The EU Commission has updated its rules on Series Hybrid machines

Chainless e-bikes can be sold as electrically powered assisted cycles, rules EU Commission 

The EU Commission has ruled that chainless e-bikes can be sold as electrically powered assisted cycles (EPAC), following five years of campaigning. 

Debate around these machines, which run on a chainless system called Series Hybrid, dates back to 2018 when several German e-bike dealers were threatened with € 5,000 fines for selling a specific e-bike, which did not have a chain, as an EPAC. 

Following years of campaigning by the European Union trade association for light electric vehicles, LEVA-EU, and its members, the European Commission has now ruled Series Hybrid Cycles can now be classified as EPACs across the union. 

Under EU law, An EPAC is classified as a pedal assisted cycle with a maximum speed of 25km/h and a 250w power cap. 

Series Hybrid machines do not have a mechanical chain, but are instead powered by energy that flows directly from a pedal generator into the motor, which sparked the concerns. 

In 2018, the German approval authority Kraftfahrt Bundesambt (KBA) threatened a number of e-bike retailers with fines if they continued to market Series Hybrid bikes as EPACs. 

The KBA argued that these vehicles needs L-category approval, similar to mopeds and motorbikes – the argument was supported by the German transport ministry. 

Since the initial controversy, a number of new companies developed their own Series Hybrid models, particularly in the e-cargo bike market, as the chainless system reduces maintenance costs due to the fewer mechanical parts involved. 

Following multiple meetings with the European Commission, LEVA-EU announced on Monday, 21st February, that the commission had now ruled that Series Hybrid systems are EPACs. 

Read more: Disabled people need to be at the heart of low-car cities, says climate charity 

LEVA-EU said: “This statement finally puts an end to an agony that has lasted for almost 5 years and to a problem that posed a significant threat to the development and success of electric cycles in general and electric cargo cycles in particular.

“E-cycles equipped with a SH-system enjoy the same status on the road as conventional bicycles in all EU Member States.” 

In other news…

Beryl Rider Report highlights positive impact of shared transport schemes

Beryl has released its fourth annual Rider Report, a survey of thousands of riders used …