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What is WLTP?

After watching multiple electric vehicle (EV) reviews, the same acronym kept occurring, WLTP. What is WLTP?

The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) is the test which new vehicles are put through to establish fuel consumption, CO2 emission, pollution emissions and energy consumption. This also includes the range of EVs. The WLTP was developed so a global test cycle could be used across the world. Pollutants, CO2 emissions and fuel consumption values can be compared worldwide.

The original New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test was designed in the 1980’s and focused on a theoretical driving profile. This has become outdated as driving styles change, technology has advanced and the introduction of hybrid and pure electric vehicles. The WLTP cycle has been developed using real-driving data gathered from across the world. Better representing everyday driving profiles.

What does the test, test?

Carried out on a rolling road, the driving cycle is split into five parts. The sections focus on the acceleration and deceleration, and higher average and maximum speeds to reflect modern-day driving (more traffic), different speed limits and different road terrains. For each different powertrain (petrol, diesel, manual, automatic) a test will be carried out on the lightest and heaviest version. Essentially gathering information on the most economical and least economical versions of a certain car type. Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs) and EVs are tested slightly differently. EV’s complete the WLTP several times, over and over, until the battery is flat. Then another test with a flat battery. This then gives the official emissions and economy figures based on the range of the EV.



Test Cycle

Single cycle

Dynamic cycle (more realistic driving styles)

Cycle Time

20 minutes

30 minutes

Cycle Distance

6.8 miles

15 miles

Driving Phases

2 phases

4 phases

Average Speed

20 mph

28 mph

Max. Speed

75 mph

81 mph

Gear Changes

Changes at fixed points

Changes at different points

Test Temperature

20 - 30◦C


Why does it matter?

The WLTP was developed to provide better, transparent, to improve consumer confidence after multiple emissions scams. The test has also helped to aid buying decisions and when looking to buy an EV buyers should feel assured by the data associated with range, charge times and emissions.


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