: In the media, the speed pedelec is seen less as a risk and more and more as a solution. I also like that programs such as Kijk Uit (a Flemish television program regarding road safety) put the speed pedelec in the spotlight in a nuanced way.

    Jorrit: In the few years that we have been active, bicycles have really evolved from leisure items to full-fledged means of mobility. This places entirely new requirements on the products. With a decent 25 km/h bike, you can safely ride to work every day, but for longer journeys or when designing a 45 km/h speed pedelec you really need more than just a decent bike. That has always been Ellio’s raison d’être, so of course, we are happy with this evolution.

    What plans can we expect in 2023?

    Tomas: Ellio, our first model, I dare call my baby. However, we are working with a whole team on the successor, Marty. This time Jander, a product developer at Ellio and responsible for the development of Ellio, will be the (young) daddy of our newest model. Can I call myself grandpa? With Marty, we will reach the next level of maturity, as a product and as a company. We all grow together. Full of passion to offer the ultimate mobility solution.

    Jorrit: International expansion, an expansion of our product range to respond even better to the mobility needs of our customers and, of course, also strong growth in production numbers. Next year we want to be able to build 3 times as many bicycles as this year.

    How has co-creation of the Ellio community contributed to today’s Ellio?

    Tomas: At my previous employer, Toyota, we had a standard for every feature, situation, and step. Almost to the absurd. Even the brewing of coffee was almost standardized. At Ellio, we have something even stronger, being organic; that is the Ellio community. I never imagined that such a fantastic community could grow around our product in these dark times. The openness that is in Ellio’s DNA is answered with a positive drive to not only improve the product but to create a platform where Ellio riders help other Ellio riders.

    Jorrit: From the outside, the 1,000th Ellio seems to be almost the same bike as the very first, but “under the hood” a lot has changed since then. The control of the drive and transmission, the display of the HMI, and numerous minor hardware changes have been implemented. All are based on feedback from our customers.

    How has Bewel, the custom workshop responsible for the assembly of Ellio bicycles, contributed to Ellio’s success?

    Tomas: Collaborating with Bewel was a conscious choice. Not from a social point of view, which is a nice bonus and I love it, but because they could provide the overarching services, the critical mass, that we didn’t have as a start-up. We sometimes received questions from prospective customers about why we didn’t work with a tailor-made company, but it is precisely the very structured working in Bewel that helps us to achieve our quality.

    Jorrit: Thanks to Bewel, Ellio is produced close to home. This way, our developers can see for themselves how the products they design are built on a daily basis. This greatly benefits our development because we can implement improvements very quickly. At the same time, Bewel has a team of highly motivated employees with an almost obsessive focus on quality. The quality and consistency that Bewel has already achieved in the production of ‘just’ our 1000th bicycle is simply astonishing.

    What would you like to say to the Bewel employees?

    Thomas: I love you guys! I always love being with you and feeling your passion for my baby!

    George: THANK YOU!! That’s obvious, I think.

    Do you know how many km do you cycle on average per week?

    Tomas: 200-250 km (and if I don’t make it, I’m really pissed!)

    Jorrit: Not enough, I live too close to work. I cycle about 10 km to and from work every day, so about 60-70 km a week in total. But always with the Ellio of course!

  6. Dutch Speed Pedelec fleet reaches 30,000

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    The Dutch non-profit “Speedpedelec Evolutie” has once again analyzed the Dutch market for speedpedelecs. They are sharing the following information about sales and fleet, based on their data regarding registered speedpedelecs.

    Fleet

    The total speed pedelec fleet in The Netherlands has increased by 8% to 29,683 vehicles, consisting of
    58 brands and 203 models. Many models are available with different specifications, so there is plenty of choice. The data show a steady increase of the fleet from 23,793 at the end of 2020 to 27,538 end of last year.
    The Top 10 brands, with a total of 26,601 vehicles, increased their market share from 89 to 90%. No less than 48 brands account for the remaining 10% with a total of 3.082 vehicles.

    Last year, the Top 3 brands were the same as the year before: Stromer was market leader, with 34% and the first brand to exceed the 10.000 limit. STromer and number 2, Riese & Müller, hold just over half of the fleet. Third place was for the Dutch brand Sparta. Stromer, Riese & Müller and Sparta have a share of 64% in the Top 10 per model (19.032 vehicles). The remaining 36% (10.651 vehicles) consists of 193 models!
    Stromer’s ST1, ST2 and ST3 hold the 1st to 3rd place. However, it should be taken into account that both ST1 and ST2 consist of several models. For example the old ST2 has a chain and derailleur/sprockets,
    while the new model is driven with a belt and internal gears.
    Stromer has 4 models in the Top 10, Riese & Müller 3, Sparta 2 and Gazelle 1, but that is not their new model “No1”.
    Four new models have been introduced in the first half of 2022: the Y Muse 45 and N Rogue
    45 both by Klever, the Axis eRide Evo Speed Bike by Scott and finally the LEB 800 Speed, the premiere of the German Velo de Ville.

    Despite the new sales, the average age of the fleet increased to 3.9 years. Stromer, Sparta
    and Riese & Müller account for approximately 3,100 vehicles older than 5 years, while the remaining
    3,501 vehicles belong to 38 different brands! In total 43% (almost 13.000 vehicles) are older than 5 years. Almost 2.400 vehicles date from before 2015, with the oldest speed pedelec on Dutch roads being 13.2 years!

    The Speed Pedelec Evolutie data show that 69% of the fleet is still with their first owner, whilst 9,300 (31%) changed ownership. Also, 98% were purchased in The Netherlands, with only 700 speed pedelecs from abroad.

    Sales

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    In the first half of 2022 sales have increased with 11%, compared to the same period in 2021. However, the result is still 7% lower than sales in the first half of 2020. The first 4 months of 2022 showed an average increase of 25% followed by a reduction of 6% in May and June. Speed Pedelec Evolutie predicts total sales in 2022 of 4,149, which would be a 5% increase compared to 2021.

    For more graphs and indicators please visit
    www.speedpedelec-evolutie.nl

  7. Stromer official “e-bike” supplier for Alinghi Red Bull Racing

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    LEVA-EU member Stromer has entered a partnership with Alinghi Red Bull Racing in their preparations for the 37th America’s Cup. Stromer will be providing fast electric bikes, or “Speed Pedelecs”, as well as developing new special editions that will carry the Alinghi Red Bull Racing name.

    Participation in the ‘America’s Cup’, the oldest sporting trophy in the world (1851), requires vision, an innovative spirit, and a certain willingness to take risks. After an absence of ten years, Alinghi has joined forces with Red Bull with the goal of winning the 37th America’s Cup, hosted in Barcelona from August to October 2024. The Swiss company myStromer AG, a leading manufacturer of Speed Pedelecs, is now working to help Alinghi Red Bull Racing achieve this goal as the team’s official supplier of electric bikes. This collaboration is based on a long-term vision and will not only boost the team’s mobility in Barcelona, but everywhere that they go. Stromer will also introduce a Special Edition in the colors of Alinghi Red Bull Racing that is based on the model ST7 in 2023.

    Alinghi Red Bull Racing’s training location is Barcelona, a busy metropolis. To support the team members on their daily journeys in the city, Stromer is the team’s official supplier of e-bikes. In addition to fast electric bikes, Stromer is also providing the team with racing bikes in the colors of Alinghi Red Bull Racing to help train the sailors. Cycling will play a key role in this competition for the 37th America’s Cup, both on land as well as on the water. The energy for the mechanical systems is generated on board by pedal systems that are operated by four members of the team: the “power group”. Modern mobility is thus a common thread between Stromer and Alinghi Red Bull Racing thanks to their interest in efficiency and performance.

    Sailing has fascinated humans around the world for centuries. Alinghi Red Bull Racing stands for performance and perfection, just like Stromer. We expect this partnership to increase the global brand awareness of Stromer and to enhance the focus on the topic of alternative mobility. We are also excited to launch an ST7 Alinghi Red Bull Racing Special Edition in 2023.” Tomi Viiala, co-CEO of myStromer AG

    We are looking forward to our collaboration with Alinghi Red Bull Racing. Passion and perfection are just two values that we share. We wish Alinghi Red Bull Racing a perfect preparation phase and victory at the next America’s Cup. We are naturally also proud to be able to ensure the mobility of the team in Barcelona with our bikes.” Karl Ludwig Kley, co-CEO / CFO of  myStromer AG

    These new boats, the AC75, are bringing cycling and sailing closer: the rules of the class allow having cyclists on board to provide the energy to operate the boat systems. The fact that we will be able to ride bikes as part of the preparation in Barcelona will also be a huge advantage for the whole team. We are truly lucky that we will be able to rely on Stromer in our quest for the next America’s Cup. We represent the colors of Swiss industry in the world and stand for the same values: precision, quality and performance. A huge thanks to them for it!” Arnaud Psarofaghis, Alinghi Red Bull Racing Sailing Team

    #HereToChangeMobility

    Stromer supports sustainable, environmentally friendly mobility solutions. Stromer Speed Pedelecs can be ridden up to 45 km/h with engine assistance and represent the best of Swiss engineering. The models capture the imagination through an exclusive combination of timeless design, smart connectivity, pure performance, and maximum range.

    Stromer ST7 Alinghi Red Bull Racing Team Edition

    Exclusively for its partnership with Alinghi Red Bull Racing, the Swiss company will manufacture a special series of its top model, the ST7, in the team’s colors. The new Stromer flagship combines cutting-edge technology and high-end components to create a Speed Pedelec truly in a class of its own. With a 1,440 Wh battery and a range of up to 260 km, the ST7 is the world’s first “Speed Pedelec” with new electronic Smart.Shift technology from Pinion, thus introducing vehicle driving dynamics to the e-bike. It combines reliable and virtually maintenance-free gear-shifting technology with the advantages of electronic shifting via a shift lever. Planning for additional Special and Limited Editions is currently underway.

  8. Stromer and LEVA-EU launch Speed Pedelec White Paper

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    76% of all car trips and 50% of kilometers driven by cars can be replaced by micro-mobility[1], according to research carried out by DLR at the request of LEVA-EU. “As much as 37% of the trips could be done by speed-pedelecs (e-bikes up to 45 km/h),” Tomi Viiala, Co-CEO of myStromer, explains.


    This example – and many more – should convince governments of the huge potential of light electric mobility and encourage them to improve focus on it and use it more frequently. “That’s why, together with LEVA-EU, we’ve invested in a Speed Pedelec White Paper to use as a basis for discussion with local authorities, as well as with European authorities,” says Tomi Viiala. The White Paper provides extensive information about the use of S-pedelecs with numerous concrete cases and figures.

    Examples of countries leading the way in sustainable solutions for commuter traffic are Belgium and Switzerland. Speed-pedelecs, are well integrated in both countries as an example of modern, sustainable traffic. Many commuters are already experiencing the benefits: with an S-pedelec, you can be sure of punctual departure and arrival times, along with a healthy(er) way of moving. Even more than that, S-pedelecs are also cost-saving, energy-efficient and, last but not least, more environmentally friendly than driving a car. The rules for using S-pedelecs in Belgium and Switzerland are therefore clear and offer riders a good alternative to cars. The White Paper is also intended to raise awareness of this issue among traffic planners and to convince fleet managers to offer pedelecs and S-pedelecs to their employees.

    Together with LEVA-EU, myStromer, the market leader in the S-pedelec segment, wants to convince and motivate other European countries to review and clarify their traffic regulations for S-pedelecs. This implies changes in policy and regulations. And there is still work to be done.

    Annick Roetynck, LEVA-EU Manager, adds: “LEVA-EU has commissioned research from DLR into the potential for LEVs to significantly reduce GHG emissions from the transport sector and thus to contribute to climate protection. The research shows that 37% of all car trips could theoretically be replaced with speed pedelecs and 19% of all car kilometres could be substituted by speed pedelec kilometres. Each trip for which an LEV replaces a car would avoid on average 88% of the GHG emissions from the substituted cars. These numbers clearly show that electrification of cars alone is not the solution. We also need to considerably reduce the weight of the vehicles we use for our transportation. The speed pedelec is therefore a very valuable, sustainable solution. Legal bottlenecks are very seriously hampering the technological and market development of speed pedelecs. The White Paper should convince the European, national and local authorities to prioritise those issues.

    To receive a free copy of the Speed Pedelec White Paper, please fill in the form below. We will send you a copy in return.





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      [1] Micromobility includes all electric vehicles subject to Regulation 168/2013 as well as all vehicles excluded from this Regulation. That variety of vehicles ranges from e-scooters to electric mini-cars.

    • Research: analysis of initial speed pedelec usage for commuting purposes in Flanders

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      The 365SNEL project, subsidized by the Flemish Ministry for the Environment is aimed at evaluating the potential of speed pedelecs for commuting. Among the companies who provided material for this project are three LEVA-EU Members: Klever, Qwic and Stromer.

      In the framework of this project Bert Herteleer, Nikolaas Van den Steen, Lieselot Vanhaverbeke en Jan Cappelle have recently published a scientific paper: “Analysis of initial speed pedelec usage for commuting purposes in Flanders”. The abstract is below, the full paper is here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trip.2022.100589

      Speed pedelecs, pedal-powered two-wheelers with motor assistance up to 45 km/h, are relatively new vehicles for active travel on European roads, with Flanders at the forefront of adoption. Policies by European and national entities have allowed speed pedelecs to be used, yet the policies have been based on assumptions and modelling about speeds reached, rather than measured data.

      This paper presents analysis of naturalistic speed pedelec behaviour by 98 individuals at 10 companies in Flanders, who logged commuting and leisure rides with smartphone GPS during three-week test periods as part of the 365SNEL project using fifteen speed pedelecs, ranging in motor power from 250 W to 800 W. The cruising speed, the speed at which the largest distance is covered, and the 95th percentile (P95) speed (as a realistic maximum speed) are proposed as Key Performance Indicators to better evaluate speed pedelec behaviour. Cruising speeds for men were consistently higher than women (mean values: men 38.2 km /h, women 33.5 km /h). For all participants, the mean commuting P95 speed of 40.1 km/h is 5 km/h below the expected 45 km/h, which points to potential over-regulation of speed pedelecs according to their expected maximum speed.

      Contrasting logged commuting cycling trips with leisure trips indicates that speed pedelecs can be characterised by their speed metrics, regardless of their travel purpose. Policymakers can therefore facilitate active travel with its commensurate physical and mental health benefits by investing in and designating routes for higher-speed (active) travel, and conversely reserve other routes for slower travel modes.

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