What is WLTP?

22 Jul 2019 by Lisa Simm

What is WLTP?

WLTP stands for worldwide harmonised light vehicle test procedure.

WLTP was brought in to replace the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) system to measure fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and pollutant emissions. The NEDC system has become outdated due to advances in technology and changing driving conditions. 

NEDC was based on a theoretical driving profile whereas WLTP uses real-driving data, to give a more accurate driving profile, closer to the figures people will achieve on their daily drive. It was developed to become a streamlined global test cycle across different world regions. 

The WLTP Test

The WLTP test is now divided into four parts at different average speeds; low, medium, high and extra high. Each part contains a variety of different driving phases including stops, accelerations and braking phases, which mimic day-to-day driving. 

As some cars are available in different versions and with different powertrains, they may be tested with WLTP for the cars lightest and heaviest versions.  

When will WLTP come into force?

WLTP is already in force, having officially been applied to new car models since September 2017 and all-new car registrations since September 2018.

Unsold new vehicles approved under the old test, can still be sold under the NEDC system until September 2019. During this transition period, some cars may show a dual rating.

While going into 2020, the European Commission will convert today’s NEDC-based CO2 emission targets to specific WLTP CO2 targets of comparable stringency. 

Will it affect me?

The changes to the WLTP ratings will have a limited effect on consumers. The fuel consumption of a car will appear differently, as it will show the mpg capabilities for each of the different parts of the test.

list of mpg capabilities

WLTP tax changes

Cars under WLTP tests are likely to produce higher CO2 emissions due to the more rigorous procedures and lengthier test, however, this will not alter the amount of tax you currently pay. But bear in mind, this could change when the government reassess tax bands in April 2020.

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