• Importing E-bikes from China: A Complete Guide

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    An e-bike 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-bikes from China.

    Buyers in the US, Europe, and Australia need to be even more cautious. E-bikes, and their components, are regulated – and the consequences of non-compliance are serious. Let’s begin by taking a look at the technical aspects.

    Components and product specifications

    First of all, the price of the electric bike 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-bikes, but rather compare sets of components against each other.

    What’s more, Chinese suppliers, including those in the e-bike 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-bike 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-bike suppliers are already buying gears 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-bike 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.

    e-bike

    Frame

    Most importers select a frame based on design, material (usually an aluminum alloy), and weight. The frame is often what sets suppliers apart in China. While all e-bike 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 frame. But, product customization requires investment in additional tooling such as molds. Don’t expect your supplier to finance this.

    Other components and specifications

    A bike frame with gears and a battery doesn’t add up to an entire e-bike though. Below follows a list of product specifications that you shall include on your sales agreement when buying electric bikes:

    • 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, colors, position, and dimensions)
    • Net Weight
    • Max Speed (e.g. 25 km/h for EU bikes and 32 km/h for US / Canada)
    • Loading Capacity (usually 90 – 120 kgs)

    electric bike motor

    E-bike product safety standards and regulations

    E-bikes, manufactured in or imported to, the United States, Europe, or Australia (and a number of other markets) are subject to product safety regulations. Some directives specifically regulate electric bikes (assembled product), such as European product safety standard EN 15194, while other regulations, such as RoHS and the Low Voltage Directive, apply to batteries and other components.

    Far from all e-bike suppliers in China are able to make e-bikes that comply with EU and US regulations. In fact, I expect that no more than 20% of the e-bike manufacturers can show previous compliance with European, American, and Australian safety standards.

    Only suppliers that are actively exporting e-bikes to these markets have an incentive to make compliant products. Most are selling their products domestically.

    How do I know if an e-bike manufacturer can comply?

    You should ask your supplier to provide test reports, valid in your country or market. You cannot apply ‘old’ test reports to your newly made batch of e-bikes, but you can assess if the supplier is capable of making compliant goods.

    In addition, you should only select batteries and AC adapters from Samsung, or other known brands.

    Established brands ensure that their products are safe and compliant. Hence, you will not need to get them tested or certified.

    Labeling requirements

    You must make sure that your e-bikes are correctly labeled. For example, this may include a CE Mark, WEEE Mark, or Country of Origin label (i.e., Made in China).

    The requirements differ between countries, and it’s up to you to provide the label files to your supplier.

    Documentation requirements

    In addition to making sure that the product is technically compliant, and correctly labeled, you must gather a set of documents.

    Most of these documents are ‘self-issued’, by the importer.

    A few examples follow below:

    • Declaration of Conformity
    • Bill of Materials
    • List of applicable standards
    • Manual
    • AC Adapter datasheet
    • Battery datasheet
    • Risk assessment
    • Lab test reports

    Lab testing

    Third-party lab testing is the only way to be sure that your e-bikes actually comply with the regulations in your country. As I said, you can avoid lab testing in part, if you select brand name batteries and AC adapters.

    But, the frame must also be compliant, and for this, you should submit your product for a compliance assessment. There are, however, plenty of qualified testing companies present in China.

    Quality Assurance

    There’s another reason that client selected a bad supplier. They claimed that their frame weighed about 20% less than their competition. First of all, low-end suppliers don’t have access to cutting-edge composite materials. Secondly, never make a supplier selection based on a statement from a random sales agent, that you have never met.

    Honestly, don’t take them by their word even if you meet them.

    The only way to ensure that you get the right quality and components is by applying a strict Quality Assurance process. When importing e-bikes, the main target is to:

    a. Identify components

    b. Ensure that the manufacturer uses these components when assembling the e-bike

    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.

    List of E-bike manufacturers in China

    A few years ago, we were sourcing electric bike suppliers in China for a European client. We presented a number of well-established suppliers, also compliant with western product safety regulations, for the client to choose from. But.. the client managed to find a cheaper supplier, one that offered “the same product for a price 10% lower”.

    Later on, it turned out that the “cheap supplier” didn’t live up to the buyer’s expectation. It turned out to be a highly disorganized and dusty workshop that basically put together whatever scrap they could find. The buyer lost a lot of money, and the “cheap deal” turned out to be not much more than a mirage.

    Keep reading and I’ll explain why there’s such a vast quality difference between suppliers.

    E-bike manufacturers are not making every single component in-house. At most, they manufacture the frame and a few metallic parts, while other mechanical and electrical components are purchased from subcontractors.

    Assembling e-bikes is not rocket science. But managing a supply chain of high-quality components, in China, is not far from it. The components make the e-bike, and that’s why you shall only work with medium to large scale manufacturers, that are capable of managing such a supply chain, rather than disorganized workshops.

    So, where you find these suppliers? Like many other vehicles and parts manufacturers, E-bike 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

    The easiest way to get there is by first flying to Shanghai and then jump on the high-speed train to any of the mentioned cities. But before you book your flight, read this article about preparing a business trip to China.

    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

    Disclaimer

    We are not affiliated with any of the companies listed in this guide. We have selected these companies based on their claimed product scope, history, certification, and capabilities.

    Ningbo Lvkang Vehicle

    Ningbo Lvkang Vehicle is an OEM, and ODM designer, and manufacturer of mid and high-range electric bicycles, electric bicycle parts, and electric scooters. The company was founded in 2010 in Yuyao, which is a city close to Shanghai.

    Ningbo Lvkang Vehicle has developed various types of electric bikes that are suitable to be used in urban areas, mountainous areas, forests, beaches, and snow. This is realized by the extra fat tires of the bikes which give a tighter grip and provide higher stability under the complex road conditions. In addition, there are also models that are specially designed for ladies in dress outfits.

    Ningbo Lvkang Vehicle integrates R&D teams, sales department, manufacture, and testing laboratory to the in-house factory. Currently, the factory covers over 10,000 square meters with an output capacity of 30,000 pieces per year.

    Main Products

    • Electric mountain bikes
    • Electric city bikes
    • Electric foldable bikes
    • Electric scooters

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001
    • Compliance: RoHS, EN 15194
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: No.19 Shaozhu Road, Chengdong Development Zone, Yuyao, Zhejiang

    Jiangsu Lvneng Electrical Bicycle Technology

    Jiangsu Lvneng Electrical Bicycle Technology was founded in 1999 in Changzhou, Jiangsu. The company specializes in the OEM and ODM production of electric bikes and electric motorcycles.

    According to the profile information provided by Jiangsu Lvneng, the company adopts engines developed by BOSCH, and it’s ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 certified. Their annual production capacity is close to one million units.

    Currently, Jiangsu Lvneng owns two factories in Changzhou and Tianjin, in total occupies an area of more than 220,000 square meters, with more than 700 staff working in the factories, among whom include 50 engineers with expertise in product development and quality control.

    Main Products

    • Foldable electric bikes
    • Electric mountain bikes
    • Electric motorcycles

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001, ISO 14001
    • Compliance: EN 15194
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: Heng Shan Qiao Industrial Zone, Changzhou, Jiangsu

    Changzhou Sobowo Vehicle

    Changzhou Sobowo Vehicle was established in 2014. The company integrates the business of green energy electric vehicles manufacturing and trading in its factory located in Changshu, Jiangsu province.

    Changzhou Sobowo Vehicle offers electric bicycles, electric trikes, and their spare parts and components. All elements of the bikes are customizable, such as the forks, throttles, motors, displays, and batteries.

    Changzhou Sobowo Vehicle mainly exports its products to North America, in addition to the other 50 countries so far. According to the information on its website, there are more than 50 workers working in the factory of the company, which covers an area of 7,040 square meters. Currently, their annual output is more than 50,000 units.

    Main Products

    • Foldable electric bikes
    • Long-tail electric cargo bikes
    • Fat tire electric cruiser bike for adults
    • Electric tricycles
    • Electric motorcycles

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001
    • Compliance: Not mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: No.6 Chenyang Road Wujin District, Changzhou, Jiangsu

    Zhejiang Trewers Electric Bicycle Manufacturing

    Zhejiang Trewers Electric Bicycle Manufacturing was established in 2004 and offers product design, development, production, sales, and supporting service to private E-bike and scooter labels.

    Zhejiang Trewers Electric Bicycle Manufacturing specializes in producing tricycles with fat tires and rear racks, which are suitable for the cargo transit and takeaway delivery industry. Other product lines offered by the company include electric bikes with 20’’, 23’’, 25’’ fat tires and electric motorcycles and scooters, which are used in mountainous and urban areas.

    Currently, Zhejiang Trewers Electric Bicycle Manufacturing’s factory covers an area of more than 42,000 square meters, employing more than 200 staff in total, yielding to a production capacity of 600,000 units per year.

    Main Products

    • Electric bike/pedelec
    • Electric motorcycle
    • Electric scooters
    • Electric tricycle/trikes
    • Electric motorcycles

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001
    • Compliance: Not mentioned
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: Nanxun Economic Development Zone, Huzhou, Zhejiang

    Ningbo Bestar

    Ningbo Bestar is a professional manufacturer of electric bicycles and electric scooters. The company has been in the industry for more than two decades, mainly engaged in the research, production, assembly, and marketing activities for mountain e-bikes, urban e-bikes, and other e-bikes.

    In addition, Ningbo Bestar also offers comprehensive kit sets with different compartments and elements of the e-bikes and scooters, including bottom bracket motor, lithium batteries, brake levers, cranks, throttle, multi-functional LED and LCD displays.

    Main Products

    • Electric urban bikes
    • Electric mountain bikes
    • Electric foldable bikes
    • Electric bike kits

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001
    • Compliance: EN 15194
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: 6F., No.1599, Jv Xian Road, Hi-Tech Ningbo, Zhejiang

    Zhejiang Hangpai Electric Vehicle Industry

    Zhejiang Hangpai Electric Vehicle Industry was established in 2006, specializes in offering customized manufacturing services for the electric vehicle industry. The main products of the company include electric bicycles, electric scooters, and electric motorcycles.

    Other than providing OEM and ODM services for customers, the company also has its original brands named “YITU” and “Bluelecttrico”, which mainly sell to European, and North American countries.

    Main Products

    • 20-inch electric foldable bikes
    • Foldable electric motorcycle scooters
    • Electric mountain bikes
    • Fast food delivery scooters
    • Cargo tricycle with fat tire and basket
    • Mid-drive electric bikes

    Summary

    • Certification: Not mentioned
    • Compliance: RoHS, EN 15194
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: No.103 Hengtang Rd, Yuyue Town, Deqing, Huzhou, Zhejiang

    Jinhua JOBO Technology

    Jinhua JOBO Technology was established in 1999, focuses on the research, development, and manufacture of a variety of electric bicycles and scooters.

    The products produced by Jinhua JOBO Technology include electric foldable bikes, electric mountain bikes, electric city bikes, electric fat-tire bikes, drift trikes, and more. In addition, the company also sells batteries for bikes and scooters, such as down tube batteries, rear rack batteries, and vertical batteries. Other accessories include rear motors, mid-motor, front motors, and e-bike conversion kits.

    Currently, the factory buildings of Jinhua JOBO Technology comprise 12 workshops, occupying an area of more than 100,000 square meters, yielding to an annual production capacity of more than a hundred thousands of bikes.

    Main Products

    • 20″ electric bikes
    • 24″ electric bikes
    • 26″ electric bikes
    • 700c electric bikes
    • 27.5″ electric bikes
    • 29″ electric bikes
    • Alloy frame electric bikes
    • Steel frame electric bikes
    • Electric scooters
    • Electric tricycles
    • Electric pedicabs

    Summary

    • Certification: Not mentioned
    • Compliance: EN 55014, EN 61000
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: No.399, Shicheng Street, Jinhua, Zhejiang

    Changzhou Daimyo Vehicle

    Changzhou Daimyo Vehicle is an electric bike manufacturer founded in 2008, primarily designs produces, and exports electrical vehicles including fat-tire electric bikes, mini foldable electric bikes, electric mountain bikes, and electric scooters.

    Currently, the annual production capacity of Daimyo is more than 100,000 units.

    Main Products

    • Double disc brake speedy mountain bikes
    • 11 inch 60V 1200 W foldable bikes
    • 20 inch 36V 350W 7.8Ah foldable scooters
    • Electric tricycles
    • Electric conversion kit

    Summary

    • Certification: Not mentioned
    • Compliance: EN 15194, EN 12100, EN 60204, EMC Directive, Low Voltage Directive, Machinery Directive
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: Room 805, Building 2, Zhixin Business Plaza, Zhonglou District, Changzhou, Zhejiang

    Jinhua Beite Electric Bike Factory

    Jinhua Beite Electric Bike Factory was established in 2006 as a professional manufacturer of various electric bikes, electric mountain bikes, folding electric bikes, and electric city bikes.

    The company offers custom product design, production, assembly, testing, and delivery services to private labels, wholesalers, and retailers.

    Jinhua Beite Electric Bike Factory’s products include conversion kits, chargers, controllers, and electric bike spare parts.

    Main Products

    • Fat tire electric bikes
    • Electric mountain bikes
    • Foldable electric city bikes
    • Spare parts

    Summary

    • Certification: Not mentioned
    • Compliance: EN 15194
    • MOQ: 10 pcs
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: No.359, Baisha Road, Qiubin Street, Jinhua, Zhejiang

    Tianjin Fuji-ta Bicycle

    Tianjin Fuji-ta Bicycle is one of the leading bicycle manufacturers in China. The company was established in 1992 in Tianjin, mainly engaged in the R&D, manufacturing, OEM activities for all types of bicycles and electric bicycles.

    Currently, Fuji-ta offers mountain bikes of 20’’, 24’’, 26’’, 27.5’’, and 29’’, all sizes are available in customized frames including steel frames, alloy frames, carbon frames, and titanium frames.

    According to the information on its website, the company has 127 production lines, including 33 bicycle assembly lines, 9 electric vehicle assembly lines, 60 bicycle frame production lines, 30 hi-ten steel frame lines, 30 aluminum alloy, carbon fiber, and new material frame lines, and 25 spraying and baking lines.

    Main Products

    • Fat tire electric bikes
    • Electric mountain bikes
    • Electric scooters
    • Children’s scooters

    Summary

    • Certification: ISO 9001, ISO 14001, BSCI
    • Compliance: AS/NZS 1927
    • MOQ: Not mentioned
    • Samples offered: Yes

    Location: Jintang Road, Junliangcheng, DongLi District, Tianjin

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