E-bike, pedelec or S-pedelec – what are the main differences?

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E-bikes are in vogue – and they are particularly popular as company bikes. But what most of us would call an e-bike doesn’t quite count as one in the eyes of the law. In this article, we will examine which vehicles are considered e-bikes under the Road Traffic Act, what the difference is between them and pedelecs and S-pedelecs is, and why we use the term e-bike anyway.

Definition: what is an e-bike?

An e-bike is simply a bicycle provided with electric motor assistance. That’s probably how most of us see it. Road traffic regulations, however, define e-bikes only as two-wheeled vehicles that can be ridden without any muscle power at all. Strictly speaking, pedal-assisted bikes are not e-bikes. However, since this collective term has come to be applied to any bicycle that has an electric motor – including those with electric pedal assistance – we at Bikeleasing-Service often refer to pedelecs and S-pedelecs as e-bikes.

Pedelec and S-pedelec: speed makes the difference

But even though the term e-bike refers to both pedelecs and S-pedelecs and the two bike types are hard to tell apart visually, there is one key difference: speed. The “S” of the S-pedelec stands for speed, because while the electric drive on pedelecs without an “S” only supports riders up to a speed of 25 km/h when pedaling, the maximum speed that S-pedelec riders can reach via pedal assistance is 45 km/h.

Different rules for different types of e-bike

The difference of 20 km/h not only means that the S-pedelec is faster; it also puts the S-pedelec into a different vehicle category: Unlike pedelecs, which are considered bicycles, they count as mopeds. For this reason, different rules apply to S-pedelecs than to pedelecs, both in terms of traffic and tax law. For example, S-pedelecs are not yet allowed to be used on bike paths, and they require an insurance license plate. S-pedelec riders must be at least 16 years old, are obliged to wear a helmet in road traffic and need a corresponding driver’s license.

S-pedelec as a company bike

Since the classification of the S-pedelec as a moped has tax implications, there are also some differences in company bike leasing conditions if the bike of your choice is an S-pedelec. For example, the taxable monetary benefit is assessed on the basis of the 0.25% rule – regardless of whether the S-pedelec is leased via salary conversion or provisioned as a perk. In the case of an e-bike with pedal assistance up to a maximum of 25 km/h, however, the associated monetary benefit is not imputed if the leased company bike is provisioned as a perk. Also, by analogy to a company car, the commute to work is taxed as a monetary benefit at 0.03% of the RRP for the S-pedelec.

Pedelec or S-pedelec? Which e-bike is the better company bike?

In principle, both pedelecs and S-pedelecs can be leased as company bikes. However, the slower pedelec is significantly more common. This is obviously due to the classification of S-pedelecs as mopeds and the associated legal requirements. In addition, many cyclists feel that the pedal assistance on pedelecs is sufficient. However, an S-pedelec as a company bike also has advantages; its higher speed makes the speed e-bike ideal for replacing the car on longer routes and is thus good for you and for the environment.

E-bike-leasing – for the motorized bike of your dreams

Whether you should opt for a “normal” pedelec or its speedy sibling when leasing an e-bike depends, among other things, on how far you want to travel with it. Also, you should clarify with your employer whether the company permits an S-pedelecs as a company bike before you start looking for your dream e-bike. Your employer doesn’t yet offer any company bike leasing? You will find useful information and compelling points on our website: www.bikeleasing.de/en/employers


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