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  • Feb 8, 2023

  • 8 min read


Everything you need to know about WLTP

The new WLTP emissions test came into effect in September 2017, and it’s having a big impact on the way cars are rated for fuel efficiency. Here’s everything you need to know about WLTP, what it is and how it may affect the next car you choose.

What is WLTP?

Let's start with the basics. The WLTP (Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure) is a new test procedure for the certification of light-duty vehicles. It’s the most recent testing method for evaluating the emissions, driving range, and fuel efficiency of new cars. For electric cars, it’s the benchmark test to determine the range of the battery. It's been developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and was introduced in September 2017. Even though the "core" of the WLTP is the same everywhere, the European Union and other regions will use the test in different ways based on their road traffic laws and needs.

The WLTP replaces the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) which has been around since the 1980s, and is designed to provide more realistic emissions and fuel consumption data. This change came about after the emissions scandal, during which it was revealed that some cars were fitted with devices that could cheat emission testing, and as a result 11m cars worldwide are producing more toxic fumes than permitted.

The WLTP applies to all new passenger cars registered in the European Union after 1 September 2018, including EVs. The tests are performed on electric vehicles to work out their rate of electricity consumption and maximum driving range.

How does this affect me?

If you're looking to get a new car, the WLTP is likely to play a role in your decision. Since the test is more like real-world driving, you should use WLTP numbers instead of NEDC numbers to make your choice.

If you're leasing or financing a car, the WLTP might impact your  monthly payments. This is because the WLTP can lead to higher emissions numbers and, as a result, higher taxes. The good news is that these higher tax rates don’t affect electric car drivers because they don’t release any tailpipe emissions. So if you’re thinking of switching to electric for your next car, you needn’t worry.

Finally, if you're selling a car, the WLTP may affect its value. Because the new test procedure assesses the emissions of a car more accurately, it can lead to lower fuel economy and emissions figures.

How does the WLTP test work?

The WLTP test is conducted over a range of different speeds and driving conditions, including urban and extra-urban driving. The test cycle begins with an initial "cold start" phase, during which the engine and transmission are brought up to operating temperature. The vehicle is then driven at a constant speed for 2 minutes, followed by an acceleration phase and a deceleration phase. The cycle is then repeated several times to produce an average result.

What is the difference between WLTP and NEDC?

The WLTP testing process is similar to the NEDC process in that it is done in a lab on a rolling road. The main difference between the WLTP and NEDC is that the WLTP test is conducted over a longer distance and at higher speeds. It also includes more realistic accelerations, decelerations and idling periods, simulating real-life driving conditions more accurately. Another difference between the two procedures is that WLTP has a longer testing time, running for 30 minutes, compared to the NEDC test time of 20 minutes.

So, the WLTP test gives a more accurate picture of a vehicle's emissions and fuel use in the real world. This is good news for drivers and for the environment because you can make a more informed choice about your carbon footprint. If you want to reduce it even further, think about switching to an electric vehicle with zero tailpipe emissions.

What are the benefits of WLTP?

The main benefit of the WLTP test is that it gives more accurate data on emissions and fuel consumption. This better accuracy makes the following possible:

  • Buyers can make more informed decisions: The WLTP gives people more accurate information about how their cars affect the environment. This will make it easier for buyers to find a car that meets their needs and expectations.
  • It’s less easy for manufacturers to 'game': Since the WLTP test is harder to manipulate, it’s harder for car companies to "game" the system and get results that are lower than they should be. This should mean a reduction in emissions from new cars on the road.
  • Improved environmental performance: As buyers are better informed and cars are less likely to cheat emissions tests, we should see an overall improvement in the environmental performance of new cars. This will help to reduce pollution and improve air quality.

Overall, the WLTP can help both buyers and the environment. It can help buyers by giving accurate information about emissions, fuel and energy consumption - and it can help the environment by encouraging manufacturers to make cars that are more fuel efficient.

What about plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles?

Because of  the complexities of PHEVs (plug-in hybrid electric vehicles), the WLTP introduced a new way for them to be tested. This is because the cars run on both battery and fuel, so we need to test them for battery performance and engine performance to get the right efficiency figures. Plug-in hybrids have to take the WLTP test multiple times, starting with a fully charged battery and ending with an empty one. Another test is done when the battery power is entirely out and the car is running purely on petrol or diesel, which gives a clear picture of what economy drivers can expect. After these tests are done, the car's electric range is used to figure out the car's official emissions and fuel economy numbers.

Electric vehicles (EVs) have it much easier as they don't have any petrol or diesel engines. The main thing being measured for EVs is the range, as the test works out the number of miles you can expect to get from the battery in perfect conditions.

Because WLTP is a lab test, it isn’t always super accurate at working out an EVs actual range. This is because real world factors have an impact on an electric car's range. It’s a bit like how MPG (miles per gallon) figures for diesel and petrol cars differ in real life. But the WLTP test is still helpful for comparing EV range and seeing which cars have more range than others. The car with the highest WLTP will still go the furthest.


The WLTP is a more accurate test of a car's real-world emissions and fuel economy. This means that it can affect everything from car prices to monthly payments. WLTP should lead to more informed buyers and improved environmental performance. The good news is that EVs are only mildly affected by the WLTP, as the main thing being measured for them is range. Plus, you won't be impacted by the increased costs associated with the higher emission figures of fuel-powered cars.

If you're looking to make the switch to electric or are looking for a newer EV model, simply browse all EVs today to find the perfect one for you. We have plenty of affordable electric cars to choose from, so you won't have to break the bank to make the switch.

If you're an employer, you can encourage your employees to switch to electric and reduce their carbon footprint by opting for our EV salary sacrifice scheme. Not only will it help you and your employees be more environmentally friendly, but you’ll also make some significant savings on tax.