The European Union styles itself as “The Masters of Regulation” and continue to over-regulate and under deliver on ebikes. In New Zealand, we are largely free of such political meddling and will come up with our own sensible approaches.
I’ve often heard people say: “Why do we need our own regulations for ebikes? The Euros practically invented the ebike, make great bikes and have great regulations?” which is what Australia has sort-of done. To you I say, haha, none of that is quite true.
In my interview with Wai Won Ching he explained that the genesis for Euro regulations was in Japanese regulations, designed for the lightweight aged. If you fit into that category and want to stay under 25km/h, then please, buy a Euro bike.
It’s worth noting at this point that anything up to 250W and 25kph, and any eMTBs, are not considered for type regulation purposes.
Let’s take our most popular NZ ebike, the Smartmotion eCity. In Europe, this will be classified as a L1e-A, because it has more than 250W and has an active throttle. And then, only if you reduce its speed to 25km/h. In that case, I’ll just get a 250W StEPs-(under) powered bike thanks.
Or how about the Stromer ST1x? It’s a Euro bike after all. Nope, sorry, must be limited to 25km/h. In that case, I’ll just get something much cheaper thanks.
But wait, there is the L1e-B type classification, this allows a bike to go up to 45km/h and have up to 4kW of power, now we’re talking! Yeah, but it has to be registered as a moped so sorry, you can’t use it on the bike lanes. Oh, and you have to provide 20% of the motive power yourself unless it has the structural integrity of a motor cycle. So good luck outputting 1000W yourself! Even 500W needs 125W of rider input which is enough to make you sweat.
At least eMTBs are exempt, and I have to admit that Euro-source eMTBs are the best. This includes Haibike, Moustache, Specialized, Scott and others.
But as for the rest, they can keep their regulations and leave it to the sensible people in New Zealand to come up with a regulatory framework that will be revolutionary and lead to the most incredible uptick of people getting out of cars onto bicycles.
There are some upsides. One is the requirement that manufacturers must accept batteries for recycling.