The new ‘real world’ emissions and fuel economy test cycle for cars in Europe is pushing cars’ ‘official’ efficiency down… quite a lot.
It would never have taken a rocket scientist to figure that one out, but now we have the first sets of numbers from which to judge. The difference is around 15 per cent. Autocar has singled out the new Up GTI as an example, dropping from 49mpg under the old NEDC test cycle to 42mpg on the new World Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, or WLTP.
Before you say it, we know it should be WHLVTP. But it isn’t.
The hottest Up’s emissions rise from 110g/km to a range of 127-129g/km, because the new system takes into account the extra weight of optional extras that nudge the figures up. Entry-level and high-spec versions are tested to get an emissions window.
Fundamentally, looking at the big picture, this means that legally-binding European emissions targets are now almost impossible to achieve without a mass – and rapid – exodus to electric and plug-in hybrid cars. Hence why Volkswagen is rather keen to get some more electric cars built, pronto.
The Up GTI is the first Volkswagen to have been tested on the new cycle. The good news is that if we were to take an educated guess on the turbocharged 1.0-litre city car, we’d say that the new 42mpg average should be very achievable.
The WLTP test was introduced in September but only applies to vehicles being registered for Type Approval for the first time, so existing cars’ figures won’t change. It does mean that, for a time, some cars’ brochure figures will be NEDC-based and others will be sourced from the WLTP.
In turn, that means it will make some all-new cars look much less efficient than their older rivals, which will have steam coming out of the ears of more than a few suit-wearers over the next few years. It looks like positive news for the consumer in the long run, though, with more realistic expectations for fuel economy.