Light Electric Personal Transport Vehicles
Over the past few years, a new breed of light weight electric vehicles has emerged.
This is driven by concerns over the environmental impact of our current transport solutions. The terms used, to describe these new vehicles, are also evolving.
Terms such as pedelec, electric scooter or e-bike mean different things to different people.
Because the rules are playing catch up with the speed of innovation in this area: The regulations around the use of these vehicles are being updated. Since many types of vehicles are novel. New regulations are also needed to cover these vehicle categories.
This is a snapshot of the current situation, and the likely overall direction the regulations will go.
There are basically two main pieces of relevant European legislation. So they govern the use of personal transport vehicles:
Machinery Directive: 2006/42/EC
Electrically power assisted cycles: EN 15194:2017
Like many written regulations. They’re not easy reading. But the short version is:
Pedelec — No “Type Approval” necessary.
Across EU, Pedelecs are the same as bicycles under the regulations.
- Pedal Assist: The motor will only assist when you pedal. If you stop pedalling, the motor stops.
- Motor power must be less than or equal to 250 Watts.
- The Motor will provide assistance up to 25 Kph. – So at higher speeds, you’re on human power alone.
- Legal for road and cycle path use in the EU.
Motor Propelled Vehicle — “Type Approval” is necessary.
MPVs are the same motorcycles under the regulations.
- Controlled by a throttle: The throttle position sets the motor speed accordingly.
- Up to 4000 watt motor power.
- Motor will provide assistance with or without speed limits.
Recommended Further Information: European Cyclists Federation Presentation
Recently Proposed Irish Electric Scooter Draft Regulation Delayed to 2023
In late October 2021, a new road traffic bill started the process of being passed into law. If passed, it will soon make electric scooters and “Throttle controlled” e-bikes legal to use on Irish roads.
This draft legislation could become law by early 2022. Until then, only off road use is legal.
The proposed regulation will still include certain restrictions.
- ‘Powered Personal Transporters’ may not be used by anyone under 16 years old.
- The motor power is less than or equal to 250 watts.
- The electric motor will provide assistance up to the 25 kph speed limit.
According to the currently proposed set of laws: Higher-speed and more powerful electric vehicles will continue to be classified as motor-propelled vehicles, i.e. motorbikes. In effect: Making them illegal to use on cycle paths and subject to licensing, insurance and annual testing requirements on the road..
References: RTE News
Government to delay introduction of escooter regulation