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The WLTP standard: new figures for fleets

The so-called Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs) developed and implemented by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) now offers more viable figures on emissions and consumption for consumers. The new test will bring changes to the industry as well, notably more accurate figures for organisations with CO2 targets.

Numbers don't lie, as the old saying goes, but they can be improved. That is what has happened to emissions and consumption values for cars since September 2017, when, in a first step, WLTP was introduced. It will gradually replace the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), which had been in force since the 1980s and was a practical way to compare the values of different cars and models. WLTP has become a major topic of discussion among fleet industry specialists and consumers.

Developing the WLTP was necessary as a response to the transformed world of driving in the early twenty-first century. The test was designed to reflect the emissions and consumption of cars when actually on the road rather than just in the lab.

More information, better projections

As a result of the greater number of criteria, users will most probably see listed figures rise, at times considerably. Naturally, exterior driving conditions and driving styles will continue to remain determining factors in vehicles' emissions and consumption. The new testing procedure is more extensive than the older one, covering a wide range of driving styles and conditions. In fact, WLTP also takes such elements as rim size, leather seats, trailer hooks and sunroofs into account.  

For the first year, that is until September 2018, cars will list both NEDC and WLTP figures. As of September 2018, the NEDC system will gradually be phased out and will disappear completely by 2020. Whenever comparing different vehicles during that period, consumers or fleet managers will have to make sure they are looking at the values for the same tests. Another important aspect is location. The WLTP standard is already being applied in all of Europe, from Iceland to Turkey, Norway, Switzerland, including Liechtenstein and Israel. No timetable has been established for China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, India, or the USA yet.

The paper hits the road

For fleets, introduction of the WLTP will provide greater accuracy in calculations and budgets. Chances are that the company's effective carbon footprint could rise. Values could be up to 25% higher than NEDC figures. This is perfectly normal. At any rate, it is worth remembering that cars are indeed becoming increasingly ecological with time, and the WLTP test will continue to provide solid evidence of this. This could make certain vehicles ineligible for the fleet if the company's car policy has stringent CO2 limits.

Faced with new figures, a fleet manager will have a number of options going forward. One would be to review the car policy. The manager may resort to using cars with lower values or downsizing to meet legal requirements. It could also be the ideal moment to consider plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) and electric vehicles (EVs) to the fleet. One way to introduce these modern alternatives is by using our holistic eMobility solution AlphaElectric. The Electrification Potential Analysis (EPA)  is an in-depth analysis process that is the basis of AlphaElectric and its key USP. It includes a Mobility Consulting Tool (MCT) analysis to examine your particular situation and see how electric mobility could be effectively integrated into your fleet. 

Players will probably have to expect changes in local taxation once the new values have been determined and adjustments made to car policies. So it behoves all players in the supply chain to integrate all emissions and consumption values into their business processes as early as possible. Another option is reaching out to your account manager to make adjustments to the company car policies, as a way to accommodate the more realistic projection for fuel consumption. And of course, we invite you to check in with us on a regular basis to find out more about the impact of WLTP and how you can get ahead of the ball.