WLTP comes into force for new vehicle models in Europe

01 September 2017

WLTP comes into force for new vehicle models in Europe

01 September 2017

Tougher emissions testing has come into force in Europe, as a new testing procedure is introduced, combining both laboratory, Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP), and real driving emissions (RDE) situations.

The new laboratory test replaces the NEDC, which was criticised as being ‘outdated’ following the Dieselgate scandal. It offers a much more realistic testing condition for measuring CO2 emissions, and will therefore offer a more accurate basis for measuring a vehicle’s fuel consumption and pollution levels.

In addition, a new test to measure pollutant emissions on the road, known as the RDE test, will also apply, making Europe the only region in the world to implement such testing.

Under RDE, a car will be driven on public roads over a wide range of conditions using portable measuring equipment. RDE will complement WLTP to ensure that pollutant emission levels, measured during the laboratory test, are confirmed on the road.

The RDE will use special state-of-the-art portable emissions measurement (PEMS) equipment. This very sensitive equipment analyses the trace tailpipe emissions of pollutants, including NOX and particulates, while the car is driven in a wide range of both every-day and extreme conditions. This will ensure vehicles meet the tough Euro 6 emissions standard.

‘The automobile industry has invested heavily to achieve significant improvements in emissions from RDE-compliant Euro 6 vehicles,’ stated ACEA Secretary General, Erik Jonnaert.

‘Indeed, these diesel vehicles will deliver very low pollutant emissions not only in the laboratory, but also on the road. We believe that the introduction of this latest generation of diesel vehicles, supported by fleet renewal plans, will play a strong role in helping cities move towards compliance with EU air quality targets.’

ACEA also welcomes the fact that with RDE there is now one common EU-wide test to measure on-the-road emissions of cars. This should help prevent the confusion caused by using a multitude of different tests, each with varying and incomparable methods and results.

However, the introduction of the new testing procedures will be staggered, meaning only brand-new models will be tested until September 2018, when all existing models will have to display WLTP figures. This means that dealerships may need to publish both WLTP and NEDC results, and work with customers to ensure they can tell the difference and understand why the results between various vehicles may differ.

The new testing procedure will also see multiple versions of cars tested with optional accessories included, to see what their effect on emissions will be. These numbers will also be included with vehicle information, and depending on the equipment, could push models into different tax barriers. Countries also have to ensure the new figures do not affect taxation, as the introduction of the new test procedures includes a mandate that consumers should not be affected financially.

Speaking about the changes, Mike Hawes, chief executive of the UK’s SMMT, comments: ‘We welcome this challenging new regime, which will provide hard evidence that the industry’s ongoing investment in ever more advanced technology is delivering on air quality goals. Combined, these new and demanding tests will soon give consumers emissions performance information that is far closer to what they experience behind the wheel – and inspire greater confidence that the new cars they buy are not only the cleanest, but the most fuel efficient ever produced.’

The industry hopes the introduction of the new tests will restore political and public confidence in the EU emissions tests following the Dieselgate scandal.