News Article

ETRA and EU Commission Compromise on E-bikes

Laws & Regulations

GAND, Belgium – The European Commission and ETRA have reached a compromise on the e-bike power limitation which no longer blocks market entry for different types of electric bicycles.

ETRA and EU Commission Compromise on E-bikes
We convinced the Commission to include testing of frames and forks in the new type approval regulation for e-bikes,’ says ETRA Secretary General Annick Roetynck. – Photo Bike Europe

In the past months, the European Commission has been negotiating with the member states and stakeholders on the functional safety requirements in the type-approval of e-bikes. These requirements are now laid down in the first delegated act, in short the RVFSR. The Commission is expected to formally adopt that delegated act in the near future. Upon that the act will be sent to Parliament and Council who have a few months’ time to either agree with or reject the text.

Testing frame and forks

“In these negotiations we have fought very hard for the inclusion of adapted requirements for electric cycles”, explains Annick Roetynck. Secretary General of ETRA. “As the requirements were originally developed for mopeds and motorcycles, some were totally unsuitable for electric cycles. On the other hand, one essential requirement to ensure the safety of electric cycles, i.e. tests of frames and forks, was missing from the text.”

“We succeeded in obtaining quite a number of adapted requirements, for instance in the field of the tyres, brakes, lights and audible warning devices. We also convinced the Commission to include testing of frames and forks.”

Addition Factor 4

“In the course of the negotiations however, the Commission added further power limitations for electric cycles in the belief that the only type of electric bike subject to type-approval was speed pedelecs, i.e. pedal assisted bicycles with assistance up to 45 km/h for sportive use.”

“We convinced the Commission that speed pedelecs were not the only type of electric cycles in type-approval. Electric cargo bikes or open throttle electric cycles for instance are just as well subject to the regulation. The power limitations introduced by the Commission were unsuitable for these types, so much so that the limitations would prevent them from entering the market. The Commission tried to remedy the situation by abandoning all the power limitations but one: the auxiliary propulsion power should not be more than 4 times the actual pedal power.”

Lack of evidence

“We continued to object against the remaining limitation for 2 reasons. Open throttle electric cycles could technically not comply with the factor 4 requirement and would therefore be prevented from entering the market. Moreover, the Commission did not give any evidence that factor 4 was necessary to ensure the safety of pedal assisted bicycles.”

“Following a long discussion ETRA and the Commission reached a compromise. ETRA was prepared to accept factor 4 for the time being, on condition that the Commission stated in the delegated act the possibility of reviewing factor 4. The Commission has now added the following recital to the delegated act: “The limitation to “four” of the ratio of auxiliary propulsion power and actual pedal power for cycles designed to pedal set out in Annex XIX should be subject to further scientific research and assessment. Upon availability of scientific data and statistics on vehicles placed on the market, the ratio “four” referred to above may be revised in a future revision of this Regulation.”

“Furthermore, the Commission explicitly stated that open throttle bicycles up to 25 km/h would be classified as L1e-A vehicles. Before this statement, the Commission had indicated that L1e-A was meant for pedal assisted cycles 25 km/h up to 1 kW only. Categorization of open throttle bicycles as L1e-A not only frees these vehicles from factor 4 but also results in additional benefits. The vehicles will enjoy all adapted requirements for electric cycles as well as exclusion from a few additional requirements, i.e. mirrors and driver-operated controls (including identification of controls, tell-tales and indicators).”

Battle continues

“We are pleased with this outcome”, states ETRA Secretary General Annick Roetynck. “Our battle in this case has always been for the interest of 2Wheel dealers. We believe that there is a huge potential for electric mobility, since combustion engine cars in urban areas must be halved by 2030 and completely banned in 2050.”

“The battle is not over yet. We is currently negotiating with the Commission on the second delegated act, laying down the construction requirements, the RVCR.”