The WLTP certification cycle measures the energy consumption of a vehicle as well as its polluting emissions, according to a realistic protocol valid in Europe as well as in Asia.
What is the WLTP cycle?
To compare the different vehicles on the market, it is necessary to have a common evaluation rule that takes into account pollution and energy consumption. For this purpose, the European Union established the NDEC (New European Driving Cycle) homologation cycle in 1973. The latter was revised 23 years later to keep up with the evolution of the automotive world. However, the results obtained were often too far off from reality, due to an overly theoretical process of vehicle use conditions.
With this in mind, the European Union has developed a new homologation cycle, called WLTP, which stands for Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedures. It came into force in September 2017 for new vehicles on the market and was extended a year later to all vehicles sold. Since January 1, 2019, car manufacturers have been presenting WLTP results for each passenger car, and since January 1, 2020, for light commercial vehicles as well.
Although the NDEC cycle is still regularly used in China to announce the range of electric vehicles, because it is more favourable than the WLTP cycle, the latter is widely adopted in Asia.
Reduce your costs by 3 to 6%.
Discover our SaaS solution to manage all the vehicles in your fleet.
What are the differences between the NDEC and WLTP cycles?
The new WLTP test takes into account the evolution of driving. Roads and vehicles have changed significantly between the creation of the NDEC test in 1973 and the introduction of the WLTP test in 2017. The European Union has deemed it necessary to take these developments into account and adapt the homologation cycle so that it could serve as a reference point for assessing fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions by vehicles.
The main difference is that the old NDEC test was based on an approval cycle that was too theoretical and was considered to be far removed from real-life conditions. The new WLTP cycle is based on a test cycle in real traffic conditions.
In an NDEC cycle, a single driving cycle was considered over a total distance of 11 kilometres, all performed at an average speed of 34 km/h. The test was performed in 20 minutes with a simulation split between 66% urban and 34% non-urban conditions. The maximum speed taken into account was 120 km/h and the measurements were performed with an ambient temperature between 20 and 30°C.
The evolution of the automotive world and infrastructure has led to the creation of the WLTP homologation cycle which pushes the measurements and test conditions further. To represent real-world conditions, the test duration is increased from 20 to 30 minutes and the maximum speed recorded is 131 km/h. Several dynamic tests are carried out to produce valid average values, and the route goes from 11 to 23.25 kilometres with an average speed of 46.5 km/h, much closer to reality. Proportions of urban driving simulation decrease to 52%, from 66% previously.
Two other important points are taken into account in the WLTP cycle: during the tests, instead of shifting the gearboxes at a fixed speed on all vehicles as done in the NDEC test, the WLTP adapts to the vehicle, which also makes it closer to the realistic driving of the vehicle. Furthermore, the test temperature is 23°C, which is a fixed temperature, but it is corrected to 14°C for the measurement of CO2 emissions.
What impact does the WLTP cycle have on corporate fleets?
By making the test more realistic, the figures announced are closer to what users and fleet managers experience themselves. Whether it is the range of electric vehicles or the fuel consumption of a combustion vehicle, the figures are now realistic and not underestimated as in the past. However, this also means that CO2 emissions are higher than what was announced before the WLTP certification cycle came into force.
According to the 2021 ecotax, there is a 50 € penalty applied for the emission of 133 grams of CO2 per kilometre. For vehicles that emit more than 218 g/km, the penalty reaches its maximum value, capped at 30 000 €. The penalty does not apply to vehicles powered by electric or hydrogen engines that do not emit any pollutants during use.
However, the only corporate vehicles that fall under the ecotax are the M1 and N1 passenger vehicles (with 5 seats and a pick-up type body, or vehicles intended for the transport of passengers and their luggage): light commercial vehicles do not qualify for it. For the vehicles who are subject to it, the penalty must be paid when the vehicle is first registered in France (new or used).
For companies, the WLTP homologation cycle makes it possible to know the real consumption of a vehicle before its purchase, which allows them to choose the most efficient one, know the actual autonomy of electric vehicles, but also the vehicle’s environmental impact with the polluting emissions emitted during its daily use. This is all the more relevant in an era where companies are ‘greening their fleets’, teaching eco-driving, and paying attention to their CSR.
Our solution is dedicated to the moblity management. In addition to the expense reports management you can plan, book and track your business trips. It is also possible to manage your car fleet.