What Does the Ingress Protection (IP) Code Mean for Electric Bikes and E-Scooters?
E-bikes and e-scooters are never 100% waterproof but they come with different degrees of water and dust resistance.
The Ingress Protection (IP) Rating sets the level of protection an e-bike, e-scooter, or e-moped has against dust, accidental contact, and water.
How is the IP Rating is Determined?
The IP classification is set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) which is represented by 82 countries to establish worldwide quality standards when it comes to protecting electronic devices, including e-bikes and e-scooters, from objects and water.
The commission is a non-profit, non-governmental entity composed of electrical engineers, academics, and industry experts who determine the standards.
Depending on how the e-bike or e-scooter manufacturer seals the battery compartment, any compartment with circuit boards, and cables, will determine the IP rating for that particular vehicle.
Reading the IP Rating Codes
The code is formatted as IP followed by two numbers, for example, IP00. The first number correlates with the protection against contact with foreign objects, such as mechanical hardware, tools, parts of the body, dust, and any sized solid objects. The second number correlates with water resistance.
If an X is found in the IP code, for example, IPX0, this means that the product had not been tested in that classification and cannot guarantee protection.
The First IP Rating Number
Ratings 1 through 4 help discern how much of a risk there is of coming in accidental contact with charged electricity. These rankings should be taken into consideration when children and pets will be playing around the e-bikes and e-scooters.
If the e-bike or scooter is to be ridden in dirty, dusty, or sandy locations, ratings 5 and 6 should be considered.
Let’s look at the first number and what it means pertaining to foreign objects:
- 0: Does not prevent access or contact from objects.
- 1: Protects from large surfaces of the body from making contact. Denies entry of solid objects greater than 50mm.
- 2: Entry cannot be accessed to hazardous parts by objects such as fingers or solid objects greater than 12.5mm.
- 3: Protects against contact with hazardous parts from items such as a tool or thick wire and denies access from solid objects greater than 2.5mm.
- 4: Denies contact to hazardous parts from items such as a wire, screw, etc. and offers protection against solid objects greater than 1mm.
- 5: All hazardous parts are protected from contact. Dust protected.
- 6: All hazardous parts are protected. Dust-tight.
The Second IP Rating Number
Ratings 1 through 4 ensure that the bike or scooter will operate in the rain as it is protected from water such as splashing or dripping, but it probably won’t be operational if submerged in water.
Having a rating of 7 or 8 may be useful for the planned riding and parking of e-bikes and scooters around oceans, lakes, and rivers. Should they become accidentally submerged in shallow waters, chances are better the e-bike or e-scooter will continue to be operational.
Now, let’s look at the second IP number and how it pertains to water resistance:
- 0: No protection
- 1: Safeguards against water drops.
- 2: Shields against water drops at a 15-degree angle.
- 3: Protects against water sprays at a 60-degree angle.
- 4: Water splashing from any angle is denied.
- 5: Water jets from any angle will not penetrate.
- 6: Protected against powerful water jets and heavy seas.
- 7: Is not affected by temporary submersion in water for 30 minutes at 1-meter depth.
- 8: Is not affected by temporary submersion in water with depths greater than 1 meter.
- 9K: Protects against high pressure associated with steam cleaning.
Examples of IP Ratings for E-bikes
The ZuGo Rhino Step-Thru e-bike has a large moped-style platform that has an IP67 rating, which means it is dust-tight and is not bothered by temporary submersion in water for 30 minutes at 1-meter depth. This means that the e-bike is protected from damage from dust, dirt, large rain, and accidental submersion in shallow waters.
The Aventon e-bikes have an IPX4 protection rating. The X in the foreign body classification does not signify it has no protection, it just means that it has not been tested and protection cannot be guaranteed. However, in the case of water resistance 4, the e-bike is protected from water splashing from any angle allowing the bike to be ridden or parked in the rain.
Helpful Tips on IP Ratings
The first thing to think about when buying an e-bike or e-scooter is to consider what it would be mostly used for. Using it to commute daily, ride in dirt, gravel, or sandy trails, or just having family fun on the weekends will have an impact on what IP-rating to choose.
Choosing an e-bike to commute daily may need a higher IP rating in both the foreign body and water resistance categories than the e-bike bought for family fun on the weekends. The e-bike chosen for mostly riding trails may need a higher IP rating in the foreign body category.
The climate where the e-bike or scooter will be ridden is another fact to consider. If the e-bike or scooter will be ridden in a mostly wet climate, as opposed to a mostly dry climate, the IP water resistance rating will be a huge factor in the decision. And, if you want to enhance the protection, installing fenders on the e-bike doesn’t hurt either.