1. LEVA-EU offers free Battery Transport Info through Cross-Industry Platform BatteriesTransport.org

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    Brussels/Washington D.C., 1 September 2020 – The industry associations for batteries and battery-powered products RECHARGE, EPBA, EUROBAT, PRBA, EBRA, ACEA, MDBTC as well as LEVA-EU announced today the launch of a new information platform for the safe transportation, testing and packaging of battery cells, batteries, and vehicles and equipment containing batteries. With the aim of facilitating access to battery-specific transport information and raising awareness, the eight associations make available free and easy-to-understand content on the requirements as set out by the United Nations, the European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR) and other transport regulations.

    The professional transport of battery-related articles – via air, sea or road – is subject to international, national and regional regulatory frameworks, which include comprehensive administrative and operational measures to ensure the safe transport at all times. The requirements apply to lead-, lithium-, nickel- and sodium-based batteries likewise.

    Transporting an electro-chemical article, as a prototype, final product or waste, means that specific safety measures must be applied. Failing to comply with the obligations is not just a violation of these regulations but a safety risk that our industry is not willing to accept”, said the associations. “Representing a responsible industry, we want to ensure that everyone involved in the transport of our batteries and battery-containing products has access to the applicable requirements”.

    Free of charge, BatteriesTransport.org offers general information for shippers, transport operators and end-users. It also includes frequently asked questions and two dedicated eBooks with all relevant testing, packaging, labeling and reporting instructions per transport mode.

    LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck explains that is quite natural for LEVA-EU to participate in this initiative: “As a professional organization for LEV companies, we are fully focused on assisting our members in the application of all the rules that apply to Light Electric Vehicles. The rules regarding the transport of Li-Ion batteries cover an important chapter in this. A better understanding of the rules gives LEV companies easier access to the market, thereby promoting that market. That in turn contributes to making mobility more sustainable.

    All visitors of BatteriesTransport.org have access to a free on-line version of the eBook on lithium batteries as well as to the FAQ page. LEVA-EU Members have access to the full version of the eBook and can submit specific questions on the transport of Li-Ion batteries to the experts of BatteriesTransport.org.

    BatteriesTransport.org works with some of the most respected experts in the industry to provide information that is clear, comprehensive and updated. The content is revised on a (bi-)annual basis to reflect the regular changes to the regulatory frameworks. Contact [email protected] to support the initiative and help educate on the safe transport of batteries worldwide. Contact [email protected] for further information on LEVA-EU.

  2. EU LEV market continues to grow and flourish

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    The 2019 results for the European light, electric vehicle (LEV) market show a sector that continues to grow and prosper in all its segments. This is largely due to the fact that LEVs are sustainable means of transport, which become more and more popular as a solution to escape congestion, to prevent further damage to our climate and, importantly, a fun way of moving around that has an overall positive impact on public health.

    The Corona-crisis has unexpectedly put that health benefit of LEVs even more in the spotlight. Unfortunately, among policymakers, especially at EU level, there is still a huge lack of awareness as to the potential contribution of LEVs in making transport more sustainable. LEVA-EU works tirelessly to raise that awareness, to encourage policy-makers to design policies and legislation that encourage LEVs as well as to remove the various legal bottlenecks, which continue to seriously hinder the market development and uptake of LEVs.

    Even though there is still a lack of consistent statistical material, LEVA-EU is meticulously gathering statistics from all available sources and has brought these statistics together in one clear document for its members. The main conclusions for 2019 are as follows.

    Electric bicycles

    Total e-bike sales for 2019 currently stand at 2,285 million, which is quite a bit lower than the almost 2.8 million sold in 2018. However, not all member states have published their final 2019 results. The final total is expected to be at least around 3 million.

    The biggest e-bike market is Germany where 1.36 million were sold last year, followed by the Netherlands, 423,000, and Belgium, 238,000. These are also the countries where e-bikes have the highest share in total bike sales, i.e. 31.5%, 42% and 51% respectively.

    The biggest market for speed pedelecs is Belgium with a total of 13,416 last year. Belgium is the only speed pedelec market that constantly grows. This is because Belgium is the only EU member states that has made special provisions to accommodate the speed pedelec in their traffic code (see https://bit.ly/2VVEvUW)

    Electric mopeds

    The biggest market in 2019 for electric mopeds was Belgium, with just about 16,000 registrations, i.e. almost 56% up. In 2019 there was still a subsidy for e-mopeds available, which unfortunately has been abandoned in the meantime. France is the second market with almost 14,000 registrations (+33.5%), followed by the Netherlands with just under 12,500 registrations (+52.6%).

    Finally, we also have a first statistic on the sales of Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEVs) such as e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles, e-monowheels, e-hoverboards and other PLEVs excluded from the L-category. In France, total sales reached more than 605,000 vehicles, that is “only” 5% more than in 2018, but 400% up since 2016.

    For more detailed statistics, please contact Annick Roetynck at LEVA-EU: [email protected], tel. +32 9 233 60 05.

    Photo by Tolu Olarewaju on Unsplash

  3. Average CO2 emissions from new cars and new vans increased again in 2019

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    According to provisional data, published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA), average carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from new passenger cars registered in the European Union (EU), Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom (UK), increased in 2019, for the third consecutive year. The average CO2 emissions from new vans also increased slightly. Zero- and low-emission vehicles must be deployed much faster across Europe to achieve the stricter targets that apply from 2020.

    The EEA has published the provisional data for the average CO2 emissions from new passenger cars and vans registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway and the UK in 2019. The provisional 2019 data on new registrations can be explored through a new EEA data dashboard.

    After a steady decline from 2010 to 2016, by almost 22 grams of CO2 per kilometre (g CO2/km), average emissions from new passenger cars increased in 2017 and in 2018 (by 2.8 g CO2/km in total). According to provisional data, the upward trend continued with an additional increase of 1.6 g CO2/km in 2019, reaching 122.4 grams of CO2 per kilometre. This remains below the target of 130 g CO2/km that applied until 2019 but well above the EU target of 95 g CO2/km that phases-in this year.

    The reasons for the increase in car emissions include the growing share of the sport utility vehicle (SUV) segment. The market penetration of electric cars remained slow in 2019.

    Vans registered in the EU, Iceland, Norway and the UK in 2019 emitted on average 158.4 g CO2/km, which is 0.5 g/km more than in 2018. This remains well below the target of 175 g CO2/km that applied until 2019 but is still 11 g CO2/km higher than the EU target of 147 g CO2/km that applies from  this year on. Several factors affected this emission increase, including an increase in the average mass and only a limited increase of the share of electric vans (BEV sand PHEV) from 0.8 % in 2018 to 1.3% in 2019.

    Further details are here.


    Photo by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash

  4. InclusivEbike project to demonstrate rickshaw e-bikes

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    EIT Urban Mobility is an initiative of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT). Since January 2019, EIT Urban Mobility is working to encourage positive changes in the way people move around cities in order to make them more liveable places. In this framework, EIT Urban Mobility has recently launched EIT a COVID-19 Crisis Response call and has now announced the 10 projects selected under this call.

    One of the 10 is InclusivEbike, which aims at developing and demonstrating a new concept of rickshaw e-bikes to promote safety and comfort by extending inclusiveness to frail and vulnerable people that have seen their mobility and physical activity strongly reduced due to COVID risk associated to transport. Inclusiv_eBike will promote a new era of
    personalised transport capable of achieving inclusion, whilst assuring social distancing, sustainable transport and healthy aging.

    The project partners are Municipality Of Bergamo (Italy), One Less Van (Italy), Bilbao City Hall (Spain), Bosch VHIT (Italy), Nova (Italy), Tecnalia (Spain), Modena Energy And Sustainable Development Agency (Italy). The project budget is € 699,000 and the project runs from 1 July until the end of this year.


  5. E-Bikes Keep Older People More Mobile

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    Dutch Insurance company Univé concludes that e-bikes effectively help to improve the mobility of seniors. Their conclusion is based on CBS data (Dutch organization for statistics) about cycling behavior between 2010 and 2017.

    For the group of 65 years and older, the statistics show that a total of 13.4% have been cycling faster, whereas for the group up to 50 years, the data barely shows any increase of speed. What’s more, the group of people above 78 years have been riding on average 33% more kilometres.

    According to Univé, growth in recorded speed and distance is based on the ever-growing popularity of e-bikes amongst seniors. However, as a result risks on injuries are increasing accordingly.

    In 2019, a total of 420,000 e-bikes have been sold in the Netherlands based on data from RAI and BOVAG. Parallel with the growing e-bike sales, Univé note an increase in the sales of bicycle insurances in 2020. 90% of  the group of 65 years and older insure their e-bike, while this is 50% for the group between 30 and 65 years and only a third for the group younger than 30.

    Etienne de Cooker, director of Univé Schade, acknowledges the benefits of e-bikes. “E-bikes are increasingly easy to use. That allows elderly people to remain independent for their mobility for a longer time and are therefore less reliant on friends and family. Increased speed and less resistance keeps their world big. Moreover, they keep moving. All aspects combined lead to an increased wellbeing and vitality for this age group.

    According to de Cooker, the downside of increased speed and more kilometers is the number of traffic injuries onvolving e-bikes. “Often, these are accidents not involving anyone else. This shows that risks related to higher speed are sometimes underestimated and that potentially risky traffic situations are sometimes 0overlooked.

    2018 traffic safety data by ‘VeiligheidNL’ endorse concerns about traffic safety related to e-bike usage amongst seniors. In the last ten years, cycling accidents requiring A&E intervention have increases by 30% , 40% of these victims in 2018 were 55 years and older. As for the e-bike accidents, 85% of the victims were +55 years.

    According to De Cooker, rather than the e-bike itself being dangerous, risks are more related to the experience of the rider.

    Further details: Univé.

  6. No going back: European public opinion on air pollution in the Covid-19 era

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    Source: T&E – The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown have had a profound impact on mobility and air pollution in Europe. Those living in polluted cities are more at risk from Covid-19, the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) has warned. But with the lifting of its lockdown, air pollution and exceptional traffic have already returned to China. In this context, Transport and Environment (T&E) and the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA) decided to gauge public opinion on air pollution and mobility choices as lockdown measures ease and cities confront a commuter challenge.

    International research data and analytics firm YouGov polled 7,545 adults of varied age, income and gender backgrounds living in 21 of the biggest cities across six countries between 14 and 21 May 2020. Unusually for private polling, cities were chosen because air pollution and mobility change has been most significant there. The survey  shows that an overwhelming majority of European city dwellers want their mayors and local governments to take effective measures against air pollution from road traffic. The main findings are:

    • Roughly two in three people (64%) surveyed do not want to go back to pre-pandemic pollution levels as they experienced good clean air.
    • Three quarters (74%) demand protection from air pollution, even if it means reallocating public space.
    • Two in three (68%) demand protection from air pollution, even if it means preventing polluting cars entering city centres.
    • One in five (21%) plan to cycle more; one in three (35%) to walk more after lockdown.
    • Among people who used public transport before the lockdown, 54% will return to use this mode if sufficient hygiene measures are taken. 27% will return regardless of the risk of contagion.

    The full article is here: https://bit.ly/2XRPOia

    Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash

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

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

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

    Incalcuable consequences

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

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

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

    1,036 pages

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

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

    Saddle = moped

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

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

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

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

    Highly dangerous

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

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

    4.2 million deaths a year

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

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

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

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

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

  8. Insync Bikes welcomes Prime Minister’s ‘golden age of cycling’ prediction for life post-lockdown

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    Manchester-based LEVA-EU member Insync Bikes has welcomed Boris Johnson’s prediction that cycling will experience a golden age once lockdown ends.

    The Prime Minister made the comments during Prime Ministers Questions on Wednesday when he said a crucial part of the success in helping life return to normal would be getting transport to run safely.

    He told Parliament: “There will be a huge amount of planning going into helping people to get to work other than by mass transit. This should be a new golden age for cycling.

    The comments have been welcomed by Insync Bikes, owned by India’s Hero Cycles, which, says it is seeing strong sales of family range of bikes as cycling fell under the government’s list of permitted daily activities.

    Eddie Eccleston, Insync Bikes’ head of European Operations, said: “We are heartened to hear the Prime Minister’s prediction that the boom period the sport is experiencing will continue as the UK starts to rebuild itself. Insync has long championed cycling as a force for good and so we are delighted to have watched people of all ages embracing cycling during the last six weeks.

    Cycling is proven to boost the immune system and improve sensitivity to vaccines, as well as strengthening physical health. There are also huge benefits to mental wellbeing, which is a priority during such difficult times. We look forward to seeing the growth of cycling as a means of transport when more people begin to return to the workplace.

    With an increase in cycling expected, Insync called on local authorities to do more to support safer cycling in towns and cities across the UK. In Greater Manchester, where Insync’s Hero Global Design Centre is based, plans for a £1.5 billion Bee Network include 1,800 miles of protected space across the city region, which are expected to lead to a 350 per cent increase in cycling.

    Eddie said: “It is encouraging to hear of the value local authorities are placing on cycling and we would urge others to go the extra mile to make it easier and safer for people of all ages to get into riding.

    Insync said e-bikes will also have a role to play in getting more people commuting, giving the physical benefits of a regular bike but with an extra push to allow riders to arrive at work sweat free and with more energy for the day ahead.

    The business is also backing a package of measures presented to the government by the Bicycle Association, which include:

    • Funding, guidance and leadership for local authorities so that they can make changes to their local roads to enable people to cycle safely from home to work and to other destinations such as high street shops. This includes extensive networks of ‘pop-up’ bike lanes, closing roads to through car traffic, and reallocation of road lanes to create space for cycling.
    • A zero VAT ‘holiday’ for all bikes, e-bikes, and cycle repairs.
    • A short-term £250 per bike purchase grant to promote e-bikes.
    • A £50 per customer voucher scheme for repairs.
    • Extending the Cycle to Work scheme.
    • Adult refresher cycle training across the country.
    • Funding and planning easements to help employers provide secure cycle parking for their workers.
  9. Italy’s Change to More Active Forms of Mobility

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    The Italian government is considering financial support for more sustainable forms of mobility, now that ‘’phase 2’’ in combatting Corona is underway. Although the decree is still not formalized, new infrastructure for (electric) cycling, e-scooters etc. is being considered as well.

    The ministry of transport is discussing ideas to change mobility, especially in urban areas. Since using public transportation in times of Corona is problematic, several ideas are on the table. The focus is on purchase subsidies of €200 for (electric) bicycles, e-scooters, e-hoverboards as well as on new infrastructure and the official inclusion of cycle paths in Italy’s traffic code, ‘’Codice Della Strada’’.

    Another objective is to get more people ready for zero-emission mobility vehicles, which also may help to combat air pollution, a problem that many Italian and European cities in general were already facing before Covid-19.

    Read more @gazzetta.it or find information at the Ministry of Transport.

    Interested what is happening else in Italy? See for example the plans of Milan’s counselor of mobility Marco Granelli, which resulted in 35 km of new cycle paths around the city. Bologna is speeding up the expansion of its bicycle infrastructure network. Capital city Rome considers the implementation of what they call ‘’soft mobility’’ forms like cycling. Torino wants to promote more active and sustainable forms of mobility.

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