On 10 September 2018, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) announced that the Parliament had passed the Land Transport (Enforcement Measures) Bill which adopts UL2272 as the new safety standard for Personal Mobility Devices. This new requirement is being implemented as a response to tackle the rampant cases of fire involving poorly made devices. These fires largely consisted of scooters that were illegally modified, purchased from errant online sellers, and models that did not adhere to the Spring Singapore safety certification requirements. As a more efficient way to protect consumers, the new safety standards were put into place to purge these unethical practices of unauthorized retailers and sellers.
What is UL2272?
In layman’s terms, the UL2272 is a U.S. certification awarded to electrical mobility devices that have met the standards of a comprehensive system of safety tests. The testing parameters include both electrical and mechanical components as well as environmental aspects to assess electrical safety. To further explain, the assessment takes into account how resistant the devices are against impact, extreme temperatures, water exposure and other factors. Under these conditions, signs of short circuiting and imbalance charging would indicate a possibility of fire and therefore deemed as less than ideal in level of electrical safety.
A deeper understanding of how the UL2272 standard was formed…
With the rising cases of fire incidents caused by the then popular self-balancing scooters (AKA hoverboards), the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission (CSPC) grew increasing concerned about the safety of users. According to CSPC, there were 52 reported fire incidents caused by hoverboards over a short span of less than 3 months (1 Dec 2015 – 17 February 2016). This has resulted in more than US$2 million worth of property damages. In response, UL developed a testing standard specifically to evaluate the safety of these self-balancing devices. In 2018, the scope of UL2272 was then expanded to include testing of e-Mobility devices including e-scooters and e-skateboards. This version is known as the 2nd and current edition of UL2272.
Does it mean that non-UL2272 certified PMDs are dangerous?
Currently, 99% of the PMD models in Singapore are not UL2272 certified. Many bigger brands and companies such as MOBOT already have their own comprehensive system of safety tests in place long before the adoption of the UL2272. Alongside having all our chargers Spring Singapore safety certified, every MOBOT device goes through numerous rounds of vigorous stress-testing for safety, usability, durability and riding comfort. This is the assurance customers can get by purchasing from reputable brands as opposed to cheaper online sellers and less experienced retailers.
When will this UL2272 implementation start?
All PMDs must meet the UL2272 safety standard by year 2021. All non-compliant electric devices would then be rendered illegal.
Retailers have been given the deadline of 1st July 2019 to meet the new compliancy standards.
How does it affect me as a consumer / rider?
In general, the implementation of the UL2272 would raise the level of safety standards for the industry as a whole. Consumers can purchase electric scooters with a better peace-of-mind knowing that all compliant models have undergone stringent testing standards.
PMD users who currently own devices that do not comply to the new UL2272 standards can still continue using them up till the end of 2020. MOBOT customers can opt to conveniently trade in these models for UL certified models anytime between now to when the implementation kicks in.
How does it affect you as a distributor and retailer?
Due to the high costs tied to having devices UL certified (30,000 – 50,000USD per device) many small retailers find themselves in a position where they are unable to send the models they carry for testing. Bigger reputable brands would also need to make the change progressively; weighing the costs to the popularity of the different scooter models. Distributors and retailers will likely have to raise their selling price in order to offset the high costs to meet compliancy.
As for MOBOT, all our devices have already gone through our own extensive system of vigorous testing for safety, it is therefore only a matter of sending our scooters to UL for certification. This, however, will still take a few months due to our wide range of models and the process of exporting scooters over for testing. We are also going through careful selection to streamline our wide range of models before sending them to get certified.
Are there any UL2272 electric scooters available?
Yes. As of 3 December 2018, the Ninebot by Segway ES1 and ES2 are UL2272 certified.
The big question: Should I buy an e-scooter now or later?
This boils down to a case of weighing personal priorities. Devices purchased now would have a “legal lifespan” of about 2 years. The general lifespan of the battery of an electric scooter is about 2 and a half years (based on an average level of usage). In fact, similar to mobile phones, a majority of customers choose to upgrade their devices to newer models after 1 to 2 years. This means you can still get a pretty good use out of your new electric scooter if you purchase now. That coupled with our Guaranteed Trade-in Program (GTP) would ensure that your old device would still hold a certain amount of value to offset your next device of choice.
As a MOBOT customer, you can then trade-in your scooter for a newer compliant model at anytime within these 2 years. Furthermore, current models would be cheaper compared to models with the same exact specifications after UL certifications due to the high cost of testing. Therefore, if you are in need of a personal electric vehicle to run daily errands, go to work, ferry your kids to school; By all means, go for it. However, if you are in no rush and don’t mind paying a little extra to get an electric scooter that would definitely meet compliancy in due time, it might not hurt to wait a couple of months or so.
Click on the link to find out more on UL2272 certified electric scooter