New European standard in 2016 to Ensure reliability of personal electric vehicles

Source: AFNOR – At the initiative of France, a voluntary standard will provide safety requirements for personal light electric vehicles (PLEV) in 2016. A framework dealing with their use will also be developed for these new modes of urban mobility.

After the electronically power assisted cycles (EPAC), now light electric vehicles (electric scooters) and selfbalancing vehicles (including single wheel transporters) are attracting the interest of consumers wanting to try alternative modes of urban transport. These personal light electric vehicles are however put on the market without prior harmonized test methods based on shared methods. European Directives do indeed exist1, but they don’t provide any specific requirements for these machines, nor do they prevent the sale of badly performing or even hazardous products. “Decathlon contacted us as early as 2013 to share this situation with us: the absence of any specific technical standard means that each manufacturer tests its products based on its own criteria. The safety and performance guarantees displayed are therefore of limited value…,” explains Emmanuel Husson, head of this AFNOR standard developmentproject and secretary of the European working group. “This French manufacturer has adopted a proactive approach by opting for standardization. It has agreed to share its test protocol as a basis for the work on the future European standard. ”

Anticipating regulation

This is indeed one of the levers for standards development. It enables market players, in all their diversity, to adopt a selfregulation approach. With this voluntary standard, manufacturers are at the forefront of regulatory initiatives. Honda (via its Belgian subsidiary), Toyota (through its French presence), Egret (Germany), LTrott (France) and Trikke (Netherlands – participant in AVERE LEV-TF) have properly understood this and are actively involved in the work. Representatives of public authorities (including the DGCCRF for France Directorate General for Competition Policy, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control) and consumers (ANEC) are also present. “These entities have very high safety requirements,” adds Emmanuel Husson.

Product safety and usage conditions

The future European standard will cover light electric vehicles without seats and selfbalancing vehicles, with or without seats, intended primarily for the transportation of one person in urban environment. This standard excludes applications coming under the health field (covered by EN ISO 13482).A technical part will propose methods for testing the vehicle’s mechanical and electrical components. Tests on brakes, tyres, battery, handlebar, robustness of the footrest, etc. All aspects of the vehicle will be covered to ensure a minimum safety level and limit main hazards. Regarding the use, the voluntary standard will exclude vehicles having a maximum speed above 25 Km/h. Included are machines designed to be used in public as well as private spaces, for instance in airports, libraries or large organizations, etc. In public spaces, they are already permitted on cycle tracks and sidewalks at a maximum speed of 6 km/h. “Due to the permitted tolerance, members of the working group have anticipated a possible future regulation with the addition of a specific button to switch to pedestrian mode,” mentions Emmanuel Husson. He continues: “The vast majority of manufacturers already offer a speed regulation system that could be useful if future legislation imposes a speed limit to be respected.”

The future voluntary standard will be proposed in a public enquiry in the first quarter of 2016, prior to publication in the course of the year.

And the Asian market?

“Competition between Europe and Asia is fierce, of course,” says Emmanuel. Chinese manufacturers tend to adopt a very aggressive strategy and offer products at much lower prices. “According to their European competitors, they do not offer adequate safety guarantees.” An initiative at ISO level to have an international standard should therefore not be dismissed.


On Tuesday 12 April & Wednesday 13 April, Amsterdam will host the AVERE e-Mobility Conference 2016, which will present the current state of affairs in the field of Electro mobility, as well as a perspective on the future including policy making, and industrial and scientific developments.

The conferences and presentations will be inspirational, demonstrating best practices and visionary approaches by countries, cities and companies. Science, business and government are working together at every level – to accelerate the growth of electric driving and to capitalise on its economic opportunities.

During the AEC conference, we will develop a shared vision of a European future for e-mobility and formulate a recommendation to the Environment Council on Green Mobility, who will meet the next day. We welcome decision makers, CEOs and scientists from all fields and disciplines to be inspired at AEC 2016.

AVERE looks forward to welcoming 500+ innovators from all over Europe. More information on


European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO) to go online soon

Last year, AVERE won the European Commission tender to develop and manage the European Alternative Fuels Observatory (EAFO). AVERE, the European Association for Electromobility is coordinator and lead partner of this project. The other consortium partners are Polis,  a network of European cities and regions cooperating for innovative transport solutions, VUB and TNO as research and analysis partners and Tobania as IT provider.

With the EAFO, the European Commission seeks to establish one central point of reference for data, information and news about alternative fuels in Europe, The short-term focus is on battery electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles while natural gas and other alternative fuels will also be covered in a second stage.

The Observatory will help support the market development of alternative fuels in the EU and be a key tool for the implementation of Directive  2014/94/EU on the deployment of recharging and refueling stations.

The Observatory will integrate all relevant statistical data concerning vehicles and infrastructure, relevant legislation, support and incentives programmes, periodical analyses and general information like news and publications. It will also feature a comprehensive event calendar. The EAFO will also deal with L-category vehicles (LEVs), such as electric bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, quadricycles and other LEVs.

The web portal will go online no later than February 2016 and will be updated on a montly basis. Interested parties can already register at to receive a notification when the portal goes online and to receive newsletters


Maltese Bicycling Advocacy Group wants governments New Year’s resolution on pedelecs

Local active transportation NGO the Bicycling Advocacy Group are asking the government to revise the policy on the restrictions on pedelecs such as registration and the mandatory helmets rule or else advise what action they will be taking to address the continued fall in ridership in the new year.  

The group noted that in 2014 even Italy, one of the poorest performers in pedelecs and one of the European stragglers increased sales by 3%, yet Malta registered a drop of 13% of pedelecs seen on the road in the same year, almost 85% behind the EU’ s leaders like Germany. That coincided with announcements of registration and mandatory helmets for pedelecs in Malta, something unheard of in other EU states.

That downturn hasn’t been reversed in 2015 by the current VAT measures, with pedelec utilization falling a further 0.39%, according to the group’s recent National Bicycle Count figures. That downward trend can only get worse with the introduction of easier licensing to encourage the use of low capacity motorcycles, some of which can be as cheap to buy as a pedelec.

‘We understand that it is vitally important for Malta to make 125cc motorcycles more attractive to reduce parking overload and car congestion, but in levelling the playing field, with what is essentially a bicycle in every other EU state and EU law, pedelecs are being delivered yet another body blow. Pedelec owners and businesses selling them deserve some pretty responsible answers, under the circumstances.’ The group’s PRO Jim Wightman said. The group are asking the government to make it easier to use an environmentally friendly 250 watt pedelec that keeps people healthy and active, doesn’t pollute and is as much as 43 times less powerful than the proposed 125cc scooters on offer.

Those answers need to be made before the 1st of January when the scooter law comes into being. The easiest way is to start treating them as simple bicycles.