From next month, shops can sell only devices that comply with new fire safety standard
PMDs going cheap as new safety norm deadline nears Mr Chew Boon Hur, general manager of personal mobility device retailer Mobot, explaining the UL2272 certification to his customers, dispatch rider Jamalludin Kasim (far left), 34, and retiree Kasim Ali, 65. ST PHOTOS: SHINTARO TAY

Personal mobility device (PMD) shops are offering steep discounts on their products as they try to clear their stock, a week ahead of a deadline for them to ensure that their devices adhere to new fire safety requirements.

Next month, shops will be required to sell and display only PMDs that comply with the UL2272 standard. This is a set of safety requirements covering the electrical drive train system of PMDs, including the battery system.
Mr Chew Boon Hur, general manager of retailer Mobot, said his company's PMDs - which can easily sell for upwards of $500 - are being let go for as low as $300.
Other retailers are also getting in on the action - Falcon PEV is selling popular models at discounts of $300 or more, while PassionGadgets has been holding regular live auctions of its PMDs on its Facebook page.
"But we are letting customers know that at this price, they can only use them for the next 18 months," noted Mr Chew.
Users who have PMDs that do not comply with the UL2272 standard can continue to ride them until the end of next year. From 2021, it will be illegal to use non-compliant devices in public areas.
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By the end of this month, e-scooter users will also need to register their devices, which costs $20 and can be done on the OneMotoring website or at all SingPost offices.
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The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has said it will not accept the registration of non-UL2272-compliant models from next month.
Compliant PMDs will have a sticker, usually found under the footboard, from safety firm UL or one of four other organisations - CSA, Intertek, SGS or TUV.
The standard was introduced following a spate of fires related to PMDs in recent years.
There were 74 fires involving e-bikes, e-scooters and other PMDs last year - a 51 per cent jump from 2017, when there were only 49 such fires, according to the Singapore Civil Defence Force.
On June 8, there were two separate fires involving PMDs at Housing Board flats in Ang Mo Kio and Marine Parade. One resident was burnt in the Marine Parade fire.
Retailers here have largely sold off their non-UL2272-compliant models and brought in devices that are compliant, said Mr Wilson Seng, president of the PMD Retailers Association, which represents about 25 stores.
He added that those that have not sold off their non-compliant devices are likely to export their remaining stock.
Mobot has six models that comply with the new fire safety standard and expects to offer three more in the coming months.
Mr Chew noted that one concern about UL2272-certified devices is their shorter battery life, which means users cannot travel as far on a single charge.
Mr Denis Koh, chairman of PMD enthusiast group Big Wheels Scooters, noted, however, that popular models are already getting UL2272 certified.
A new fire safety standard currently being developed in Europe, called EN 17128, is also likely to widen the number of PMDs available here if accepted by the authorities, said Mr Chew.
The LTA had said previously that it was studying other standards and will consider them if they are deemed "sufficiently able to reduce fire risks for motorised PMDs, and are suitable for our local context".
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PMD owners who wish to dispose of non-compliant devices can contact e-waste recyclers for assistance, said the National Environment Agency. Its website lists four companies - Sustainable Asset Management Solutions, SMC Industrial, TES and Virogreen - which can recycle old PMDs.
However, Mr Koh said there is no rush to get rid of non-UL2272-complaint devices. "It is not a panic situation. Most e-scooters purchased from reliable retailers are safe," he said.
Commercial artist Shahrizal Ismail, 37, said he is still deciding whether to replace his non-compliant e-scooter as the trade-in options do not appeal to him. "By 2021, I might not really need it and the new rules make it kind of a hassle to get a new one."
Next month, shops will be required to sell and display only PMDs that comply with the UL2272 standard. This is a set of safety requirements covering the electrical drive train system of PMDs, including the battery system.

Mr Chew Boon Hur, general manager of retailer Mobot, said his company's PMDs - which can easily sell for upwards of $500 - are being let go for as low as $300.

Other retailers are also getting in on the action - Falcon PEV is selling popular models at discounts of $300 or more, while PassionGadgets has been holding regular live auctions of its PMDs on its Facebook page.

"But we are letting customers know that at this price, they can only use them for the next 18 months," noted Mr Chew.

Users who have PMDs that do not comply with the UL2272 standard can continue to ride them until the end of next year. From 2021, it will be illegal to use non-compliant devices in public areas.

By the end of this month, e-scooter users will also need to register their devices, which costs $20 and can be done on the OneMotoring website or at all SingPost offices.

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has said it will not accept the registration of non-UL2272-compliant models from next month.

Compliant PMDs will have a sticker, usually found under the footboard, from safety firm UL or one of four other organisations - CSA, Intertek, SGS or TUV.

The standard was introduced following a spate of fires related to PMDs in recent years.

There were 74 fires involving e-bikes, e-scooters and other PMDs last year - a 51 per cent jump from 2017, when there were only 49 such fires, according to the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

On June 8, there were two separate fires involving PMDs at Housing Board flats in Ang Mo Kio and Marine Parade. One resident was burnt in the Marine Parade fire.

Retailers here have largely sold off their non-UL2272-compliant models and brought in devices that are compliant, said Mr Wilson Seng, president of the PMD Retailers Association, which represents about 25 stores.

He added that those that have not sold off their non-compliant devices are likely to export their remaining stock.

Mobot has six models that comply with the new fire safety standard and expects to offer three more in the coming months.

Mr Chew noted that one concern about UL2272-certified devices is their shorter battery life, which means users cannot travel as far on a single charge.

Mr Denis Koh, chairman of PMD enthusiast group Big Wheels Scooters, noted, however, that popular models are already getting UL2272 certified.

A new fire safety standard currently being developed in Europe, called EN 17128, is also likely to widen the number of PMDs available here if accepted by the authorities, said Mr Chew.

The LTA had said previously that it was studying other standards and will consider them if they are deemed "sufficiently able to reduce fire risks for motorised PMDs, and are suitable for our local context".

PMD owners who wish to dispose of non-compliant devices can contact e-waste recyclers for assistance, said the National Environment Agency. Its website lists four companies - Sustainable Asset Management Solutions, SMC Industrial, TES and Virogreen - which can recycle old PMDs.

However, Mr Koh said there is no rush to get rid of non-UL2272-complaint devices. "It is not a panic situation. Most e-scooters purchased from reliable retailers are safe," he said.

Commercial artist Shahrizal Ismail, 37, said he is still deciding whether to replace his non-compliant e-scooter as the trade-in options do not appeal to him. "By 2021, I might not really need it and the new rules make it kind of a hassle to get a new one."