LEVA-EU's Annick Roetynck

LEVA-EU calls on Dutch government to halt national LEV rule plans

Trade association LEVA-EU is calling on the Dutch government to halt plans to introduce national rules for a number of light electric vehicles, which it says will breach European legislation.

LEVA-EU, headquartered in Belgium, has announced it is ‘stepping up’ its lobbying of both the Dutch Parliament and the European Commission in its efforts to stop the move. The proposal for the Dutch LEV framework includes specific national technical and usage requirements for e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles with handlebars and e-(cargo) cycles.

LEVA-EU says the additional technical requirements, which have nothing to do with road use, are in addition to the technical requirements that legally result from the European Machinery, EMC and RoHS Directives. The result will be that manufacturers will have to make vehicles specifically for the Dutch market. LEVA-EU argues that this goes against the Machinery Directive, Directive 2015/1535, and against the principles of the single market and the free movement of goods.

It has held talks with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water in the Netherlands about the planned LEV framework, without reaching a ‘satisfactory conclusion’ and says it now plans to step up its efforts. LEVA-EU is calling on the Dutch government to waive the LEV Approval Framework and to “no longer deny or obstruct access to public roads for all LEVs that meet the requirements of the Machine, EMC and RoHS Directives”. Its request also concerns self-balancing vehicles without a steering wheel.

Annick Roetynck, manager of LEVA-EU, said: “The Dutch government has accepted that conventional e-bikes can be admitted on the road without additional requirements. It is therefore illogic, inconsistent and illegal to subject e-(cargo) cycles, e-scooters and self-balancing vehicles, which comply with the European Machinery, EMC and RoHS Directives to additional national technical requirements.

“What’s more, there are no structural safety problems with these vehicles which would warrant additional measures and they are widely used in cities looking to substitute polluting freight and passenger transport.”

She added: “If every member state were to introduce similar measures, manufacturers would again be obliged to build 27 different types to be able to be marketed throughout the EU.

“In addition, if the Netherlands were to implement these very specific requirements effectively, this would undoubtedly have a negative impact on the supply of these LEVs in the Netherlands. Manufacturers will rather choose markets where they can use European harmonised vehicles.

“A shrinking supply will in turn jeopardise the sustainability of mobility in the Netherlands with all the negative consequences in terms of emissions, the fight against climate change, road safety and public health. That would be a particularly bad thing for the Netherlands and for its citizens.”

The Dutch plan to introduce national rules follows an accident in 2018 involving an electric Stint vehicle in which four children died. Roetynck said: “The Dutch ministry stated that the LEV framework is a direct consequence of the report of the Dutch Safety Board after the accident in 2018. That accident prompted the board to investigate ‘the way in which light motorised vehicles, including the Stint, come on the road’.

“Neither the Board nor anyone else has been able to determine the cause of the Stint accident. Nevertheless, the Board based its investigation on the premise that the Stint was technically unsafe and that this unsafety caused the accident.

“It overlooked the fact that the safety of light motorised vehicles is guaranteed by the Machinery, EMC and RoHS Directives, which list extensive safety requirements. Also, there are no structural safety issues with e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles or e(cargo)bikes.”

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