Trade association LEVA-EU, the voice of the light electric vehicle sector, has laid out in full and presented to the European Commission, its proposals for a new legal classification of light electric vehicles. The organisation has also called for better representation for Zero Tailpipe Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), the new concept of vehicles it has proposed, in a bid to remove legal bottlenecks it says are blighting the industry.
LEVA-EU defines a Zero Tailpipe Emission Vehicle as "a powered vehicle equipped with a motor that does not produce harmful tailpipe emissions". Today, these vehicles are subject to European legislation, Regulation 168/2013, that was originally designed for petrol engine mopeds and motorcycles, or to the Machinery Directive aimed at machines with the exclusion of vehicles.
LEVA-EU proposes to add an article to Regulation 168/2013, excluding ZEVs with a maximum design speed not exceeding 50 km/h and to also exclude all ZEVs from the Machinery Directive. As a result, this simple legal intervention would exclude all types of electric cycles, cargo-cycles, e-scooters, monowheels, e-hoverboards, self-balancing vehicles and any other Zero Tailpipe Emission Vehicle not yet mentioned explicitly in law today, from the current legal framework, which is totally inappropriate and inaccurate. For further information see the IDTechEx report on Electric Two-wheelers 2021-2041.
Instead, LEVA-EU proposes to transfer ZEVs into a new horizontal Vehicle Regulation. This European law would specify essential safety requirements, to be complemented with harmonised standards and possibly, for certain ZEV-categories, type-approval procedures. In any case, LEVA-EU believes that the form of the legislative framework needs to be decided in consultation with the ZEV-sector. The measures, which also include a new way to regulate speed and a simple categorisation based on speed and weight only, are detailed in a position paper the body has submitted to the European Commission.
LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck said bringing in the concept of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) would finally set them apart from vehicles such as petrol engine motorbikes and mopeds, when it comes to the lengthy, inaccurate legislation manufacturers must navigate.
She said: "The ZEV concept covers all light, electric vehicles and allows for much simpler, more accurate and future-proof rules. LEVA-EU has also submitted the paper to TRL in the framework of their ongoing study for the European Commission, into possible legislative reviews for the benefit of ZEVs. They will complete their study this month. LEVA-EU insists that speed and weight limits must be set in consultation with the ZEV sector. Because the voice of the sector is drowned out by the voice of parties who consider ZEVs an existential threat, from which they must protect their business, the Commission has not yet entered into an in-depth dialogue with the sector. LEVA-EU calls on the Commission to no longer postpone that consultation."
In the document, LEVA-EU also calls for all infrastructure, such as cycle paths, cycle streets, cycle highways and cycle parking, to be renamed as ZEV infrastructure. Traffic signs, it says, should also reflect ZEVs, a measure it believes would improve cyclists' and motorists' perception of ZEVs. Current regulations class most light electric vehicles in the same category as petrol engine mopeds and motorbikes. This law, Regulation 168/2013, leaves manufacturers forced to navigate complicated and costly procedures, and presents considerable safety issues for riders.
LEVA-EU's proposal for new legislation is based on kinetic energy, stating it believes that vehicles with the same kinetic energy must be subject to similar rules.
As an example, a pedal assisted bike 25 km/h - 250W develops exactly the same kinetic energy as that same vehicle with, for instance, 300W. However, the first is excluded from type-approval, comes under the Machinery Directive and has the same status as a conventional bicycle in all EU member states. The 300W edition is an L1e-A, needs type-approval and does not have a clear status in most member states. The first one is selling by the millions, the second one is virtually non-existing.
For any further details, please contact Annick Roetynck, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Established in 2017, LEVA-EU is the only trade association in Europe to work exclusively for Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs). The Light Electric Vehicle Association in Europe (LEVA-EU) represents the strategic interests of light electric vehicle retailers, dealers, distributors, manufacturers and suppliers to promote the development, sale, and use of LEVs in the EU. The organization aims at raising awareness and promoting the European LEV-sector vis-à-vis the European Institutions. LEVA-EU has over 50 members in 8 EU member states as well as in China, Korea, Norway, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the UK.