With new changes to the WLTP legislation coming into effect in Germany, we look at what WLTP actually is, what the new changes are, and why it’s important to the customer car buying journey in this ‘what you need to know’ overview.

What is WLTP?

WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure) is a global standard for measuring the fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, and pollutant emissions from cars and light commercial vehicles (LCVs).


Developed by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), WLTP ensures a more accurate and realistic assessment of vehicle emissions and fuel consumption compared to the previous New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test. Introduced in September 2017, WLTP became mandatory in September 2018 for all new cars sold in the EU and other regions and countries have adopted WLTP or are in the process of doing so. It has been gradually phased globally to replace outdated testing procedures and offer more accurate and realistic measurements of vehicle emissions and fuel consumption.


The WLTP test cycle is more representative of real-world driving conditions, including higher speeds, faster acceleration, and a wider range of driving situations. WLTP results are reflective of actual driving behaviour and allows consumers to make more informed decisions when purchasing vehicles. WLTP also aims to provide more consistent testing standards across different regions and countries, facilitating international comparisons of vehicle emissions and fuel efficiency.


What are the recent WLTP changes?

While WLTP has been present across Europe for some time, Germany recently updated its Passenger Car Energy Consumption Labelling Ordinance (Pkw-EnVKV) in February 2024 which automotive retailers need to be aware of. New changes to car labels were introduced with regards to energy consumption and CO₂ emissions and it is now compulsory to state the WLTP figures. The changes are designed to make it easier for consumers to understand WLTP information.


For automotive retailers selling cars in Germany, what changes?

Guidelines for online selling: When selling cars online, the car label information must be displayed as soon as a prospective buyer configures a specific vehicle. This ensures that customers receive the same level of information online as they would in a physical dealership.


Advertising requirements: All advertising for new car models, including online selling, must clearly include information about energy consumption, CO₂ emissions, and the CO₂ class. Advertising must make this information easy to read and understand.


Updated car labels required: Car labels must include information on energy consumption and CO₂ emissions based on the WLTP standard, covering different driving conditions. This is a shift from the previous NEDC standard.


Clear CO₂ classification: The CO₂ classification system now solely relies on the vehicle's CO₂ emissions per kilometre, with classifications ranging from “A” (zero emissions) to “G” (over 176 g/km emissions), irrespective of vehicle weight.


Display of CO₂ costs: Car labels must display an estimation of CO₂ costs over a 10-year period, assuming an annual mileage of 15,000 kilometres. This estimation is based on three potential CO₂ price developments: low, medium, and high.


Different labels for different vehicle types: There are five different car label designs that correspond to the vehicle's drivetrain and fuel type, including internal combustion engines, battery-electric motors, fuel cell drives, and plug-in hybrids. This is to help consumers easily compare vehicles based on their environmental impact and operating costs.


Special requirements for plug-in hybrids: For plug-in hybrid vehicles, the car label must show both the weighted combined consumption/emissions and those with a discharged battery. Two CO₂ classes should be displayed to cater for the unique nature of these vehicles.


Transitional period for compliance: Dealers, manufacturers, and online retailers have been given a grace period until 1st May 2024 to update car labels and advertising materials to meet the new standards.


Obligations at the point of sale: Dealers are required to attach a clear and visible car label to each vehicle displayed for sale. In addition, a notice with key figures for all new car models displayed or offered at the point of sale is mandatory. A guide with uniform information on all new car models offered in Germany must be available for customers.

WLTP fuel consumption database - JATO


Configured vehicle example comparison with WLTP values from JATO’s API data solution


Why does WLTP matter outside of Germany?

The new regulation changes currently only affect automotive retailers selling vehicles in Germany. However, adopting the process – even if you don’t sell in Germany or sell across several regions including Germany – could help to save money and time on future admin whilst also enhancing the customer experience; the new changes offer more clarity and transparency, which would benefit all regions.


Key reasons why WLTP values are important to car buyers in Europe:

  1. More accurate information: WLTP provides realistic testing conditions compared to the older NEDC test. The fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions data presented to consumers are closer to real-world driving conditions, allowing for more informed decisions.

  2. Improved comparability: All vehicles are tested under the same standardised conditions, allowing better comparability and transparency between different models and brands.

  3. Improved configuration: Any option that changes the vehicle weight, the aerodynamics or the rolling resistance of the tyres can change the WLTP values. Additionally, any change in the specification of the vehicle, no matter how minor, can also change the values. For example, if the manufacturer changes the brand or model of the tyres on the production line then the WLTP values will change. This is why JATO's WLTP Link is a real time service that is directly connected to the OEM WLTP calculators so that it provides the latest configuration-specific WLTP values straight from the OEM.

  4. Environmental awareness: WLTP values help environmentally conscious buyers select vehicles with lower environmental impact.

  5. Financial planning: More precise information on fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions enables buyers to calculate expected fuel costs and potential taxes (including CO₂ -based vehicle taxes) more accurately. 

  6. Driving range: For electric (EVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), WLTP provides more realistic driving range estimates. This is particularly important for potential EV buyers concerned about range anxiety, ensuring they have a reliable estimate of how far the vehicle can travel on a single charge.

  7. Regulatory compliance: In many European countries, vehicle taxation and eligibility for incentives such as grants, or reduced parking fees are based on CO₂ emissions or fuel efficiency. More accurate WLTP figures ensure buyers can take full advantage of available benefits.

  8. Vehicle performance insights: WLTP testing covers a broader range of driving scenarios, including different speeds, temperatures, and road types. Buyers have a clearer understanding of how a vehicle might perform in their typical driving conditions.

  9. Confidence in purchase decisions: Armed with reliable and detailed information on vehicle performance, buyers can make more confident decisions, knowing that the data reflects more realistic usage scenarios.

  10. Market transparency: WLTP contributes to greater transparency in the automotive market, empowering consumers with information previously less accessible or reliable, therefore encouraging a more consumer-friendly market environment.

  11. Enhanced customer experience: Providing detailed information on a vehicle will help buyers make better, more informed decisions, which will boost your reputation and improve the customer experience, and hopefully increase sales as a result.

How you can easily implement WLTP into your digital platform, portal, solution or app

Introducing accurate WLTP values sounds simple in theory, however accessing the latest data quickly can be a challenge, particularly for online retailers who want to list new cars quickly.


Partnering with a specialist provider that can deliver the relevant data instantly can make all the difference. JATO WLTP Link is the only WLTP solution covering 50+ brands across 30+ markets, offering one point of access, and a consistent data format with easy integration via API.


To learn more about how JATO can help your business with WLTP, contact us.