The Brussels-based European Twowheel Retailers' Association (ETRA) requested the European Commission (EC) to double the maximum engine power of pedelecs to 500 Watt and allow two new types of mopeds, writes Christoffel Volschenk.
On 30 September the Brussels-based European Twowheel Retailers' Association (ETRA) has submitted to the European Commission (EC) a motivated proposal to double the maximum engine power of pedelecs to 500 Watt.
This was necessary, because "existing regulations governing pedal-assisted bicycles (pedelecs), electric bikes and electric mopeds prevent the market from developing to its full potential" and "the regulations are no longer up to date", ETRA said.
ETRA submitted the request on behalf of the European e-bike industry following a number of meetings in Europe and the US in September, where e-bike manufacturers worked out a consensus position.
The US and Canadian e-bike industries met in Las Vegas on 25 September, where they agreed to call for a doubling of engine power to 500 Watt and an increase of maximum speed from 25 km/h to 32 km/h. But, the industry in Europe decided to limit their request to an increase in engine power to 500 Watt only.
Currently, a pedelec is defined as "...a cycle with pedal assistance equipped with an auxiliary electric motor with a maximum, continuous, rated power of 250 Watt, of which the output is progressively reduced and finally cut off when the vehicle reaches a speed of 25 km/h, or sooner, if the cyclist stops pedalling."
The industry proposed the definition of a pedelec be changed to "a cycle with pedal assistance equipped with one or more auxiliary electric motors with a combined maximum, continuous, rated power of 500 Watt, of which the output is cut off as the vehicle reaches a speed of 25 km/h, or sooner, if the cyclist stops pedalling. Such cycles shall not be considered to be motor vehicles."
The industry motivated its request as follows: "We believe these modifications are necessary to prevent legislation from obstructing innovation, technical development, diversification and competition.
"The European market for electric bicycles and light electric mopeds is booming. In 2008, in Holland almost 140,000 electric bikes were sold at an average retail price of €1,900, which amounted to 33% of total new bike sales in Holland. In Germany, the market is still relatively small: 100,000 units were sold in 2008, for a 2.5% share of total sales value. However, sales are growing rapidly. In 2007 sales were 62.5% higher than in 2006, in 2008 54% higher than in 2007 and in 2009 sales are forecast to end up 20% over 2008.
"We expect the trends unfolding in Holland and Germany to be repeated in the rest of the European Union in the next few years," according to the industry document.
The industry also suggested that two new sub-types be created: For cycles with pedal assistance not excluded from the type-approval, ETRA proposes the following definition: “Cycles with pedal assistance which are equipped with one or more auxiliary electric motors having a combined maximum continuous rated power not exceeding 1 kilowatts, of which the output is cut off as the vehicle reaches a speed of 45 km/h, or sooner, if the cyclist stops pedalling.”
ETRA also propose a new category for open throttle electric cycles and for low-performance mopeds, defined as follows: “Cycles and mopeds with one or more electrics motor of combined power not exceeding 1 kW and a maximum design speed not exceeding 25 km/h.”
To date 35 European manufacturers have expressed their support for the legislative change as requested by ETRA. The organization requested all manufacturers who have not yet expressed their written support, to get in contact with ETRA.
Summary on the kick-off meeting at Eurobike
More on the 2nd meeting in Brussels
Last updated: 14 October 2009