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Vehicle type approval inquiry launched

16 November 2015

Transport Select Committee launches inquiry to examine whether the vehicle type approval testing is fit for purpose.

In September 2015, Volkswagen admitted to cheating tests for emissions of nitrogen oxides. Further investigations have revealed that Volkswagen had also understated CO2 emissions and overstated fuel efficiency for 800,000 vehicles.

The Chair of the Transport Committee, Louise Ellman, said:

"The Volkswagen scandal has raised serious concerns about whether vehicle type approval testing is fit for purpose. We heard evidence in October that the gap between emissions detected in test conditions and those detected in the real world significant. The testing procedure is clearly inadequate.

The EU is taking steps to move towards real world driving tests. The current proposals have been criticised for giving too much leeway to motor manufacturers. It is essential to examine these allegations and to ensure that the Government and EU take action to restore public confidence."

Written submissions 

The Committee would like to hear evidence on:

  • The effectiveness of the current arrangements for type approval
  • Negotiations on World-wide Light-vehicle Test Procedures and Real Driving Emissions
  • The appropriateness of the current drive cycle and how a move to Real Driving Emissions tests will change testing
  • The gap between emissions detected in test and real world conditions
  • Comparisons with other jurisdictions (especially the US and markets in Asia)
  • The range of metrics considered in type testing, whether the levels set represent a reasonable level of ambition and a reasonable pace of change, and the evidence base that underpins how levels have been set
  • The role of type approval in driving change in levels of safety, emissions, and performance
  • The appropriateness of the overall principles that determine the approach being taken on type approval

The deadline for submissions is 7 December 2015. However, the Committee will accept submissions after this date.

Written submissions for this inquiry should be sent via the Vehicle type approval inquiry page.

Vehicle type approval

Two systems of type approval have been in existence for more than 20 years. One, based around European Union directives, provides for the approval of whole vehicles, vehicle systems and separate components. The second provides for the approval of vehicle systems and separate components, but not whole vehicles. It is based around United Nationals (UN) Regulations which were formerly known as UNECE Regulations.

In a letter to Louise Ellman MP, Volkswagen UK MD, Paul Willis said,

"It is widely recognised, both inside and outside of the industry, that the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) testing (which is the type approval testing used in the EU) is not fit for purpose. Its deficiencies are recognised. There is no simple linear relationship that exists between data from NEDC testing and data derived from real world driving."

Further information

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