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China puts brakes to limits on e-bicycles

Source:www.china daily.com.cn  Updated: 2009-12-17 08:10

China's Standardization Administration said yesterday it has suspended some requirements that could have restricted the use and production of electric bicycles in the country.

In an announcement on its website, the administration said that since so-called e-bikes are an emerging industry, time and caution are needed when making relevant policies.

There are more than 2,400 e-bike manufacturers in China, which sell 20 million e-bikes in the domestic market a year, according to a report by Beijing Evening News.

Earlier this month, the administration said e-bikes that weigh over 40 kg or could reach speeds faster than 20 km per hour would be classified as electric motorbikes, which would mean riders who have e-bikes may have to take driving tests, get registered and buy insurance from the first day of 2010 when the new rules become effective.

The news has stirred widespread fears that more than 2,000 e-bike factories would close and producers of lead in e-bike batteries would be seriously affected.

"This is good news," said an official at the China Bicycles Association after hearing reports about the suspension.

The industry body had lobbied the administration to relax the standards for e-bikes following the release of the previous document, he said.

Many consumers have returned their newly purchased e-bikes to sellers due to the unexpected rules, reports said.

"Previously in this season, we could sell four to six e-bikes each day, and 10 to 15 sets in good times. However, we sell only 1 or 2 sets these days," a retailer said in an interview. Yu Ying, an official with Changzhou Lvneng Electric Bicycle Company, complained the new classification could possibly ruin her employer. "Some people have already been laid off. We have to do so because many retailers canceled their orders suddenly," Yu said.