GAND/BRUSSELS, Belgium - In response to reports on the two incidents with electric bicycles at the Belgian postal services, the European associations ETRA and RECHARGE made a clear statement that "e-bikes are safe vehicles".
In a common announcement ETRA, the European trade association for bicycle and motorcycle dealers, and RECHARGE, the European Association for Rechargeable Batteries, emphasized that electric bicycles are not dangerous per se. The ETRA said, “problems only arise if manufacturers do not respect the legal rules relating to production and transport due to a lack of information or a lack of professional integrity. The vast majority of electric bicycle manufacturers do observe these rules.”
“Most of the electric bicycles currently on the market are equipped with Lithium-Ion batteries. Electric bicycle manufacturers buy their batteries from specialized battery manufacturers. Li-Ion batteries for electric bicycles may only be transported if they have been tested according to standard procedures regulated under the United Nations Model Regulation on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. These tests aim at ensuring that the battery does not react under normal and severe mechanical and electrical damage conditions.”
One of the major risks involved in the transport of batteries and equipment with batteries is short-circuiting of the battery as a result of the battery terminals coming into contact with other batteries, metal objects, or conductive surfaces. Therefore, their transport has to comply with very strict rules, which are harmonized at international level. At the same time, these rules guarantee a safe battery.
Moreover it is essential that Li-Ion batteries are charged with the special charger which is recommended by the manufacturer. The use of an inappropriate charger will result in damage to the battery.
RECHARGE, the European Association for Rechargeable Batteries reminds companies purchasing Lithium-ion batteries and Lithium-Ion batteries contained in equipment that these batteries need to successfully pass stringent safety tests before being transported and installed in equipment in accordance with the UN Model regulation on the Transport of Dangerous Goods. The respect of these safety procedures is critical for the safe use of these batteries in an application such as an electric bicycle.
Purchasers of Li-Ion batteries and of equipment with Li-Ion batteries installed need to request from their suppliers a certificate of conformity showing that these batteries have successfully passed the UN safety tests.
Both ETRA and RECHARGE inform manufacturers, dealers and consumers about the rules that apply to electric bicycles and batteries. The organizations hope that this may help to reduce technical risks linked to electric bicycles to a minimum and to contribute to the general quality level of the electric bicycle fleet.
Beside the above-mentioned UN-regulations there are also technical regulations for electric bicycles. Bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and a motor output up to 250W have to comply with the safety regulations in the European Machine Directive (2006/42/EC) and the EMC-Directive (2004/108/EC). In this framework an EC Declaration of Conformity must be provided with the electric bicycle, the content of which can be found in the Directive.
Finally the electric bicycle must carry the CE marking as shown below. This mark must be affixed to the electric bicycle next to the name of the manufacturer or his representative. However, the CE marking can only be used if the electric bicycle complies with both the EMC and Machinery Directive.
Bicycles with pedal assistance up to 25 km/h and/or with a motor output of more than 250W, as well as bicycles with an auxiliary motor, which can propel the bicycle without the cyclist pedaling, are subject to the European type- approval for mopeds and motorcycles (2002/24/EC) and must be accompanied by a Certificate of Conformity.
ETRA advises consumers to purchase their electric bicycle from established dealers who provide the bicycle with the correct charger, the required documents and guarantees and who have a well-developed after sales service.
All further information on the legal regulations concerning electric bicycles can be obtained from ETRA, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, www.etra-eu.com.