Entry into Effect of New Regulation Requiring EU Type-approval for Electric Bicycles, Other Two- or Three-wheel Vehicles
24 December 2015
Hong Kong and mainland Chinese suppliers of parts or assemblies of electric bicycles and mopeds for export to the EU should be alerted to the entry into effect of a new type-approval law, namely, Regulation 168/2013 on the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles. The law is scheduled to enter into effect on 1 January 2016.
It should be noted that Regulation 168/2013 also applies to all two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles as categorised in Article 4 and Annex I (‘L-category vehicles’) of the Regulation, that are intended to travel on public roads, including those designed and constructed in one or more stages, and to systems, components and separate technical units, as well as parts and equipment, designed and constructed for such vehicles.
All electric bicycles, except pedelecs up to 25 km/h and a continuous rated motor output of 250W, are subject to type-approval. In respect of the type-approval rules, as laid down in Regulation 168/2013, electric bicycles are classified in vehicle category L1e (which is then subdivided into L1e-A for “powered cycles” and L1e-B for “mopeds”).
While Regulation 168/2013 becomes applicable throughout the EU as from 1 January 2016, the type-approval rules for new vehicle types of category L1e come into force one year later, i.e. on 1 January 2017. However, even for new vehicle types, manufacturers can choose, instead, to already start complying with the type-approval requirements of Regulation 168/2013.
Hong Kong companies unsure about conformity assessments carried out outside the EU should bear in mind that the conformity of production (COP) approval is part of the type-approval process under the Regulation. Moreover, even where “kits” are imported into an EU Member State for assembly, the same type-approval process would apply (the assembly would, in fact, be part of the type-approval).
Furthermore, non-EU (e.g. Chinese) manufacturers may obtain EU type-approval from any Member State approval authority. Manufacturers can check which Member State’s designated technical service they wish or are able to work with (e.g. in mainland China), contract with that technical service to witness, or carry out, the necessary testing, and subsequently arrange for type approval with the relevant Member State approval authority.
The list of components and characteristics that are subject to type-approval are set out in Regulation 168/2013. The technical requirements and tests with which those components and characteristics have to comply are, however, laid down in three Delegated Regulations (see: hyperlinks below). Furthermore, Commission Implementing Regulation 901/2014 contains the formats of documents that have to be used in the type-approval procedure (for example, the certificate of EU type-approval which will be granted by the approval authority, the certificate of conformity which the manufacturer has to complete and sign, etc.).
The type-approval testing or supervision thereof has to be carried out by a designated technical service which has been designated by the relevant Member State approval authority. EU type-approval is obtained from one Member State only, even though that type-approval is valid in all Member States of the EU. The approval authority will officially certify that a vehicle, system, component or separate technical unit is approved, by means of the type-approval certificate.
Following this, the manufacturer has to issue a certificate of conformity. This is the document which certifies that the produced vehicle (or system, component or separate technical unit) conforms to the approved product.
The type-approval legislation (Regulation 168/2013) also lists the manufacturer’s, importer’s and distributor’s obligations in the type-approval procedure. It is important to note that for the purposes of type-approval, manufacturers that are established outside the EU “shall appoint a single representative established within the Union to represent them before the approval authority”. There is no particular written format for granting such appointment.
The Regulation also stipulates that manufacturers have to ensure that the statutory marking and type-approval marks are fixed to their vehicles, components or separate technical units (in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation). Furthermore, manufacturers have to indicate their name, registered trade name or registered trade mark and the EU address at which they can be contacted, on the products concerned, or if not possible then on the packaging or accompanying document.
The Regulation also sets out obligations on importers. Thus, for example, importers have to indicate their name, registered trade name or registered trade mark and the address at which they can be contacted on the vehicle, system, component, separate technical unit, part or equipment, or, where this is not possible, then on its packaging or in an accompanying document. Should the importer (or a distributor) make available on the market an L1e category vehicle under its own name (and not the name of the actual manufacturer), then that importer or distributor would bear all the manufacturer’s responsibilities.
Only one application may be submitted in respect of a particular type of vehicle, system, component or separate technical unit, and it may be submitted in only one Member State. Additionally, a separate application has to be submitted for each type to be approved. The applicant has to provide the approval authority with an “information folder”. The documents to be included are listed in Article 27 of Regulation 168/2013 and are, among others, an information document, all data, drawings, photographs and other information.
Regulation 168/2013 further stipulates that a Member State approval authority may grant an EU type-approval only after verifying the conformity of production arrangements (referred to in Article 33 of the Regulation), and the compliance of the type of vehicle, system, component or separate technical unit with the applicable requirements.
Moreover, compliance with the technical prescriptions laid down has to be demonstrated by means of appropriate tests performed by “designated technical services”. In the case of non-EU, e.g. a Chinese manufacturer, it will therefore be necessary for it to work together with an approved body furnishing technical services in the non-EU country, e.g. mainland China.
For more information on the applicable requirements, please click on the following hyperlinks:
- Regulation 168/2013 on the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles;
- Commission Implementing Regulation 901/2014 with regard to the administrative requirements for the approval and market surveillance of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles;
- Commission Delegated Regulation 134/2014 with regard to environmental and propulsion unit performance requirements and amending Annex V thereof;
- Commission Delegated Regulation 44/2014 with regard to the vehicle construction and general requirements for the approval of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles; and
- Commission Delegated Regulation 3/2014 with regard to vehicle functional safety requirements for the approval of two- or three-wheel vehicles and quadricycles.
Each of the aforementioned four implementing Regulations supplements Regulation 168/2013 in one way or another. Hong Kong companies affected by the new requirements should examine all the regulations very carefully to ensure compliance.
- Auto Parts