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Electric Bike Industry Targeted for New Regulations

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The e-Bike industry in Europe as well as in China is targeted by governments to comply with new regulations. In Europe the discussion is currently on the Machine Directive and whether e-Bikes should comply with that standard. In China the government has restated its standards

Electric Bike Industry Targeted for New Regulations

BRUSSELS, Belgium – The e-Bike industry in Europe as well as in China is targeted by governments to comply with new regulations. In Europe the discussion is currently on the Machine Directive and whether e-Bikes should comply with that standard. In China the government has restated its standards for classifying electric bicycles.

Bike Europe reported in last week’s Newsletter on the December 8 meeting of the European Commission’s working group “Machinery” which had electric bicycles on the agenda. Just 21 days before the new Machinery Directive enters into force, the working group discussed whether the Directive also applies to electric pedal assisted bicycles with a motor output of maximum 250 W and assistance up to 25 km/h.

Yesterday and today there’s a CEN TC 333 meeting taking place in Milan with the issue concerning the Machine Directive on the agenda. The opinion of this Technical Committee, chaired by Siegfried Neuberger from German Industry Association ZIV which also took charge of the EPAC EN 15194 standard for electric bicycles, is that e-Bikes are not to comply with the Machine Directive. The committee will convey its opinion in its dialog with the European Commission.

In China the central government has restated its standards for classifying electric bicycles, raising fears that the rapidly expanding industry could be hit hard.

China has classified e-bikes that weigh over 40 kg or can go faster than 20 km (12.4 miles) per hour as electric motorbikes, a document posted on Sunday on the Standardisation Administration website said, restating 10-year old standards. (www.sac.gov.cn)

In China, motorcyclists must get driving licences and insurance, while e-Bikers until now have not been subject to these costly requirements. "The development of the industry will be limited," said a sales manager at a large e-bike battery maker in Zhejiang province. "(The standards) do not meet consumers’ requirements."

China’s produced about 21 million e-bikes in 2008 and 20 million units in 2007, figures from the China Bicycles Association show. Monthly production stood at about 1.75 million units on average based on last year’s output. China has about 120 million e-Bikes currently.

Electric bike makers said most bikes already weighed more than 40 kg and could go faster than 20 kph. The new rules would hit their business badly as they expected demand to fall, state-owned TV.com said in an recent English report.

UPDATE: the announcement to restate the standards for classifying e-bike met a lot of protest of local manufacturers in China. Therefore the central government in Beijing has decided to postpone the new standards until futher notice.

 

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