New car test standard adopted
The United Nations Economics Commission for Europe (UNECE) has announced the adoption of a new standard testing method for measuring CO2 emissions and fuel consumption of cars – the Worldwide Harmonised Light-duty Test Procedures (WLTP).
This is a welcome development because consumers are often frustrated that the fuel consumption values given by manufacturers are almost impossible to achieve under normal driving conditions. The WLTP is considered a more realistic picture of fuel consumption than the current outdated test (NEDC) introduced in 1996.
It closes many of the loopholes currently exploited by car manufacturers. Some stretched the truth of testing by overinflating the tyres to optimise wheels’ rolling resistance, using special motor oils, removing all optional extras (e.g. nearside wing mirrors) or putting tape over cracks around doors and windows.
The WLTP must now be introduced in EU legislation as swiftly as possible so this new test can be applied to type approval of cars by 2017. This WLTP implementation is an urgently-needed first step to ensure the difference is reduced between values measured under test conditions and real life values experienced by consumers on the road. Otherwise without such change, policies including CO2 targets, taxation and information which aim at lowering car CO2 emissions will be seriously flawed.