Whole vehicle type approval

Whole vehicle type approval

There are to be changes to the way in which vehicles are approved and sold within the European Union, prompting alterations to the current national approval schemes in force in the UK.

European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) is being extended from April 2009 to cover all vehicles including trucks, trailers, buses and coaches. At present, only cars are covered by ECWVTA. The requirement for approval covers the finished vehicle and thus includes bodywork. This comes into force in October 2007 and there are deadlines for compliance over the next seven years according to vehicle type. By 2014, it will be compulsory for all vehicles.

ECWVTA requires a vehicle prototype to be tested. If the sample passes the test and the production arrangements also pass inspection, then vehicles or components of the same type are approved for production and sale within Europe, without further testing.

National approval schemes will still exist for vehicles built in small volumes or on an individual basis.

The directive will require an overhaul of current Great Britain and Northern Ireland vehicle approval schemes.

In the UK, the Department for Transport (DfT) has issued a consultation paper (June 2008) on specific aspects of the European Whole Vehicle Type Approval Directive. The concept relies on vehicles being mass produced for the European market. The Department has concluded that it will take advantage of provisions within the directive for national approval schemes and two UK-wide national schemes have been proposed.

National Small Series Type Approval

Individual Type Approval

The national schemes will cover the same categories of vehicle as the European directive, but provide a less onerous and more cost effective route to compliance for vehicles sold mainly in the UK market in small volumes. The consultation seeks industry's views on proposals for the national approval schemes, technical requirements and inspection fees.