OEMs shift from options to EVs as WLTP fuel economy standards take effect

Each new car registered in Europe now has a unique WLTP value. However, any changes made to a standard model can impact its WLTP value – a significant factor when looking at options.

Options that impact a vehicle’s standard weight, drag or rolling resistance can also change a vehicle’s WLTP values. With additions such as a sunroof, likely to add approximately 2g/km of CO2 to a vehicle’s emissions levels, any change to a vehicle’s specification must be calculated with complete accuracy or risk not meeting the requirements of their customers and their fleet policies.
As manufacturers began planning for the transition from NEDC to WLTP, they looked for new ways to guarantee complete compliance with CO2 targets and customer car policies, including changing the number of options available for purchase, and making significant changes to the models on offer.

Some OEMs have even gone as far as reducing the average tyre size of their vehicles, with smaller wheels less likely to create as much friction or resistance. Manufacturers have also started fitting low rolling resistance or energy saving tyres to their larger alloy wheels.

And the changes go much further than options. Since 2017, many OEMs have moved away from standard internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, in favour of lower emissions electrified vehicles. Last year. EV registrations more than doubled in Europe. The Netherlands, France, Finland and Ireland, have all significantly increased the number of EV models available since 2017.

The Netherlands currently has the greatest number of EVs available for purchase, rising from 18 models to 50 models in the space of four years. This is closely followed by France, with an increase of 29 models during the same period. Finland more than doubled their electrified offering from just 13 models to 29 last year. Similarly, Ireland has more than tripled their range, rising from 7 to 24 models in 2020. Not only does this shift reflect a change in preferences from consumers across Europe, but also a distinct effort from OEMs to meet the emissions targets posed by the European Commission.

David Krajicek, CEO at JATO Dynamics, commented: “Where options were once key money-makers for OEMs, they can no longer look to these to generate cash for fear of exceeding CO2 limits, and the waste of resources that arises from calculating every single vehicle’s unique WLTP value. The shift away from these additional features and the evolution towards EVs will likely continue. We cannot say with certainty what manufacturers’ model listings will look like in the future, but one thing is clear – on demand WLTP data for meeting budgets, policy guidelines, and ultimately keeping businesses running will be key.”

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