Since 1 September 2017, cars newly placed on the market undergo what is known as the WLTP test. However, what does this new consumption and emissions test exactly entail and what are the consequences for you as a driver?
The current measurement method, known as the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), dates back to the 1970s. So not exactly ‘new’, and even less attuned to current technology and traffic density.
Towards a new test
To arrive at a more realistic picture of consumption, the European Union decided to implement a new measurement method: the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, i.e. WLTP. The testing conditions have been altered extensively:
- Cars being driven during the test now do so at a higher average and maximum speed.
- The test distance and duration have also been increased.
- Driving behaviour is more realistic.
- The cars complete a more varied test course (city traffic, non-urban traffic, major roads and motorways).
In short, all these factors align more closely with reality than the outdated NEDC results, which were only actually ever useful for comparing models against each other.
Apples and pears during the transition phase
In an initial phase, as from 1 September 2017, each car newly appearing on the market completes the WLTP test. Only as of 1 September 2018 will the test be required for all new cars being sold. For the time being the old NEDC figures for existing models and the new WLTP data for new cars will be used interchangeably, and that can be the source of some confusion on occasion. It is therefore important to pay close attention to which testing method is being used when comparing the consumption and CO2 emissions of different cars with each other. According to the WLTP test, consumption (and also CO2 emissions) is 20 percent higher than for the same car being tested according to the old method.
What impact does this have on taxes?
Also in the area of taxation the new measurement method can lead to some confusion. CO2 emissions are one of the key parameters used in car taxation, just consider Benefits in Kind (BiK) tax deductibility for company cars. Today, these are based on the NEDC figures. Obviously the point is not that you all of a sudden are required to pay more taxes based on the new measurement method. It’s for this reason that a calculation module has been provided that converts the WLTP values into extrapolated NEDC figures that can serve as a basis for tax calculations.