News Article

Alternative Fuels Directive Includes (S)-Pedelecs

Laws & Regulations

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Directive 2014/94/EU on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure was recently published in the European Official Journal. The new law is part of the Clean Power for Transport Package, a set of EU measures aimed at speeding up the market take-up of electricity, hydrogen, biofuel, natural gas, LPG, etc.

Alternative Fuels Directive Includes (S)-Pedelecs
The new Directive includes L-category vehicles; electric powered 2, 3 or 4-wheeled vehicles and (speed) pedelecs. – Photo Bike Europe

European transport still depends for 94% on oil, 84% of which is being imported. The cost is € 1 billion per day, environmental costs not included.

Bridge too far

As for electricity, the European Commission originally wanted to impose a specific number of charging points on the member states, but that proved a bridge too far. The Directive has been watered down and now only holds minimum requirements for the building-up of alternative fuels infrastructure to be implemented by means of national policy frameworks. The Directive also provides for harmonised technical specifications for charging infrastructure as well as for user information requirements.

Publicly accessible charging points

By end 2016, all member states must submit their plan for the development of the alternative fuels market to the European Commission. The plan must among other things specify national targets and objectives for public charging points. By end 2020 “an appropriate number” of publicly accessible charging points should be available.

As for the information requirements, all vehicles put on the market after 18 November 2016 must have a manual listing the points where the vehicles can be recharged. This information must also be made available through the charging points and through the dealers.

L-category vehicles

Originally, the Directive was only going to apply to M- and N-category vehicles. It was the former European trade association ETRA, through the ‘Platform for the Electrification of Surface Transport’, which convinced the policymakers to include L-category vehicles among which electric bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, etc. L-category vehicles are electric powered 2, 3 or 4-wheeled vehicles and (speed) pedelecs.

European standards for recharging points

The intention was to have all public charging points equipped with a power point for a household plug. However, it proved not possible to refer in a Directive to something for which no European standard exists. That is why Article 4.13 of the Directive now stipulates that, “The appropriate standardisation organisations will develop European standards containing detailed technical specifications for recharging points for L-category motor vehicles”. Once these are completed, member states will have to provide for public charging infrastructure that complies with the standards.

The Commission’s website on the Clean Power for Transport Package is here

The text of the Directive is here

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