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Company car tax from April 2020: measured under new WLTP emission rules
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THE way in which cars will be measured for company car tax purposes – and Vehicle Excise Duty – will change from 06 April, 2020.

On that date, the government is proposing to switch over to the World Light-duty Test Procedure (WLTP) for company car tax alongside the already announced Vehicle Excise Duty change.

With this change it will move away from the current NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) measurement.

WLTP is a laboratory cycle that has been designed to more accurately reflect the likely fuel consumption of vehicles in real world conditions, although the government does recognise this could be influenced by an individual’s driving style and prevailing driving conditions.

Published in a Department for Transport consultation document Road vehicles – Improving air quality and safety, the Department for Transport proposes that all manufacturers change over to the new WLTP fuel consumption figures from January 01, 2019 in promotional material.

This will give company car drivers the first sight of how the changes to fuel consumption and CO2 emissions will vary from 2020.

The DfT’s proposal document says:

“The tougher laboratory test should improve the accuracy of the fuel economy figures quoted by manufactures for comparison purposes.”

It also noted the Euro standards for cars had failed to deliver the expected reductions in nitrogen dioxide (NO2). “The UK led the way in Europe in pushing for tough new type approval standards for cars and vans, including the ‘real world’ driving emissions tests that start to take effect from September this year, alongside tougher laboratory tests.”

The DfT’s consultation period runs from Friday February 02, 2018 and runs until Friday March 02, 2018.

What is WLTP?

WLTP is a new way of measuring the emissions and fuel consumption of cars.

The current NEDC method of measuring car emissions and fuel consumption was designed in the eighties and has become increasingly outdated. It takes 20 minutes to complete.

The new WLTP is based on real driving data and should better match on road performance of cars. It takes 30 minutes to complete.

There are four parts to the WLTP driving cycle and all have different average speeds: low, medium, high and extra high.

Each part of the WLTP driving cycle contains a variety of driving phases, which includes stops, acceleration and braking.

For cars each powertrain configuration will be tested with WLTP for the car’s lightest (most economical) and heaviest (least economical) version.

What is RDE, then?

RDE stands for Real Driving Emissions test. RDE measures emission pollutants, such as NOx, that cars produce while being driven on the road. RDE does not replace the WLTP laboratory test. But is complemantary to WLTP to ensure that cars rally can deliver low emissions during on-road conditions.

Since September 2017 all new types of cars have to be tested for Real Driving Emissions (RDE). This is done using portable emissions (PEMS) testing equipment over real roads.

The target is 80 mg/km NOx. Under Step 1 cars are allowed to go up to 210% of this figure and under Step 2 (RDE2) cars must be within 150% (ie 120mg NOx) by 2020.

The government announced in Budget 2017 that it would introduce an additional 1% surcharge for diesel vehicles that do not meet RDE 2 regulations from April 2018. However, RDE 2 certification is not possible until 2020, so all diesel cars will carry a 4% surcharge until that date.

 

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