WLTP strikes again...

911 Porsche World - - News And Views -

Porsche is among a num­ber of car mak­ers who have tem­po­rar­ily halted pro­duc­tion of plug-in hy­brid mod­els. The move comes in re­sponse to the in­tro­duc­tion of the new WLTP (World­wide har­monised Light ve­hi­cles Test Pro­ce­dure) regime, which came into force in the EU at the be­gin­ning of Septem­ber.

As a con­se­quence of WLTP, most if not all mod­els will see an in­crease in their rated CO2 emis­sions lev­els. Ac­cord­ing to the Ger­man As­so­ci­a­tion of the Au­to­mo­tive In­dus­try, the test­ing pro­ce­dure for the new WLTP sys­tem is par­tic­u­larly in­ten­sive. “These ve­hi­cles com­plete the test sev­eral times. They start with a full bat­tery. The cy­cle is re­peated un­til the bat­tery is empty,” it says.

The test is then re­peated with the bat­tery on empty and this multi-stage process is used to de­ter­mine CO2 emis­sions more pre­cisely, along with elec­tri­cal and to­tal range. In the case of plug-in hy­brid mod­els, it’s thought the new test will push many mod­els over 50g/km. That, in turn, would see those mod­els lose ex­ten­sive tax ben­e­fits and other sub­si­dies ap­plied to elec­tric and plug-in hy­brid in many Euro­pean ter­ri­to­ries.

Plug-in hy­brid cars, of course, re­fer to mod­els with both com­bus­tion en­gines and bat­tery-elec­tric drive that sup­port ex­ter­nal charg­ing sources. Mild hy­brids, such as the stan­dard Toy­ota Prius, have both elec­tric and com­bus­tion drive sources but charge their bat­ter­ies ex­clu­sively from brake re­gen­er­a­tion and can­not be con­nected to an ex­ter­nal power source.

For some brands and mod­els, it’s thought the pro­duc­tion halt sim­ply re­flects pri­or­i­ties in terms of hav­ing cars cer­ti­fied for sale un­der the new rules. Fa­cil­i­ties for con­duct­ing the more in­ten­sive WLTP test­ing are lim­ited and the new regime also de­mands that ev­ery pos­si­ble trim and spec level is in­di­vid­u­ally tested, putting a huge load on lim­ited re­sources. How­ever, for some mod­els, man­u­fac­tur­ers could opt to in­crease the size of the in­stalled bat­tery to en­sure CO2 emis­sions stay within tax and ben­e­fit bound­aries.

Cur­rently, Porsche has halted pro­duc­tion of its hy­brid Panam­era/cayenne mod­els. "We will not start tak­ing or­ders again un­til the cars are be­ing built, the tim­ing of which has not yet been con­firmed," a Porsche spokesper­son told Au­to­mo­tive News. Porsche has not com­mented whether it in­tends to in­crease the bat­tery ca­pac­ity of its hy­brid mod­els. But the halt in pro­duc­tion will surely be hav­ing a ma­jor im­pact. Fig­ures for the first half of 2018 show that 69% of Panam­era sales in Europe were plug-in hy­brid.

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