Whole vehicle type approval

Whole vehicle type approval 

In October 2007, a harmonisation directive (2007/46/EC) covering European rules on the construction standards for road vehicles introduced a European-wide approach for whole vehicle type approval which applies to vehicles not previously covered (including buses, coaches, vans, trucks, trailers and some other special purpose vehicles). The most significant change was the extension of whole vehicle type approval from passenger cars to commercial vehicles (trucks, vans, buses, minibuses and trailers). The directive, which was gradually introduced over a five year period from April 2009, has required an overhaul of current Great Britain and Northern Ireland vehicle approval schemes. 


ECWVTA implementation dates were as follows: 

• Cars – from 29 April 2009. 

• Minibuses, buses, and coaches – from 29 October 2010. 

• Vans and light commercial vehicles – from 29 October 2011. 

• Heavy trucks and trailers – from 29 October 2012. 

• Special purpose vehicles – from 29 October 2014. 


Directive 2007/46/EC provides the option of introducing less onerous national approval schemes alongside the European approval scheme. National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA) and Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) allow low volume and specialised UK manufacturers who rarely export to continue to sell in the domestic market. The schemes require manufacturers to comply with the same technical standards as defined for ECWVTA but the cost of demonstrating compliance is lower.