LEVA-EU believes the proposal violates EU law. LEVA-EU is the professional association for companies in the light, electric vehicle sector.
What is the proposal?
The (outgoing) Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management has submitted a proposal to the Dutch Parliament to introduce specific Dutch requirements. Probably the reason for this proposal can be traced back to a fatal accident that took place September 20, 2018. Four young children were killed in an accident with a so-called Stint. After extensive investigation by the NFI, an inspection SZW and investigation by the OM, the conclusion is that the driver of the vehicle is not responsible for the fatal accident. This may have been the reason for the proposal for specific Dutch requirements.
The motion relates to electric carrier bicycles, electric scooters and self-balancing vehicles with steering wheels. Self-balancing vehicles without steering wheels (monowheels, electric skateboards, etc.) will simply remain prohibited on public roads.
The plan identifies 4 categories:
- 1a) e-(cargo) bikes lighter than 55 kilograms;
- 1b) all other LEVs lighter than 55 kilograms;
- 2a) freight LEVs that are heavier than 55 kilograms;
- 2b) LEVs for passenger transport that are heavier than 55 kilograms.
For each category, the proposal includes requirements
- for approval and supervision;
- for admission to the road; and
- for use on the road.
What will change according to the motion?
For category 1a, there will be a limitation for the maximum width. A cargo bike may henceforth be a maximum of one meter wide. Vehicles in this class will be allowed on public roads without additional approvals. This is the only change from the current regulations for this group.
For groups 1b, 2a and 2b there will be an approval and monitoring procedure. This will be fully entrusted to the RDW. The RDW may make the rules, approve the vehicles and then also supervise them. The RDW has already drawn up the technical requirements. On Thursday, September 30, these requirements will be presented to a group of stakeholders. The general explanation of the technical requirements states that “according to other European regulations, these vehicles cannot be admitted to road traffic, which therefore implicitly means that they are prohibited“, according to the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.
What are the legal objections according to LEVA-EU?
According to LEVA-EU, this conclusion is incorrect and the industry association therefore categorically disputes this final judgment. Its analysis shows that the proposal to subject certain vehicles to national approval is actually contrary to European regulations. These are the vehicles that are excluded from Regulation 168/2013. Like conventional e-bikes, electric cargo bikes, electric scooters and self-balancing vehicles are excluded from this Regulation. These are therefore also subject to the Machinery Directive, the EMC Directive and the RoHS Directive.
The Machinery Directive states, “Member States may not prohibit, restrict or impede the placing on the market and/or putting into service in their territory of machinery which complies with this Directive.” The Dutch government has agreed; conventional e-bikes may be allowed on the road without additional requirements.
According to LEVA-EU, it is not only inconsistent and illogical to subject e-cargo bikes, e-scooters and self-balancing vehicles to additional national testing. It is also illegal, as the vehicles in question comply with the Machinery, EMC and RoHS Directives. Moreover, there are no structural safety problems with these vehicles that would warrant additional measures. In doing so, they are widely used in cities that want to replace polluting freight and passenger transport. Even after all the investigations that were done as a result of the fatal Stint accident, this has not been proven.
What are some other objections according to LEVA-EU?
The above objections to the Dutch LEV Admission Framework are all of a legal nature. But in addition, LEVA-EU is very concerned about the proposed categorization. The plans regarding dimensions and weights are also cause for concern.
“These proposals significantly complicate the lives of electric cargo bike manufacturers, while not being based on sound safety considerations”, said LEVA-EU manager Annick Roetynck. “Determined LEV dimensions are determined based on the finding ‘that inadequate width of the bike lane leads to increased risk’. This is the world upside down: manufacturers around the world are required to make a purely Dutch electric cargo bike according to the width of the Dutch bike path. “
According to the trade association, this goes directly against all principles of European legislation, the internal market and the free movement of goods.
“If every member state were to introduce similar measures, manufacturers would again have to build 27 different types in order to be marketed throughout the EU, ” says the organization.
It also argues that these specifically Dutch requirements will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the supply of LEVs in the Netherlands. Manufacturers are more likely to choose markets where they can use European harmonized vehicles. The consequence of this is that there will be a contraction. As a result, the sustainability of mobility in the Netherlands will be at risk. This in turn has negative consequences in terms of emissions, combating climate change, road safety and public health.
The industry association has therefore asked the Dutch government for clarification. It would like an explanation of how these regulations serve a purpose in the Dutch public interest. The Netherlands should also inform the EC and the member states of this national initiative. So far this has not happened, at least it cannot be found in the European TRIS database.
LEVA-EU requests the Dutch government to abandon the LEV approval framework. All LEVs that meet the requirements of the Machinery, EMC and RoHS Directives should be allowed access to public roads. National technical regulations should not be a barrier. Also, the request covers self-balancing vehicles without a steering wheel. LEVA-EU is awaiting an official response from the Dutch government. In the meantime, it will inform the European Commission of their request.
Source: Annick Roetynck, LEVA-EU
Link to the request [HERE]