Understanding Different Classes of Ebike

by Chenhao Hang September 26, 2021

EARLIER: NPS Policy Memorandum 19–01

On August 30, 2019, the Deputy Director of the NPS, Exercising the Authority of the Director, issued Policy Memorandum 19–01, Electric Bicycles. This policy satisfies a requirement in the Secretary’s Order that all Department of the Interior agencies adopt policy and provide appropriate public guidance regarding the use of ebikes on public lands that conforms to the policy direction set forth in the Order. The Memorandum defines an e-bike as ”a two- or three-wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts that provides propulsion assistance."

 

 

NOW: A Rule by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior

The National Park Service promulgates regulations governing the use of electric bicycles, or e-bikes, within the National Park System. This rule defines the term “electric bicycle” and establishes rules for how they may be used. This rule implements Secretary of the Interior Order 3376, ”Increasing Recreational Opportunities through the use of Electric Bikes,“ on lands administered by the National Park Service. This rule is effective on December 2, 2020.

Any differences?

This rule accomplishes these directives as related to the NPS, and once effective, will supersede and replace Policy Memorandum 19–01. The rule amends 36 CFR 1.4 to add a new definition of “electric bicycle” that is the same as the definition used in the Policy Memorandum, with one minor difference. The definition in the Memorandum refers to the definition of “electric bicycle” in the Consumer Product Safety Act (15 U.S.C. 2085), which limits the power of the motor to less than 750 watts. Many manufacturers sell e-bikes with motors having exactly 750 watts. In order to avoid the unintended consequence of excluding many devices from the regulatory definition of an e-bike due to a one-watt difference in power, the definition of e-bikes in this rule includes devices of not more than 750 watts.

 

What is the latest definition of e-bikes by the federal government?

Electric bicycle means a two - or three - wheeled cycle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of not more than 750 watts that meets the requirements of one of the following three classes:

(1) ‘‘Class 1 electric bicycle’’ shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.

(2) ‘‘Class 2 electric bicycle’’ shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that may be used exclusively to propel the bicycle, and that is not capable of providing assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 20 miles per hour.

(3) ‘‘Class 3 electric bicycle’’ shall mean an electric bicycle equipped with a motor that provides assistance only when the rider is pedaling, and that ceases to provide assistance when the bicycle reaches the speed of 28 miles per hour.

 

What about Qualisports ebikes?

All of our models in the U.S. are Class 2 ebikes. This means each model of our electric bikes will help you reach a top speed of 20 mph. 

  

Can I ride a Class 2 ebike where I live? 

Before 12/2/2020, less than 750 watts. After 12/2/2020, not more than 750 watts. So that ebikes more than 750 watts are NOT electric bicycles but should be considered as motor vehicles. That means, all the Qualisports ebikes are still being recognized as electric bicycles by law.

Different States have different requirements for where you can ride what class of electric bike. Before purchasing an ebike, you still need to make sure you check your local laws.

 

Footnotes

For more information about this rule, please visit the government site: Federal Register





Chenhao Hang
Chenhao Hang

Author