From September 2018 all new cars registered in Europe, India, South Korea and Japan will have to report their official fuel economy and CO2 figures according to the WLTP, says David Miles.
This acronym means Worldwide harmonised Light vehicle Test Procedure and in Europe it replaces the outdated New European Driving Cycle test introduced in the 1980’s.
The new WLTP method is supposed to better reflect the real-world consumption and emission performance of new cars, but it’s not that straightforward, of course.
As we know the biggest issue regarding real-life fuel economy is predominately down to the driver: how they drive, their speed, the type of roads and traffic encountered and the load being carried at any given time.
Legislating for all those conditions to provide an accurate overall figure is impossible so it could be they are no more realistic than before.
The new WLTP programme was known about long before the more recent exposure of what we know as ‘dieselgate’ where cheating software was used in each car to falsify the true fuel economy and CO2 emission figures. So those manufacturers using that cheating software do not only have to remove it and rectify the cars using it, they now have to re-test their latest new cars to be sold from September onwards under the WLTP programme.
In theory the cheating software could have been used to falsify the new WLTP figures had ‘dieselgate’ not happened.
So now there is a rush to get new cars WLTP type-approval tested and fit for sale and for some that is proving to be an impossible task. The Volkswagen Group of brands have already said there will be a shortage of some models until these tests are completed.
This could be the case for Daimler and their Mercedes-Benz brand who is the latest manufacturer to have instigated a rectification programme to remove cheating software. Some current cars classified as coming to the end of their lifecycle, and so tested under the outgoing NEDC method, can still be sold as ‘new’ until September 2019. Volvo say their entire range has been tested for WLTP compliancy.
The new WLTP testing parameters include a longer, in distance and in time, Dynamic testing cycle more representative of real driving with 52% urban and 48% non-urban driving phases, a higher average speed of 28.3mph instead of 20.7mph and a higher 80mph top speed instead of 72.7mph.
Additional optional equipment now has to be included and instead of a reading being taken at a fixed gearchange point, normally the highest gear ratio, the vehicle will now be measured at different gearchange steps.
Should CO2 emissions be found to be higher under the WLTP testing procedure than the outgoing NEDC method, in the UK customers will pay more VED road tax and company car Benefit-in-Kind tax as they are both charged at variable rates according to the vehicle’s CO2 emissions.