Anyone driving an e-scooter in Germany has a lot to consider. In this overview we show the legal framework and the already available e-scooters.
E-scooters – also known as e-scooters – are motor-assisted small electric vehicles that are similar in shape and function to a classic scooter. You can buy them in Germany for many years, but their operation has only been permitted on German roads since June 2019.
Meanwhile there is with the Small electric vehicles regulation (eKFV) a legal framework that clarifies, among other things, questions about helmet, insurance and license plate requirements. These include e-scooters (theme page) and self-balancing vehicles with a holding or steering rod such as Segways. However, e-skateboards (vs e-scooters), e-longboards or e-boards, such as a Razor Hovertrax 2.0 (test report) and kart seats for hoverboards are excluded.
The best e-scooters
TechStage regularly tests new e-scooters. It shows that you should pay attention to safety-related factors such as brakes, stability and tires when using an e-scooter. Our best list of e-scooters makes recommendations. Unfortunately, it is currently the case that the best e-scooters are also the most expensive.
This includes the very good Metz Moover (test report). But the Egret Ten V4 (review) is also really good. We compare all the e-scooters we tested: seven e-scooters with street approval. If you want to try out an e-scooter before you buy it, you can do it with a provider such as Lime, Tier, Bird, Circ, Jump & Voi: (e-scooter rental in comparison).
We collect these contributions and all individual tests on our e-scooter topic page.
Is there an age limit?
- The minimum age for using e-scooters is 14 years. There is a maximum speed of 20 km / h for all age groups.
Is it mandatory to wear a helmet?
- No, there is no compulsory helmet requirement, since e-scooters are designed to have characteristics similar to bicycles. However, the Ministry of Transport recommends a helmet.
Is a driving license necessary?
- No. A driver's license or submission of a moped test certificate for e-scooters with a maximum speed of up to 20 km / h is not necessary. The comparison with a bicycle is also used here.
Do drivers of an e-scooter need insurance?
Can I drive an e-scooter with alcohol?
- Drivers of e-scooters in Germany have to keep to the 0.5 per mille limit. A strict alcohol ban applies to novice drivers during the trial period and drivers under the age of 21. The police consistently investigate violations and punish them by comparable alcohol offenses by car.
Where is driving an e-scooter intended?
- E-scooters are only allowed to ride on bike paths, lanes and bike roads. Different rules apply than for bicycles. Precise details can be found in the guide What you need to know before buying an e-scooter on heise +.
- If there is a built cycle path or a cycle lane, small electric vehicles must use it. This applies regardless of whether the cycle facility is subject to use by cyclists or not. If there are no built cycle paths or cycle lanes, small electric vehicles have to use the lane. In this respect, the road traffic regulations for bicycles and small electric vehicles differ.
Are small electric vehicles allowed to drive on the sidewalk with the engine off?
- No, the sidewalk remains taboo even with the engine switched off. It is not possible to change the vehicle type while a vehicle is in operation, for example by switching off the engine. Pushing is okay.
Can you retrofit commercially available vehicles that do not meet the requirements of the Small Electric Vehicles Regulation?
- Yes. After the ordinance comes into force, manufacturers can apply for a general operating license (ABE) for vehicles that meet the requirements of the Small Electric Vehicle Ordinance. The manufacturer can retrofit vehicles already on the market that do not comply with the regulation. Vehicles that comply with the ordinance but do not have a retrospective general operating license can be placed on the market by individual owners if they meet the relevant technical requirements. The individual acceptance of retrofitted scooters costs around 300 euros. Retrofitting does not make economic sense.
Can small electric vehicles be taken on public transport?
- The Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure supports the transport of small electric vehicles in local public transport (ÖPNV), but cannot oblige to do so. The respective transport company decides on the conditions of carriage.
What applies to previously approved small electric vehicles (e.g. Segways)?
- The Mobility Aid Ordinance (MobHV) has been replaced by the new Small Electric Vehicle Ordinance. However, the authorizations granted thereafter remain valid. As of the entry into force of the new Small Electric Vehicles Ordinance, the regulations contained therein will also apply to vehicles that have already been registered.
What about e-scooters that can drive faster than 20 km / h?
The use of such vehicles, if they are street legal, is regulated as with classic 45cc scooters. The minimum age is 16 years. The top speed at 45 km / h. Insurance, license plate and helmet requirements apply. A class AM driver's license is also required. This is included in driving license classes A, A1, A2, B, BE, T.
What does a scooter have to fulfill in order to receive a general operating permit (ABE) for e-scooters?
- maximum continuous output 500 W.
- Handlebar or grab bar
- 6 km / h up to max. 20th km / h design-related maximum speed
- two independently working brakes
- a lighting system (front, rear light and reflectors)
- a ringing bell
- Overall length 200 cm, width up to 70 cm and total height of 140 cm with no more than 55 kg vehicle weight
- Brake lights and indicators are allowed, but not mandatory; without a turn signal, the driver must signal a change of direction using a hand signal
Street-legal e-scooters in Germany cost between 300 and 2000 euros. Here is a selection of the most popular models.
If the maximum speed of the small electric vehicles is too low, you should take a look at electric scooters with street approval and a maximum speed of 45 km / h. For AM license holders, these are an interesting and affordable alternative.
Would you like a little more? Then electric scooters like the Vespa Elettrica (test report) or the Niu NGT (test report) might be the right choice. All information can be found in the purchase advice for electric scooters up to 45 km / h.
Regardless of whether you like the e-scooters or not, thanks to clear rules and their flexibility, they are an interesting solution for the last mile. Anyone who is flirting with the purchase of an e-scooter now has a huge selection. When buying, you should definitely pay attention to safety-related factors such as disc brakes and stability. The comparison test offers a good starting point: seven e-scooters with road approval. If you want to try out the e-scooter first, you should take a look at one of the numerous rental offers in big cities. We recommend: Lime, Tier, Voi & Circ: Who is the best e-scooter rental company?
All of these articles and much more can be found on the e-scooter topic page.