A big annoyance for many motorists when buying their new vehicle, is the disconnection between real-world fuel economy and the emission figures to what the manufacturer advertises.
When buying a new vehicle,or choosing your next company car, MPG and CO2 emissions are crucial.
To obtain these figures, all vehicles are subject to a test called New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) – a test that hadn’t been updated for 20 years! This NEDC is conducted on a rolling road under laboratory conditions and can be seen to be somewhat unreflective of real-world driving conditions.
However, could this frustrating problem be coming to an end?
As of 1 September 2017, new fuel economy and emissions tests will be introduced. The tests are being introduced as part of European regulations, which are intended to improve air quality and tackle climate change by measuring fuel consumption, CO2, NOx, particulates and carbon monoxide.
Worldwide Harmonised Light-vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP)
Part One is the Worldwide Harmonised Light-vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP) and like NEDC, takes place in a laboratory environment. However, the new tests will be faster, longer, and more dynamic, testing the vehicle at a greater range of engine speeds, load, gear change, and temperatures.
WLTP also takes into consideration additional equipment such as larger alloys or heated seats which will make the vehicle heavier and impact their performance.
Real Driving Emissions Stage 2 (RDE2)
Vehicles will also undertake a 90-minute real-world driving test to assess how the vehicle performs in real-world driving conditions. During the 90-minute test, vehicles will be fitted with emission testing equipment attached to the exhaust pipe.
In order to make test conditions reflective of the real world, vehicles will be required to do equal splits of town, countryside, and motorway driving during the test.
How will this benefit motorists?
The disconnection between real-world fuel economy and emission figures to what is advertised should gradually start to diminish, as the new tests add more accuracy. Therefore, buyers will become better informed when analysing a vehicles CO2 and MPG figures.
It has also been suggested that the previous test presented potential loopholes to manufacturers, enabling them to optimise their results, ‘dieselgate’ being an example. Without these, manufacturers will need to ensure that their vehicles are as efficient and economical as possible.
Impact on fleet
Currently, CO2 emissions are a contributory factor in how much company car tax a company driver pays. These new tests could potentially change the CO2 emission figures for your next company vehicle.
However, for the short-term, the Government have vowed to keep using the NEDC CO2 figures for tax purposes. So current company vehicles and taxation won’t be impacted.
From September 1, 2019, all new vehicles on sale in Britain will undergo this test, with more rigorous standards to be introduced in 2020.