Thus there was no in­cen­tive to lower the ac­tual weight of an ex­am­ple sit­ting in the mid­dle of the band. In WLTP, both the light­est (most eco­nom­i­cal) and heav­i­est (least eco­nom­i­cal) ver­sions are tested. WLTP will also fac­tor in the ef­fect of op­tions that can be spec­i­fied and pro­duce fig­ures for in­di­vid­ual ex­am­ples. Cur­rently, there is a lot of ac­tiv­ity at rolling roads around the world as car mak­ers mea­sure their cars to the new stan­dard and also quan­tify the im­pact of op­tions such as wider wheels and tyres.

What will be the ef­fects of WLTP? Claimed fuel econ­omy fig­ures for all cars will drop, and CO2 emis­sions will rise. Cur­rently, we are in a tran­si­tion pe­riod where fig­ures for new cars can be found for both NEDC and WLTP, but from Septem­ber this year all new cars sold will have to have a WLTP rat­ing. An equiv­a­lent NEDC CO2 rat­ing can still be used for cal­cu­lat­ing new-car tax but, ac­cord­ing to the VCA (Ve­hi­cle Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Agency), ‘at some point’ only the WLTP rat­ing will be used. If at this un­spec­i­fied point the UK gov­ern­ment CO2 tax bands haven’t changed to re­flect this, new-car buy­ers will be pay­ing more tax, even though the car’s emis­sions have not changed.

There may be more tax to be paid be­cause of op­tions cho­sen too, as their ef­fect on CO2 emis­sions will be in­cluded

in that car’s rat­ing. Buy­ers who in the past might have splashed any left-over budget on wider wheels and tyres might think again be­cause they’re a dou­ble­whammy, in­creas­ing rolling re­sis­tance and aero­dy­namic drag. Op­tions with a neu­tral or ben­e­fi­cial CO2 ef­fect might be­come more pop­u­lar– low-rollingre­sis­tance tyres and aero kits. Re­mem­ber the Polo Blue­mo­tion?

Per­haps the new test will also pro­duce more re­al­is­tic econ­omy num­bers for tur­bocharged en­gines. Cur­rently, they look good in the NEDC test be­cause they can be set up to spend very lit­tle of the test on boost. Maybe very ef­fi­cient, nat­u­rally as­pi­rated en­gines will see a re­vival, which would be good for en­thu­si­asts be­cause ef­fi­ciency means more power as well as econ­omy. There is a greater in­cen­tive to make cars lighter, too, and as men­tioned ear­lier, that’s good for over­all dy­nam­ics and, so, good for us en­thu­si­asts.

Buy­ers who in the past might have splashed any left‑over budget on wider wheels and tyres might think again

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