Motorists are set to benefit from more realistic emissions and fuel economy performance data after two new EU car tests came into force last month, replacing a single test that hadn’t been updated for 20 years.
Since 1 September, every new car model destined for UK showrooms must undergo a new test called the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, which measures all regulated emissions, as well as CO2 and fuel economy. Like the previous test, it is conducted in controlled laboratory conditions for consistency across every test and every new vehicle in every country.
However, it is faster, longer and more dynamic, with a greater range of vehicle and engine speeds, engine load, gear changes and temperatures. It also takes into account modern vehicle technology. And, because it is based on some half a million miles of real driving data, it will be far closer to the conditions most people experience on the road today.
Secondly, in a world first, new models being developed for sale in the UK will also need to prove their air quality credentials by passing a brand new Real Driving Emissions test using special state-of-the-art portable emissions measurement equipment. This equipment analyses the trace tailpipe emissions of pollutants, including NOX and particulates, while the car is driven in a wide range of both everyday and extreme conditions. This will ensure vehicles meet the tough Euro 6 emissions standard on the road as well as in the lab.
“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,” said Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders. “Combined, these new and demanding tests will 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.”
Newly designed cars will start to be tested under the new regime over the coming months, and consumers could start to see these brand new models arrive in showrooms from as early as next year. By 1 September 2018, all new cars on sale will have undergone WLTP testing and by 1 September 2019, all will have undergone the full RDE testing.