WLTP and electric cars

Opel's WLTP campaign

The Worldwide harmonized Light vehicles Test Procedures (WLTP) is a test cycle that when compared to NEDC, more accurately reflects real world driving and emissions. It’s set to be introduced in EU member states by September 2017. But it’s not until 2020, that the current test cycle, NEDC, will be completely replaced by WLTP.

WLTP is the reason why big automakers like Volkswagen are aiming to 2020 as the beginning of the electric car revolution. Volkswagen says that the electric car inspired by the I.D. concept will be available by 2020 and priced “on a par with comparably powerful and well-equipped Golf models”.


Volkswagen I.D. concept electric car

Volkswagen I.D. concept electric car


Volkswagen isn’t alone with its 2020 plans, Renault Zoe’s next battery upgrade is also scheduled for 2020, it will likely have around 65 kWh for a 600 km NEDC range, or 400 km range in WLTP.


We’ll only get cheaper and better electric cars from every automaker when approaching 2020, not because the technology isn’t ready yet, but because only then legislation mandates it. Of course some automakers will start adapting to change sooner and are already working to be recognized as electric car leaders before 2020.

For electric car fans and pioneers, 2017 is definitely the electric car’s year since range is no longer a problem in some models, but only in 2020 with more affordable prices, electric cars will begin to be mainstream.


Starting next year with the introduction of WLTP in Europe, citizens will begin to be more aware of ICE cars real consumption and emissions. Electric cars with their low running costs and emissions will highly benefit from this new test cycle.

While WLTP will measure CO2 emissions, NOx will be measured by the Particulate Real Drive Emissions (RDE). Diesel cars have no chance to survive 2020 legislation, BEVs will take over from there.


Opel is already adapting to this new test cycle and released both NEDC and WLTP figures for the Astra model. In this case the WLTP’s combined consumption figures can be as high as 91 % more than NEDC (8,2 vs 4,3 L/100 km).


To sum up these are some WLTP’s consequences:

  • The public opinion will be more aware of ICE car’s high environmental and financial costs
  • ICE cars will be more expensive to build so they can meet emission regulations
  • BEVs will get batteries with more capacity, since the unrealistic NEDC range figures won’t be used anymore


What do you think?

What impact can the NEDC test cycle replacement with WLTP have in electric car sales in Europe?

How can responsible CEOs and shareholders allow investments in technologies other than electric, knowing that they’ll soon not only be obsolete but also prohibit?!



More info:




Pedro Lima

My interest in electric transportation is mostly political. I’m tired of coups and wars for oil. My expectation is that the adoption of electric transportation will be a factor for peace and democracy all over the world.

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5 years ago

Interesante artículo Pedro, ahora solo nos queda pedirte que hagas una apuestilla para ver cuánto crees qué valdrá el Leaf o el Zoe por el 2020, como dices que serán más baratos…

5 years ago
Reply to  Pedro Lima

Muy positivo te veo pero en fin eso no es una novedad en ti jeje Eso sí como aciertes con lo de las baterías LG para el Leaf… y con el descuento del Ampera-e cueste unos 35000 para hacerte una estatua jeje Creo que con algo de suerte valdrá 36.000 o 37.000 euros.

Ralf K.
5 years ago

“Opel is already adapting to this new test cycle and released both NEDC and WLTP figures for the Astra model. In this case the WLTP’s combined consumption figures can be as high as 91 % more than NEDC (8,2 vs 4,3 L/100 km).”

Pedro, this sentence is highly misleading and manipulative. You are refering to:
and the line:

Opel Astra K 1.0i Turbo (105 PS), Start/Stop ecoFLEX Easytronic 5-speed

5,2 – 5,0 urban
3,8 – 3,6 extra-urban
4,3 – 4,1 combined
99 – 96 combined CO2

WLTP: 8,2 – 4,7
But the WLTP figure cannot be subsumed in its max value, as you did here!

No matter how hard you want to push BEVs, only be keeping fair and true in your statements, you can truely convince readers.

In the end, customers will want a single WLTP value, and not a range, even though this range would much better reflect fuel consumption. Then they will compare the NEDC combined value to the WLTP combined value, and their individual fuel consumption to this WLTP combined value. I expect WLTP combined to be roughly 20-30% more than NEDC combined values. Maybe 15% for cars with low air drag.

4 years ago
Reply to  Ralf K.

Is there any idea how WLTP combined value will be calculated? As far as I know, unlike in NEDC, there is no definition for combined value in WLTP specification. Or am I missing something?

5 years ago

Actually the WLTP will be fully phased in by September 2018, it’s the RDE-tests that not will be in effect for all cars until September 2019.


Unfortunately this will probably lead to some opportunistic behavior by car makers as they will introduce diesel cars before September 2017 so they can sell them without an SCR-system until September 2019. Many car makers need to lower their CO2-emissions because of WLTP and diesel does that compared to petrol. I mean, Nissan reintroduced a diesel Micra at the PMS and Renault/Nissan has some of the dirtiest diesel tech with regards to NOx. We’re talking ON AVERAGE 13-14 times the EURO 6 NEDC limit in real driving, they can never meet the RDE standards without heavy investments. And for what? The RDE-standards will get stricter in 2020 (from 168 mg/km to 120mg/km) and EU has signalled they are aiming at lower levels than that in the longer term. So car makers will sell dirty diesels as long as they can over the next three years.

In the short term diesel bans in big cities will be huge for discouraging consumers from buying diesel cars and in turn this will be a big push for EVs as low diesel sales will force car makers to sell more EVs to meet demands or they will incur heavy fines. We might actually see firesale prices for EVs just because every gram of CO2 in exceedance of the regulations will lead to a fine for every single car sold. The loss of selling cheap EVs will be lower than exceeding the CO2 limit.

CO2 emissions by car manufacturer:

These numbers are from 2014 but you can see that for example Opel was at 122.4 average g/km CO2. That’s pretty high considering today’s limit is 130 g/km (95 g/km from 2020). We’ve seen in this article how much higher reported emissions can be after the WLTP compared to NEDC, and in turn this might be the reason for the Opel Ampera-E having such an aggressive rumored pricing in Europe. It’s said to start delivering summer 2017, just in time for the WLTP havoc to unfold 😉

5 years ago

Yeah, seems I have misunderstood the implementation of the WLTP, nevermind half of my post then. 😛 They will test the vehicles with WLTP but convert it to lower NEDC numbers with some fancy simulation tool until 2020. This might still result in higher numbers than if they used NEDC directly but probably nothing major.

Here is a quote from CLEPA (European car maker association):
“European automotive suppliers are
concerned that the change in test cycle in 9/2018 (all new vehicles) leads to new vehicle types,
which will have to comply with RDE step 1 regardless of the agreed RDE introduction in 9/2019
(all new vehicles).”


So they envision that they might have to introduce new types of cars to deal with the WLTP which in turn will have to comply with the RDE particulate and gas emission standards. Let’s hope that their worries come true.