WLTP, what does it mean?

You may have seen that a new test procedure was launched in 2017. The World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, or WLTP as it’s more commonly known, is a new test that will give motorists a better idea of the fuel consumption and range of new cars (both internal combustion and electric).

The previous lab test, the New European Driving Cycle was designed in the 1980s, but due to evolutions in technology and driving conditions has become outdated. The United Nations Working Party on Vehicle Regulations has therefore developed the new test, WLTP, which has been incorporated into European Union legislation.

While the NEDC used a theoretical driving profile, the new drive cycle, WLTP, has been developed using real-driving data gathered from around the world. This ensures a more robust test, better representing everyday driving.

The driving cycle is divided into four parts: low, medium, high and extra high, and each one contains a variety of driving phases, speeds, stops, acceleration and braking. Cars will be tested in such a way as to take into account any options fitted to the vehicle, so each individual vehicle will have its own specific CO2 and fuel consumption information.

WLTP was developed with the aim of being used as a global test procedure with common cycles across different world regions. However, while the WLTP has a common global ‘core’, the European Union and other regions will apply the test in different ways depending on their local environmental, economic and traffic situations. Europe is the first region to apply the procedure.

So why are vehicle manufacturers still quoting NEDC ranges?

The WLTP test only applies to new cars that were type approved after September 1 2017. Type approval is the means by which a new vehicle is tested to ensure it adheres to the correct safety and environmental requirements before it can be registered. From 1 September 2018 manufacturers will need to provide WLTP based emissions based results for all cars.

This means that there will be a period of time when some vehicles in showrooms will have been approved under NEDC and some under WLTP. Fleet average CO2 targets remain on NEDC up until 2020/2021 and to support this, an NEDC-equivalent set of data will also be generated for those vehicles approved under WLTP The NEDC-equivalent CO2 value will be used for taxation in the UK until April 2020. In order for consumer’s to continue to compare models with one another, this will also be used for point-of-sale information such as labelling in the short term.

If you’re still confused about what WLTP means for you, more information can be found on the ACEA website, here.

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