E-bikes are defined as bicycles with an electric motor that provides pedal assistance and allows riders to accelerate their pace. If you are planning to import and sell E-bikes in the United States, this article provides an overview of regulations and standards requirements for E-bikes – including CPSC standards, documentation, testing, and much more.
- Pedal-assist electric bike
- Throttle electric bike
- Speed pedelec electric bike
- Hub motor electric bike
E-Bikes CPSC Standards
CPSC requires that all types of bicycles including E-bikes shall comply with the requirements for braking, protrusions, structural integrity, and reflectors. Otherwise, the product will be banned under the Federal Hazardous Substance Act.
For E-bikes product, here are some applicable standards provided by CPSC:
- 16 CFR Part 1512 – Requirements for bicycles
- 16 CFR Part 1303 – Ban of lead-containing paint
CPSC standards are generally voluntary but they serve as a good reference point for importers at the product design stage. Here are some more requirement examples under the CPSC standards:
1. E bike’s pedals shall have treads on both sides.
2. Recommended inflation pressure shall be molded on the sidewalls of tires.
3. The E-bike seat (if any) shall have a permanent mark or circle showing the minimum depth.
4. The instruction manual shall be attached to its frame or provided in the packaging.
General Certificate of Conformity (GCC)
The GCC is used to certify that your imported E-bike products comply with applicable consumer product safety standards such as CPSC standards.
Importers or manufacturers must issue the GCC with a list of applicable standards (e.g.16 CFR Part 1512) and support documents such as certificates and test reports.
Here is a GCC content overview for E-bikes:
1. E-bikes name and description
2. List of applicable standards
3. Identification of the importer or manufacturer
4. Contact information: Mailing address, e-mail address, phone number
5. Date (month, year) and place (city, country) of production
6. Date (month, year) and place (city, country) of product testing
7. Third-party testing company, contact person, e-mail, phone number and address
Note: GCC is required for the shipment of E-bikes, also it shall be attached with relevant certificates.
You can learn more about how to issue a GCC for your E-bikes in this article.
Underwriter Laboratories (UL)
Underwriter Laboratories (UL) develops and establishes standards for many categories of products including E-bikes. UL is an accredited standards developer in the US and Canada, and the standards are often seen as de facto mandatory for e-bikes and other electronics.
UL standards are generally voluntary and it is in importers’ interest to comply with the UL requirements, as they might hold liable for any injury or property damages caused by unsafe E-bikes.
UL 2849 – Standard for electrical systems for E-bikes, covers most safety requirements of E-bikes powered by lithium or other rechargeable battery. It provides requirements with respect to the following:
- The electrical drive train system
- The battery system
- The charger system combination
- Interconnecting wiring
- E-bikes power inlet
Note that UL 2849 does not cover the mechanical structure of the E-bikes, importers can find additional UL standards applicable to their products on standardscatalog.ul.com.
UL Listing: UL listed mark shows that a product was tested, and it is safe to be placed on the market. Buying a UL listed E-bike is also a good option for business in a small or medium scale.
UL Recognition: It’s similar to UL listing, but it mainly applies to “associated products” such as power supply.
UL Classification: It indicates that a product meets UL safety requirements for certain properties (e.g braking system).
Amazon may require UL test reports when listing your E-bike in their platform. Therefore, importers shall either request the UL test reports from suppliers or book a third-party lab testing before mass production.
All e-bikes, including batteries and AC adapters, are not always tested and compliant with applicable UL standards. On the contrary, plenty of lithium batteries and other components are non-compliant, and may, therefore, be a potential fire or electrical hazard. Notice that this is also the case for compliance with CPSC rules and ASTM standards.
As mentioned above, UL 2849 does not cover the mechanical structure requirements of the E-bikes. In this case, E-bike importers can refer to ASTM standards for product specification and test methods. ASTM standards are also beneficial for product safety and product quality.
ASTM standards are also voluntary for importers or manufacturers to comply with. However, importing and selling unsafe E-bikes are subject to forced recalls and even heavy fines. The liability always falls on the importers.
Examples of ASTM standards
- ASTM F2793-14 Standard specification for bicycle grips
- ASTM F2802-19 Standard specification for condition 1 bicycle frames
- ASTM F2868-19 Standard specification for condition 2 bicycle frames
- ASTM F2274-11 Standard specification for condition 3 bicycle forks
- ASTM F2711-19 Standards test methods for bicycle frames
You can also search for more applicable standards for your E-bikes on the ASTM official website.
It is common that manufacturers don’t have the equipment and expertise to carry out ASTM testing. Established testing companies like SGS, Intertek, and QIMA, provide ASTM testing services such as conformity assessment, lab testing, certification, and test reports.
E-Bike State Regulations
Many states in the US have implemented specific regulations of E-Bikes that include age restrictions, E-bike classification, operating license, and registration requirements. Here is a non-exhaustive overview of different state regulations.
California defines E-bikes as a motorized bicycle with a limitation of 1,000 Watts for power and 20 mph for speed. In addition, customers must wear an approved helmet while operating the E-bike in California if under 17 years old.
New York has banned the use of E-bikes on any public roadway and any violations are subject to arrest. New York state requires registration of VIN which shall be issued by NHTSA, however, nearly no one can get the VIN after all.
Oregon requires that E-bikes must equip with both fully operative pedals for human propulsion and an electric motor, and the electric motor shall not exceed more than 1,000 watts and 20 mph speed limit. In addition, the age restriction is at 16, and using E-bikes on sidewalks is forbidden.
Michigan requires all motor vehicles must be registered with the Michigan Secretary of State and equipped with headlights, turn signals, a horn, and brake lights. Further, for E-bikes that are 2 or 3 wheeled, the motor must not exceed 100 cubic centimeters piston displacement and the speed must not exceed 30 mph.
Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR)
Batteries are subject to specific transport requirements in the United States, as the batteries contained in E-bike might cause potential hazards during transportation. Therefore, importers shall properly label the product under the HMR instruction, and provide relevant documents for compliance.
You can find more information on how to ship hazardous materials into the United States here.
IATA requires all battery-powered products (e.g. E-bike batteries), must pass UN 38.3 testing before the transportation. For E-bikes importers, you must obtain a UN 38.3 test report, and provide a Shipper Declaration for Dangerous Goods.
FCC Part 15
Oftentimes, there are accessories attached to the E-bikes such as LED light, speedometer, or GPS. In that case, importers also need to comply with FCC part 15, which sets limits for both unintentional and intentional radiators.
Importers shall verify the FCC compliance via third-party testing companies, and provide Supplier Declaration of Conformity (SDoC) before importation.
In order to learn more about FCC lab testing companies, you can read this guide.
Many states in the US restrict hazardous substances such as lead, cadmium, mercury, and nickel.
Those restricted substances can be easily found in the parts of E-bikes especially in battery and metallic cover. Meanwhile, not many suppliers are aware of the US RoSH regulations, and importers shall verify the compliance via third-party testing companies.
Country of Origin
Most of the Imported products including E-bikes must carry a country of origin label on the products and its packaging. The label must be permanently and visibly attached in English.
- Made in the USA
- Made in Germany
- Made in China
- Made in Korea
- Made in Japan
Importers are responsible for providing country of origin label file to the supplier. The label file shall be in .ai or .eps format, and importers must instruct the supplier with the placement and dimension information.
California Proposition 65
If you are planning to import and sell E-bikes in California, you shall also comply with the California Proposition 65 (CA Prop 65) for the chemical and hazardous substances restriction in your E-bikes.
CA sets limits to certain hazardous substances such as heavy metal (e.g. Lead, Cadmium, mercury, and phthalates), and you cannot import and sell in California without a warning label if your E-bikes contain an excess amount of those restricted substances.
This regulation applies to coatings, paints, and other components of the E-bikes. Therefore, we suggest that you shall book a third-party lab testing before the importation, as not many suppliers in this industry can provide the CA Prop 65 test report.
Packaging Materials Regulations
Importers shall also comply with packaging regulations when importing E-bikes to the United States. In general provision, the packaging materials must not contain hazardous substances at a harmful level.
Heavy Metals Restrictions
The packaging regulation concerns mostly on the use of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium, nickel, and mercury. Unless your supplier can provide relevant test reports for the packaging (which is not common), importers might consider verifying the packaging material via testing companies.
All compliance making (e.g. Country of origin and FCC mark) shall also be printed on the product packaging. It’s also common that importers or manufacturers would include product information on the packaging.
Bag Suffocation Warning
In certain US states, it is compulsory to add a bag suffocation warning label, in order to avoid non-compliance penalties.
Warning: To avoid the danger of suffocation, keep this plastic bag away from babies and children. Do not use this bag in cribs, beds, carriages, or playpens. This bag is not a toy.
1. States with Toxics in Packaging Laws (Link)
2. Bag Suffocation Warning (Link)