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The world of automobile testing is an intricate one. To accurately assess fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, and pollutant levels, laboratory tests are conducted using specific driving cycles. These standardized procedures enable consumers to compare different car models effectively. In Europe, a new testing protocol called the Worldwide harmonized Light-duty vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) was implemented on September 1, 2017, gradually replacing the previous New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) protocol.

NEDC: The Old European Driving Cycle

The NEDC was the European driving cycle employed for measuring fuel consumption and emissions in passenger cars and light commercial vehicles. Developed in 1970, it initially focused on urban routes. In 1992, an extra-urban phase was introduced, and since 1997 it has been used to determine consumption and CO2 emissions. However, the NEDC no longer accurately reflects the current driving styles and distances traveled on different road types. The cycle’s average speed is a mere 34 km/h, with low acceleration and a maximum speed of only 120 km/h.

The New WLTP Procedure

The WLTP addresses the limitations of the NEDC by employing new Worldwide harmonized Light-duty vehicle Test Cycles (WLTC) to measure fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, and pollutant levels. The goal of the WLTP protocol is to provide customers with more realistic data that better reflects real-world driving conditions.

Compared to the NEDC, the WLTP procedure features a more dynamic driving profile with significant acceleration. The maximum speed has also been increased to 131.3 km/h, with an average speed of 46.5 km/h. The total cycle time is now 30 minutes, 10 minutes longer than the NEDC, and the distance traveled has doubled to 23.25 kilometers. The WLTP test consists of four parts, simulating urban and suburban driving, as well as driving on extra-urban roads and motorways. Furthermore, the WLTP procedure takes into account various optional vehicle components that impact aerodynamics, rolling resistance, and vehicle mass. This comprehensive evaluation results in a CO2 value that accurately reflects the specific characteristics of each vehicle.

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For car enthusiasts, understanding the intricacies of laboratory testing protocols is essential. The transition from the NEDC to the WLTP ensures that consumers receive more reliable and relevant data for comparing car models. This improved transparency benefits both customers and manufacturers, fostering a more informed and discerning market.

FAQs

Q: Why is laboratory testing necessary for assessing fuel consumption and emissions?

A: Laboratory testing provides standardized and reproducible procedures that enable consumers to compare different car models accurately. The results obtained in laboratory tests are reproducible, ensuring fairness and transparency in the evaluation process.

Q: How does the WLTP differ from the previous NEDC protocol?

A: The WLTP employs new test cycles that better reflect real-world driving conditions, with higher speeds, increased acceleration, and a more comprehensive evaluation of optional vehicle components. This transition aims to provide customers with more realistic and relevant data.

Q: What are the benefits of the WLTP for car enthusiasts?

A: The WLTP’s more accurate assessment of fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, and pollutant levels allows car enthusiasts to make more informed decisions when comparing different models. The improved transparency fosters a more discerning market and encourages manufacturers to develop environmentally-friendly and fuel-efficient vehicles.

Conclusion

In the ever-evolving world of automobile testing, the transition from the NEDC to the WLTP represents a significant step forward. By employing new test cycles that better reflect real-world driving conditions, customers can now access more reliable and relevant data. This improved transparency benefits both car enthusiasts and manufacturers, fostering a market that prioritizes fuel efficiency and environmental sustainability.

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