If you compare the price of an e-bike in Singapore with one of the same specifications in a neighboring country, you will find that it costs significantly more in Singapore. Below, we will explain why this is the case:
1.Certification to the stringent European safety standards EN15194:2017
Singapore mandates that all e-bikes must adhere to the latest European standards, EN15194:2017. Manufacturers are prohibited from using inexpensive and low-quality components when constructing e-bikes. Prior to submission to local authorities for type-approval, every mechanical and electrical component of an e-bike model must be certified by an internationally recognized testing laboratory. This regulatory measure is implemented by the government to guarantee the safety of e-bikes on our streets and to reduce the risk of fire hazards in our densely populated island city.
2.The LTA requirement for the unladen weight of an ebike being capped at 20kg
Following a tragic incident in the year 2019 (Link: https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/e-scooter-rider-pleads-guilty-to-causing-death-of-elderly-cyclist-in-2019), both the public and the government in Singapore have expressed significant concerns regarding pedestrian safety. In response, Singaporean lawmakers made the decision to limit the weight of e-bikes to 20kg. This restriction aims to mitigate the potential impact on pedestrians and other road users in the event of an accident.
Consequently, all Power Assisted Bicycle (PAB) manufacturers are unable to simply adopt a standard e-bike product off the shelf. They must invest additional efforts into designing a PAB that meets stringent European safety standards while providing riders with a reasonably long range. The increased engineering and design efforts, along with higher research and development expenses, contribute to the elevated costs of PABs in Singapore.
In addition to the 8% GST imposed on e-bikes at customs (scheduled to increase to 9% in 2024), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has implemented an import permit fee of $30 per compliant Power Assisted Bicycle (PAB) under the 'Import Control Regime for PABs' since June 28th, 2021. The LTA has introduced this additional measure to ensure that all PABs imported into Singapore adhere to local regulations and are accompanied by a valid import permit.
For further details, you can refer to this link: https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/ltagov/en/industry_innovations/industry_matters/regulations_licensing/active_mobility/import_control_regime_for_pabs_and_motorised_pmds.html
4.Sealing and Inspection Costs:
When e-bikes arrive in Singapore in carton boxes, we cannot immediately offer them for sale to end customers. Instead, we are required to assemble them and transport them to LTA-appointed inspection centers for a thorough inspection. Only after meeting all necessary requirements will the inspection centers affix an orange seal to each e-bike, corresponding to its plate number. This inspection and sealing process incurs a cost of $50 (plus GST) per unit. The fees for inspection and sealing, along with the increased operational expenses associated with the additional handling required for inspections, significantly contribute to the overall increase in e-bike prices.
5.Hazardous Waste Disposal Costs:
Many people may not be aware that e-bike importers are required to pay a waste disposal fee to the designated waste disposal company as part of the Producer Responsibility Scheme (PRS) established by the NEA. The PRS is aimed at ensuring the proper recycling of e-bike waste and safeguarding the environment in Singapore.
For more information, you can refer to this link: https://www.nea.gov.sg/our-services/waste-management/3r-programmes-and-resources/e-waste-management/extended-producer-responsibility-(epr)-system-for-e-waste-management-system.
On average, PAB importers are estimated to incur a cost of $30 to $50 per unit under the PRS scheme.