How to Select an Electric Scooter
If you are looking for an electric scooter which enjoys all the legal freedoms of a bicycle then it must meet several criteria. In order to quality as a power-assisted bicycle the scooter must be equipped with operational pedals. The motor must have a continuous power of no more than 500Watts for Canada and 750Watts for USA. Finally the bike must be limited to a top speed of 32 km/h (20mph).
Almost all electric scooters currently on the market are manufactured in China, since gas motorcycles have been banned in many Chinese cities since 1998. As in North America, Asian scooters equipped with pedals are classified as bicycles and they are built in bicycle factories. Since the demand for electric scooters in China is very high there is no requirement for licensing or certification for assembly factories producing electric bikes for the domestic market. Many of these factories have no full time employees but only hire them when they have orders during the season. They are free to purchase their bike components from any supplier they choose. The profit stake from the quantity in China is very big and the assembly factories are constantly searching for pennies cheaper parts. This affects the consistency and reliability of their complete product but makes it very competitive in price which is the first priority in Chinese domestic market. Since there is no control on the supply and production quality of these factories they are not allowed to export to the overseas markets. It is very easy however for any of them for a small commission to get their stuff exported through trading agencies. Very often the advertised specs of these bikes do not match their capabilities. The standard for scooters with pedals for the Chinese domestic market for example is 350W but once they leave the country they are advertised as 500W.
The only factories in China that are legally allowed to export their electric scooters are registered and insured motorcycle factories. They are only 3-4% of the hundreds manufacturers of electric scooters because they must comply with a number of requirements to be licensed as such. Since these factories are internationally insured they must purchase their components from suppliers that make them with higher quality materials and are manufactured according the international automotive standards. These factories are WMI (World Manufacturer Identifier) registered and ISO 9001 certified. They are allowed to make electric scooters for export only if these scooters have been previously engineered manufactured and tested according International Safety Standards as gas motorcycles. Before their products leave the factory they are tested by independent government institutions to prevent any liability issues.