Last mile electric vehicles to become legal in Germany
A change of law will harmonise PLEV regulation and open a large new market
This is a change of law many manufacturers of electric kick scooters or electric skateboards have long been waiting for. All these so-called Personal Light Electric Vehicles (EU says PLEV) will become legal in Germany, latest in 2019.
The country thus follows European legislation finally. In France or other places, the little last mile motorised vehicles had long been allowed to zoom around town. In Germany the new law will go into effect latest in early 2019. It will then gather all these mostly remote-controlled electric longboards or throttle-powered electric kick scooters and mono-wheelers in one category. Most importantly, it will open (or legalise) a whole new market for both rental services such as Lime Bike or most recently Mytaxi as well as for manufacturers like Segway.
In order for you to get ready, electrive has asked the German Ministry of Transport about the new rules soon to be applied to Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEV). Here they are:
- A maximum speed of 20 kph applies. Anything faster makes a helmet compulsory, although many users are wearing one freely anyway for safety reasons.
- Small electric vehicles are subject to compulsory insurance, including insurance plates. The damage a PLEV may cause is low in monetary terms. So more important here is the aspect of being able to identify the owner via their number plate.
- According to the ordinance, PLEVs must use “existing cycle path structures or cycle lanes”. In plain words, PLEV must share the way with bicycles and must refrain from using the road as long as there is a cycle path.
- The electric motor power is limited to 500 watts. Up to 1,200 watts are permitted for self-balancing vehicles.
- “Minimum requirements for driving dynamics” must be met. In plain English: A light electric vehicle must be roadworthy, it must be able to brake, be controllable and very probably have a lighting system. The details have not yet been defined.
- The regulation applies across Germany. This is an important circumstance to avoid creating a chaotic patchwork of different municipal regulations.
- The law is set to go into force at the end of 2018 or beginning of 2019.
Overall, these are good news. Not only joins Germany the rest of Europe. Also electric mobility once more becomes more diverse. However, some problems that have been around for years, also with regards to e-bikes and pedelecs, have not been addressed. Take for example the requirement for Personal Light Electric Vehicles (PLEV) to use the cycle path. These are already overcrowded in many cities and the different speeds will likely lead to problems. Moreover, the compulsory number plate may fuel the debate whether (electric) bicycles need an insurance (we reported). Still, with patience and tolerance these little last mile electric vehicles will foremost become a new and fun alternative to using a car.
>> with reporting by Christoph M. Schwarzer for electrive.net
Now all that we urgently need is for Germany, the EU and Britain to increase the maximum permitted top speed of escooters AND ebikes from 15.6 mph to 20mph as it is in Canada and the US.
Then millions more will start using ebikes and escooters not for the last mile but for full 1-5+ mile commutes/trips.
Hello Brussels – we’ve got a planet that urgently needs pulling back from the brink. 20 mph now please.
Yesterday would have been even better+smarter. Stop giving in to anti-ebike lobbyists.
Get it done please.
we had indeed mentioned the issue of classification and speed limit before, although in relation to partly muscle-controlled pedelecs. For more information kindly check the following article that includes a petition to the UN: https://www.electrive.com/2018/07/10/denmark-grants-speed-pedelecs-access-to-bike-lanes/
I am sorry but to unify all personal electric vehicles like described is the unreasonable limitation. I am using myself EUC (electric unicycle) for four years already, have more than 20.000 km driven and I know the latest generation of EUC have 1800W, 2000W engines.
The EUC is one of the few truly personal transporters which have a smaller footprint than the rider. In accordance to this, the proposal act like if you list in same category bike and small truck. It indicate clearly the law makers do not have any idea what they are talking abount and it would be of advanatge if only laws and regulations would be implemented based on the reality and own experience instead of car makers story telling how bad and dangerous the personal electric vehicles are.
Except the Dutch, always slow when it comes to bureaucracy and making decisions.