-- “E-bike companies are fighting to be exempted from right-to-repair laws: The e-bike industry claims it’s a matter of safety, but many argue that it undercuts the environmental potential for electric bikes.”
This article was a really good read and I am interested to see how the right-to-repair develops in the e-bike industry. Both sides have a number of good points. The right-to-repair will definitely help riders reduce both maintenance costs and downtime, and allow for some customization. The ability to repair an e-bike yourself is much more appealing than turning to a bike shop and spending hundreds of dollars to repair a $1200 model.
At the same time, e-bikes have historically had problems with illegal e-bike modification, which compromised these machines and resulted in accidents. In Europe, for example, the development of the e-bike industry was hampered by the widespread illegal modification of these machines early on. Cheap e-bikes were upgraded with more powerful batteries without replacing other key components (e.g., brakes). Such modifications put the operator and others at risk, and voided warranties. In 2020, for example, France banned e-bike tuning. Despite industry and government efforts, souped-up e-bikes continue to be a problem in Europe. Regulators in the US must learn from these lessons and ensure rider safety.
Maybe they can go the way of some industries and the e-bike makers can offer training, and maybe discounted access to parts, warranty coverage, etc in exchange for enticing a repair shop to become a certified mechanic/service provider?
Other industries do it when installation or service makes a big difference to the success of the product and the end-users satisfaction. I'm thinking, for instance, of DuPont's certified fabricators for their quartz and solid surface countertops.
That would allow more service providers to be involved. In places where right-to-repair is a consumer problem, there is a shortage of providers so that finding one is wildly inconvenient, repair times are long, and costs are high.
A hybrid model is likely, and the companies need to find a solution that works for customers. It may take a few years, but they will get there.