The Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) has been giving automakers in Europe various headaches. As we reported last week, Volkswagen has pushed back the U.S. launch of the Arteon to help boost inventory in Europe due to a delay in WLTP testing. Other automakers aren't so lucky.
According to Automotive News Europe, a number German automakers including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Porsche have halted sales of some plug-in hybrids due to WLTP. In the new procedure, the way that PHEVs are tested reduces the effect of the fully-charged battery.
"The vehicles are tested with a full battery, then the test is repeated until the battery is empty, when they are tested again," according to ANE.
Germany's VDA on their website goes on to say that "the CO2 value is then calculated as the ratio of the electrical range to the total range."
This in turn has pushed the "crucial CO2 emissions figure above 50 grams per kilometer". Why is it so crucial? Many European countries off tax benefits on vehicles that produce less than 50g/km of CO2.
Matthias Schmidt, an analyst for Sweden's AID automotive research company tells ANE that in Germany, many PHEVs have lost their 3,000-euro (about $3,500) incentive. To qualify again, automakers will need to fit larger batteries to their vehicles to qualify for the incentives. Automakers now find themselves in a tough place deciding whether to bite the bullet and add the larger battery or pull PHEVs off the market for the time being.
Here is the status of the various German automakers:
- BMW: Says its current lineup will meet WLTP, but ANE notes that certain models exceed the 50g/km of CO2 - example is the 225xe Active Tourer that produces 57 g/km. The 330e, the brand's second best-selling PHEV will not go back on sale until the next-generation model arrives next summer.
- Mercedes-Benz: Has no PHEVs on sale at the moment, but a spokesman said that the E-Class and S-Class PHEVs will go on sale within the next two months.
- Porsche: Has pulled sales of the Cayenne and Panamera PHEVs. "We will not start taking orders again until the cars are being built, the timing of which has not yet been confirmed," said a spokesman.
- Volkswagen: Stopped sales of the Golf and Passat GTE, both models appear in the top ten best selling PHEVs in Europe. A spokesman said both models would return next year with the introduction of updated models.
Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription Required)