As the MMDA recently reminded the public, electric vehicles are subject to regulation. There are restrictions on which type of EVs can travel on which roads, with or without helmets, and with or without a driver’s license and registration. Disregard or neglect to know the rules, and you’ll be slapped with penalties.

You wouldn’t want that, of course, which is why if you are an electric vehicle owner/driver you should take some time to read the guidelines set forth by the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

Issued on May 11th last year, it’s the Administrative Order No. 2021-039 or otherwise known as the Consolidated Guidelines in the Classification, Registration and Operation of All Types of Electric Motor Vehicles.

The document is quite comprehensive on the various e-bikes and e-scooters, which are classified into different categories as summarized below.

Table of Contents

Personal Mobility Scooter

Applicable E-vehicles

Three- or four-wheeled vehicles that are operated with or without pedaling, with a motor power rating of less than 300 watts and a max speed not exceeding 12.5km/hr.

Road Restrictions

  • Limited to private roads (if permitted by internal regulations on these private roads) and designated pedestrian walkways, bicycle lanes, and other similar lanes.

Helmet: Bicycle helmet required

Driver’s License and Registration: Not required

LTO-electric-scooters-category-L1a-L1b
Credit: Category L1a and L1b / NOYPIGEEKS

Electric Kick Scooter

Applicable E-vehicles

Similar to personal mobility scooters, but with only two wheels.

Road Restrictions

Limited to barangay roads and designated pedestrian walkways, bicycle lanes and other similar lanes.

Helmet: Motorcycle helmet required

Driver’s License and Registration: Not required

Category L1a

Applicable E-vehicles

  • Two-wheeled electric mopeds and bicycles that are operated with or without pedaling, with max speed not exceeding 25km/hr.

Road Restrictions

  • Limited to barangay local roads, as well as designated bicycle and similar lanes
  • May pass (but only to cross) national and other types of roads that intersect with allowed roads
  • Cannot be used for public transport purposes

Helmet: Bicycle helmet required on the road

Driver’s License and Registration: Not required

Category L1b

Applicable E-vehicles

Similar to vehicles in L1a, but with max speed not exceeding 50km/hr.

Road Restrictions

  • Allowed to go beyond barangay roads and use other local roads, as long as the vehicle stays at the part of the road closest to the edge
  • May pass (but only to cross) main thoroughfares and national roads that intersect with allowed roads, as long as the driver yields the right of way to incoming traffic
  • Cannot be used for public transport purposes

Helmet: Motorcycle helmet required

Driver’s License and Registration: Not required

Category L2a

Applicable E-vehicles

Three-wheeled electric mopeds that are operated with or without pedaling, with max speed not exceeding 25km/hr

Road Restrictions

  • Limited to private and barangay roads only, as well as bicycle lanes
  • May pass (but only to cross) main thoroughfares and national roads that intersect with allowed roads, provided that the driver yields the right of way to incoming traffic
  • Cannot be used for public transport purposes

Helmet: Bicycle helmet required on the road

Driver’s License and Registration: Not required

LTO-electric-scooters-category-L2a-L2b
Credit: Category L2a and L2b / NOYPIGEEKS

Category L2b

Applicable E-vehicles

Similar to vehicles in L2a, but with max speed not exceeding 50km/hr.

Road Restrictions

  • Allowed to go beyond barangay roads and use other local roads, as long as the vehicle stays at the part of the road closest to the edge
  • May pass (but only to cross) main thoroughfares and national roads that intersect with allowed roads, as long as the driver yields the right of way to incoming traffic
  • Cannot be used for public transport purposes

Helmet: Motorcycle helmet required

Driver’s License and Registration: Required

Category L3

LTO-electric-scooters-category-L3
Credit: Category L3 / NOYPIGEEKS

Applicable E-vehicles

E-motorcycles, or two-wheeled vehicles propelled solely by electrical motor, with max speed exceeding 50km/hr.

Road Restrictions

Allowed in all types of roads, but slow vehicle units may not access highways if they don’t meet the minimum power rating as determined by the Department of Transportation

Can be used for public transportation, but subjected to regulations

Helmet: Duly approved motorcycle helmet required

Driver’s License and Registration: Required

Category L4 and L5

Applicable E-vehicles

E-tricycles, or three-wheeled vehicles propelled solely by electrical motor, with a motor power rating of at least 1000 watts, a max speed not exceeding 50km/hr, and a max curb weight of 600kg.

LTO-electric-scooters-category-L4-L5
Credit: Category L4 and L5 / NOYPIGEEKS

Road Restrictions

  • Allowed to go beyond barangay roads and use other local and tertiary national roads
  • May pass (but only to cross) main thoroughfares and national roads that intersect with allowed roads, as long as the driver yields the right of way to incoming traffic
  • Can be used as for-hire private transport as authorized by local government units, and for such purpose can traverse national highways and main thoroughfares designated by ordinance, as long as the vehicle stays at the part of the road closest to the edge
  • Prohibited from using limited access highways

Helmet: Not required

Driver’s License and Registration: Required

Category L6 and L7

Applicable E-vehicles

E-quads (electric quadricycles), or four-wheeled microcars propelled solely by electrical motor. E-quads are further classified into light (L6) and heavy (L7) e-quads depending on unladen weight, motor power rating, and whether or not the max speed exceeds 45km/hr.

Road Restrictions

  • Allowed to go beyond private and barangay roads and use other local and tertiary national roads
  • May pass (but only to cross) main thoroughfares and national roads that intersect with allowed roads, as long as the driver yields the right of way to incoming traffic
  • Can be used as for-hire private transport as authorized by local government units, and for such purpose can traverse national highways and main thoroughfares designated by ordinance, as long as the vehicle stays at the part of the road closest to the edge
  • Prohibited from using limited access highways

Helmet: Not required

Driver’s License and Registration: Required

LTO-electric-scooters-category-L6-L7
Credit: Category L6 and L7 / NOYPIGEEKS

Other Categories

Electric vehicles that do not match any of the description of the above categories may be in a different classification outside e-scooters and e-bikes. These include Category M for electric cars, SUVs and jeepneys and Category N for electric trucks.

E-bike and E-scooter Penalties

Electric vehicle owners, drivers and/or passengers who fail to abide by the guidelines are subject to different penalties. For instance, failure to carry a certificate of registration comes with a Php1,000 penalty.

The same fine is applied to operating on restricted roads. Not wearing the required helmet is met with a Php1,500 penalty, whereas using unregistered/expired EVs will get you a Php10,000 fine. Other penalties are enumerated in the DOTC Joint Administrative Order No. 2014-01.

Difficulty in Registration of Electric Bikes and Scooters

Although AO 2021-039 is already in effect since 2021, some users on social media have expressed their frustration at the seeming lack of enforcement of the administrative order, particularly on vehicle registration.

Regardless, EV owners are advised to err on the side of caution and to be familiar with AO 2021-039, a full copy of which is available online. LTO services are available via the LMTS portal.



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