News Article

New Whitepaper: E-MTBs Excluded from Type-Approval

Laws & Regulations

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Yesterday this trade journal launched its new Whitepaper: “Rules and regulations on electric cycles in the EU.” It digs deep into the type approval laws that went into force January 1, 2017 as well as into all CEN standards for e-bikes, the applicable EU Directives as well as terms of use. One of the striking facts deriving from the new Whitepaper is that e-MTBs are excluded from type approval.

New Whitepaper: E-MTBs Excluded from Type-Approval

That electric Mountainbikes are excluded from the type approval legislation that came into force January 1, 2017, has some profound consequences. It means as much as that there’s no limit to maximum speed or (electric) motor power for e-bikes as long as they are ‘intended’ for off-road use. While speed e-bikes (categorized in the type approval legislation as L1e-B ‘mopeds’) have a maximum power limited to 4kW and a maximum speed of 45km/h, such limitations do not apply to e-MTBs; the e-bike model that nowadays is rapidly growing in popularity.

No limitations for legal road-access

That electric Mountainbikes are excluded from the type-approval and with that have no limitations on specifications for legal road-access, has to do with what’s in the type approval regulations. In particular on what is said on the type approval scope. The EU regulations quoted in Bike Europe’s White Paper state: “In principle, all electric cycles with two, three or four wheels come under the type-approval as set out in Regulation 168/2013, the three supplementing, technical Regulations and the implementing, administrative Regulation. However, article 2 of Regulation 168/2013 excludes the following categories of electric cycles from type-approval:

(d) vehicles exclusively intended for use in competition;
(g) vehicles primarily intended for off-road use and designed to travel on unpaved surfaces;
(h) pedal cycles with pedal assistance which are equipped with an auxiliary electric motor having a maximum continuous rated power of less than or equal to 250 W, where the output of the motor is cut off when the cyclist stops pedalling and is otherwise progressively reduced and finally cut off before the vehicle speed reaches 25 km/h.”

Triggering abuse?

What is interesting here is that electric bikes ‘exclusively’ used in race competitions and equipped with electric motors with a maximum power of over 250W and over 25km/h maximum speed do not have to be type approved. For e-MTBs that word exclusively is not used. Here it says “vehicles primarily intended for off-road use and designed to travel on unpaved surfaces.” This means that e-MTBs with over 250W motors capable of (supported) speeds of over 25km/h fitted with knobby tyres as well as stickers stating “off-road” are excludes from the costly type approval procedures.

To what extent this will trigger abuse in the near future remains at this moment the question.

Read the full whitepaper here

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