BRUSSELS, Belgium - In 2011, the European Parliament and Council adopted a recast of the Directive on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. Without any consultation with the electric bicycle sector, the European institutions included those electric bikes that were excluded from the type-approval into this new Directive.
In other words, as it stands today, as of 2 January 2013 all pedal assisted bicycles with assistance up to 25 km/h and a motor output up to 250 W will have to comply with RoHS II.
E-bikes have to comply with
This means that manufacturers would have to ensure and, if asked, prove that no Lead, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, Polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) and Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) have been used, not only in the electrical and electronic components but also in no other vehicle component. Consequently, as of January 2, 2013, the CE-mark could only be affixed to pedelecs which are as a whole in compliance with the Machinery, EMC as well as RoHS II-Directive.
After the publication of the Directive in the Official Journal in July 2011, the Commission asked an external consultant to carry out an impact assessment. For that purpose, 17 product groups were selected, among which pedelecs not subject to the type-approval.
ETRA argued strongly against inclusion of e-bikes
From the start of the impact assessment, ETRA provided the consultant with as much useful information as possible. ETRA also argued strongly against the inclusion of pedelecs in RoHS II. The European trade association pointed out that the occurrence of RoHS substances in electric bicycles was negligible. Consequently, the inclusion of electric bikes in the RoHS II-Directive would not contribute to reaching the objectives of the Directive and has therefore no beneficial impact.
On the other hand however, inclusion would have a negative impact on costs and administrative burden. Vehicle manufacturers would have to ensure and collect proof of the fact that the relevant hazardous substances are not used in any of the vehicle components. ETRA argued that point especially in light of the fact that the overall majority of companies in the electric bike sector are SME’s.
Internal market could benefit
The consultant has now published a draft fact sheet on electric bicycles. The general conclusions in this fact sheet are as follows, “Overall, the inclusion of electric bicycles in the scope of RoHS II is expected to have very limited impacts, whether that is in environmental, economic or social terms. While the internal market could benefit from the inclusion, the electric bicycle manufacturers will face additional compliance costs and administrative burdens.”
Consequently, the consultant will advise the Commission to exclude pedelecs from the RoHS II-Directive. If the Commission follows up on that recommendation, only electrical and electronic parts of pedelecs will have to comply as was the case under RoHS I.
ETRA Secretary General Annick Roetynck welcomed the recommendation for exclusion and stated, “In November 2011, the Commission announced a number of initiatives to reduce the regulatory burden for small businesses. ETRA believes that the intended exclusion of electric bicycles from RoHS II is a good example of that new policy put into practice and is also fully in line with the Small Business Act.” Previous news items on the Directive 2011/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of June 8, 2011 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment can be found at www.bike-eu.com.
The Directive 2011/65/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2011 on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment is here.
The draft factsheet on electric bicycles in the framework of the assessment of the impact of the above Directive is here.