Importing E-bicycle from China to India

Importing E-bicycle from China to India: A Complete Guide

Importing E-bicycle from China to India: A Complete Guide

An e-bicycle is a rather complex system of mechanical and electrical components. While that can be said about many products, getting your product specifications right is critical when importing e-bicycles from China to India. Buyers in India need to be even more cautious. Some of their components are regulated by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS)– and the consequences of non-compliance are serious. Let’s begin by taking a look at the technical aspects.

Three types of e-bicycles as categorized in the new standard are:

  1. An intelligent e-bicycle (max weight 40kg) needs pedalling first to start the motor to move the wheels. This type is greener and more environmental friendly, and could better suit the comparatively narrow roads in cities;
  2. A pedal-assisted e-bicycle (or pedelec, max weight 50 kg) is flexible to pedal or electric, which enables commute in small cities or urban-rural transfer;
  3. A pure e-bicycle (max weight 55kg) better suites rural areas where the road condition is good and the distance is bigger.

Components and product specifications

First of all, the price of the electric bicycle is entirely based on the component composition (i.e. certain battery models and brands are more expensive than others, etc). Therefore, you cannot compare the prices between e-bicycles, but rather compare sets of components against each other. What’s more, Chinese suppliers, including those in the e-bicycle industry, tend to lack strict internal quality guidelines. In practice, this means that many suppliers basically use any components they have in stock – unless you explicitly “tell them” to use specific components. Let’s look into the most important specifications when buying electric bikes from China:

Gears

Gears are not “made in house” by e-bicycle suppliers. Like many other components, these are purchased from other suppliers. Manufacturing gears is not that simple, and replacing them is expensive. That’s the reason why most importers prefer to use brand name gears, from reliable manufacturers, such as Shimano. That doesn’t mean you need to call up Shimano and arrange for them to supply your manufacturer in China. They are already present in the country, and all respectable e-bicycle suppliers are already buying gear from established brands.

Motor

Selecting the right motor is not only about quality, but also regulations in your home country. Due to speed limitations, motor wattage is restricted in most markets. Below follows an overview:
  • European Union: 180W – 250W
  • Australia: 200W
  • United States: 350-750W
Most E-bicycle suppliers purchase motors from domestic manufacturers in China. That is not necessarily anything bad, but the supplier should at least be able to present documents showing compliance with directives such as CE and RoHS. These are EU standards (thus not legally required in the US, Canada, or Australia), but acts as a sign of good quality.

Battery

The battery, usually a Li-Ion (Lithium Iron Phosphate), differs in terms of weight, lifespan, and capacity. Most batteries use battery cells from well-known brands, such as Panasonic, Samsung, and Sanyo. The supplier shall also be able to prove that the battery is compliant with relevant product regulations.

Charger

The key concern when selecting a charger is compliance with applicable electrical safety standards, in the destination market. As in the case of batteries, a supplier shall be able to show compliance documentation, such as test reports and certificate of compliance, that is valid for the specific charger model you’re buying. There are plenty of poorly constructed and unsafe chargers in China. Low-quality chargers are potential electrical and fire hazards.

Frame

Most importers select a frame based on design, material (usually an aluminium alloy), and weight. The frame is often what sets suppliers apart in China. While all e-bicycle manufacturers purchase most mechanical and electrical components from subcontractors (e.g. gears from Shimano), many make the frame in-house. It’s also possible to custom design frames. But, product customization requires investment in additional tooling such as moulds. Don’t expect your supplier to finance this.

Other components and specifications

A bicycle frame with gears and a battery doesn’t add up to an entire e-bicycle though. Below follows a list of product specifications that you shall include on your sales agreement when buying electric bicycles:
  • Fork (Material, Suspension type)
  • Handlebar (Material)
  • Stem (Material)
  • Rim (Material, Type)
  • Wheel Size (Dimensions)
  • Tire (Material, Dimensions)
  • Controller (Brushless: Yes / No)
  • Brake (Type, Brand)
  • Foldable (Yes / No)
  • Frame Color
  • Logo (Type of print, colours, position, and dimensions)
  • Net Weight
  • Loading Capacity (usually 90 – 120 kgs)

Labelling requirements

You must make sure that your e-bicycles are correctly labelled. For example, BIS Logo along with the Registration Number must be Printed or Laser Engraved on Each battery.

Battery shipping restrictions

There are restrictions in place for shipping batteries of various kinds. You need to make sure that your supplier is able to provide a document specifying the brand, model, and type of battery that comes with your electric bikes. Failing to supply such a document may result in your cargo being refused exit in the Port of Loading, in China, or refused entry in the Port of Destination.

E-bicycle Definitions by Region

 
Country/jurisdiction Type of e-bike Speed limit, km/h mph Watt limit Weight limit, kg Age requirement Demands license plates Allowed on bike paths
Australia pedelec 25 + 10% 15.5 250 none none no yes
Australia hand-throttle or pedal-assist (some states specifically ban hand-throttle e-bikes) none none 200 none none no yes
Canada hand-throttle 32 20 500 none various no varies from municipal by-laws
China Unknown 30 18.5 None 20 none no yes
European Union pedelec 25 +10% 15.5 250 none none no yes
and
Norway
Germany pedelec 25 15.5 250 none none no mandatory
Germany s-pedelec 45 28 4000 none 16 insurance identifier plate no
Norway speed pedelec 45 28 500 none none yes no (*)
Hong Kong none allowed
Israel pedelec 25 15.5 250 30 16 no yes
Mexico both same as motorcycles same as motorcycles 15+[31] yes no
New Zealand pedelec none none 300 none none no yes
Taiwan both 25 15.5 None 40 none no yes
Turkey pedelec 25 15.5 250 none none no yes
United Kingdom pedelec 25 15.5 250 30 14 no yes
United States hand-throttle 32 20 750 none none no varies

Electric Bicycle Law in India

In general, every electric vehicle in India has to get the Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) approval. Powerful vehicles need to go through a full testing process following CMVR rules, whereas E-bicycle, as defined below, are exempt from this type of approval requirements. This is what is defined as an electric bicycle and the safety requirements:
  • One or more electric motors with a power of less than 250W
  • The maximum speed of 25 kilometres per hour
Electric Vehicles, which comply with the above requirements are not categorized as motor vehicles. Hence the transport rules are not applicable for them (Insurance, taxes…).

List of E-bicycle manufacturers in China

E-bicycle suppliers are mainly located in Zhejiang province. In case you plan to go there, you’ll likely end up in any of the following cities:
  • Jinhua
  • Hangzhou
  • Changzhou
  • Yongkang
  • Ningbo
  • Huzhou
Listed Companies
  • Ningbo Lvkang Vehicle
  • Jiangsu Lvneng Electrical Bicycle Technology
  • Changzhou Sobowo Vehicle
  • Zhejiang Trewers Electric Bicycle Manufacturing
  • Ningbo Bestar
  • Zhejiang Hangpai Electric Vehicle Industry
  • Jinhua JOBO Technology
  • Changzhou Daimyo Vehicle
  • Jinhua Beite Electric Bike Factory
  • Tianjin Fuji-ta Bicycle

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Maulik Shah

Maulik Shah has been importing from China for over 16 years, He has helped more than 1000's of startups in Importing from China. He has in-depth knowledge and experience in sourcing a broad range of products. Find out how to Import from China to India Risk-Free from your Best sourcing Partner.

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