Do You Know the Safety Standards for Electric Bicycles in the United States?

E-bikes are bicycles with an electric motor that assist riders and allow them to accelerate their pace. CPSC standards, documentation, testing, and much more are covered in this article if you plan to import and sell E-bikes in the United States.

E-Bikes CPSC Standards

All types of bicycles, including E-bikes, must comply with CPSC requirements for braking, protrusions, structural integrity, and reflectors. If not, the product will be banned under the Federal Hazardous Substance Act.
CPSC provides the following standards for E-bikes:

  • 16 CFR Part 1512 - Bicycle Requirements
  • 16 CFR Part 1303 - Lead-based paints
The CPSC standards are generally voluntary, but they serve as a good reference point for importers during the product design process. The following are examples of requirements under the CPSC standards:
  1. The pedals of the bike must have tread on both sides.
  2. On the sidewalls of tires, there should be an indication of the recommended inflation pressure.
  3. There shall be a permanent mark or circle showing the minimum depth on the E-bike seat (if any).
  4. The instruction manual shall be attached to the frame or included in the packaging.


General Certificate of Conformity (GCC)

You can use the GCC to certify that your imported E-bike products comply with applicable consumer product safety standards, such as CPSC standards.
Usually, importers or manufacturers will provide the GCC with a list of applicable standards (e.g. 16 CFR Part 1512) and supporting documents, such as certificates and test reports.
The following is an overview of GCC content for E-bikes:

  1. Name and description of E-bikes
  2. Standards applicable to E-bikes
  3. Identification of the manufacturer or importer
  4. Address, telephone number, and e-mail address of the manufacturer or importer
  5. Date, city, and country of production
  6. Test date (month, year) and location (city, country)
  7. Contact person, e-mail address, phone number, and address of third-party testing company

For the shipment of E-bikes, a GCC is required, along with the appropriate certificates.

Underwriter Laboratories (UL)

Underwriter Laboratories (UL) develops and establishes standards for a wide range of products, including e-bikes. The UL is an accredited standards developer in the US and Canada, and the standards are often considered mandatory for e-bikes and other electronic devices.
UL standards are generally voluntary, and it is in importers' interest to comply with the requirements, as they can be held liable for any injuries or property damage resulting from unsafe E-bikes.

UL Standards

E-bikes powered by lithium batteries or other rechargeable batteries need to comply with UL 2849 - Standard for electrical systems for E-bikes. These requirements include:

  • Electric drive train
  • The battery system
  • combined with the charger system
  • Interconnecting wiring
  • E-bikes power inlet

Testing to e-bike standard UL 2849

Consumer trust and brand reputation are built by investigating potential harmful hazards. As e-bike technology advances, new strategies and protective circuitry will be required for safe operation.
In order to confirm the safety of e-bikes and electrically power-assisted cycles (EPACs), we engaged industry leaders in the development of the next generation of e-bike safety requirements for the UL 2849 Standard for Electric Bicycles and Electrically Power Assisted Cycles (EPACs). By examining the electrical drive train system, battery system, and charger system combinations, this Standard offers electrical and fire safety certification.

UL 2849 covers:

E-bikes (usually sit-to-operate and for over-the-road use) and pedelecs (pedal assisted electric) cycles.
Over the life of the product, there will be a risk of electric shock during charging and other potential electrocution hazards.
While riding, the Standard does not evaluate the operator's ability to maintain control.

The Benefits of Certification for E-bikes

Keeping your products in compliance with the appropriate standards can be challenging. However, we simplify the process for you. UL contributed to the development of UL 2849, the standard developed by Underwriters Laboratories, and is familiar with the requirements for testing and certification. Through our technical expertise and testing capabilities, we can offer you the highest levels of regulatory acceptance and market recognition in the industry. It is more important, however, to know that we can help you get safer products to market, which is a critical responsibility for all companies that make e-bikes.

Why Choose UL for Electric Bike Certification

UL 2849 certification adds cost to an e-bike company (and the consumer), so the e-bike industry has not yet adopted it widely. In my opinion, e-bike companies will accelerate the use of UL 2849 (and fires will decrease). Why am I so optimistic? There is too much competition in the e-bike industry (no pun intended). The industry has been so successful at keeping e-bike fires under the radar that companies may feel adding any expense puts them at a competitive disadvantage. Still, the brands who see UL 2849 as value added, not a cost, will immediately stand out from the competition, appealing to riders who want the assurance that their e-bikes will not overheat their homes.


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