October 31, 2020


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The yellow danger: preview of billi eBikes from China

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eBikes are trendy. That is why an eBike is at the top of many people’s wish lists. But an eBike is unfortunately also expensive. It is all the more gratifying when there are always really cheap China eBikes on eBay, Amazon and Alibaba, right?

You don’t see the danger

As tempting as these offers may be, many of these cheap bikes from China are extremely dangerous. Because you can bring sensitive legal and possibly financial troubles into the house. The unsuspecting buyer has no idea what the sensitive consequences may be. Because these direct imports from China are usually cute on 20 ″ small tires. One naturally wonders: What is so bad about such a seemingly harmless, cheap offer? Well – in short: everything.

Our examples show typical representatives of such cheap eBikes from China, which are offered in large numbers on relevant Internet sales platforms. The internet is full of them.

But why are there illegal eBikes at all? You have to know that in China there is not only a “wild west” manner with regard to the legal regulation of electromobility – no, electromobility is very heavily subsidized by the state. In this way, eBikes can be sold below the pure production costs. And these eBikes flood the global market. It is part of an aggressive economic policy. European laws are of little interest to the manufacturer of these eBikes.

Often no pedelecs without a license

Not only that the processing quality of Chinese cheap bicycles is generally very poor and the technical equipment does not withstand an expert test, let alone a real long-term use – because of this, these Chinese direct imports are often not legally free pedelcs at all. Because the motor usually delivers more than 250W, or because the speed does not limit at 25km / h, or because – as with all of the China eBikes shown – the control takes place via a throttle grip that does not switch off at 6km / h. This tiny little detail legally turns the supposed “electric bike” into a motor vehicle. With all the consequences.

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Criminal charges for violation of the compulsory insurance law, one year imprisonment or 180 daily fines are the result if you drive with an unauthorized and therefore uninsured vehicle on bike paths, roads, in the forest or on country lanes. Possibly further consequences like loss of driving license threaten. In the event of personal injury, there is no insurance.

The buyer often does not notice this because he does not know the legal provisions. Because although pedelcs do not require approval, they still have to meet European standards. Such as the Machinery Directive 2006/42 / EC, the test directive EN 15194 for EPACs, the test directive for mechanical safety EN 14764, the regulations for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) etc., etc. If a pedelec complies with all these directives and regulations, then it has a CE mark.

No trade in the EU without a CE mark

These illegal Chinese Internet eBikes do not meet these provisions and therefore do not have a CE mark. And without the CE mark they should not be imported into Europe commercially. And then at the latest the private person gets out. Who knows European commercial law?

How do these eBikes get to Europe? Well, the manufacturers in China know very well that they are punishable by the commercial sale of their vehicles without CE marking in Europe and have developed a system that involves private individuals as straw men or obscures the import routes through mailbox companies. So you will find strikingly often changing private sellers for certain China eBikes, which offer 3-5 of them unused and new. Or else, the seller is officially located in China or Switzerland. While the eBike has long been slumbering in some container in England or Poland. And then came duty unpaid to Germany.

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This import fraud and the abolition of manufacturer liability have a system, because the commercial dealer, the official importer and the manufacturer can be punished with punitive tariffs of up to EUR 100,000 per illegally imported vehicle. Hence the concealment of import routes with highly criminal structures behind them. It’s about money. Lot of money. And quick money. In a booming eBike market.

The consequences can be extreme

The layman has no idea of ​​all this. He doesn’t care about test guidelines, European standards and CE markings. He is just happy to have made a supposed bargain. But is it really?

If the illegal import of China breaks the handlebars or the frame of the eBike, he is in the hospital and receives a criminal complaint from the police instead of flowers from his wife, then the China eBike is suddenly no longer a bargain. And if a letter from the insurance company comes in saying that they will not pay the loss of earnings and rehabilitation costs, since the accident victim ran an unauthorized motorcycle without a protective helmet for motorcycles and “… thereby accepted the most serious injuries”, as the saying goes – then the bargain becomes an existentially threatening catastrophe.

The yellow danger with an electric motor and two wheels has a completely different dimension: it weakens the dealers and manufacturers here in Europe. Because no manufacturer for pedelecs is subsidized here. And this is where the competent specialist retailers with their rents, wages and enormous capital commitment have to compete against the Internet. The above-mentioned aggressive guerilla tactics of manufacturers in China damage the European economy and regional trade.

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How do you recognize “the yellow danger”?

The dangers posed by such an illegal Chinese crash on two wheels are diverse and serious. But the threat can be warded off. The consumer has it in his own hands, because the solution is very simple:

Buy a brand bike! Gladly used too. No brand manufacturer has illegal bikes in its product range. The alleged additional costs are brought back in by the higher resale value.
Buy regionally! No dealer can afford to sell illegal vehicles under the strict manufacturer and product liability. The specialist dealer is therefore a real guarantee of quality.
Only buy eBikes with a CE marking and EN approval! If you absolutely want to buy on the Internet, please make sure that the pedelec has a CE marking and corresponds to EN 15194. If you find a cheap offer on the Internet, ask explicitly. Ask the seller to take a photo of the CE mark and / or the “Epac according to EN 15194” label.