Draft ECE Regulation on International Whole Vehicle Type Approval (IWVTA) Adopted
In 1993, for the first time, it became possible to obtain European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (EUWVTA) for an M1 category vehicle (i.e. passenger car or multipurpose passenger vehicle), which allowed a vehicle manufacturer to sell and register their vehicles in any European Union (EU) Member State. Prior to that date, it had been necessary for passenger car manufacturers to obtain a separate National Type Approval in each European country where they wanted to sell their vehicles and, due to the lack of harmonisation between those National Type Approval schemes, this was a very lengthy and complicated process. The introduction of a European Union wide whole vehicle type approval scheme significantly reduced the type approval burden on vehicle manufactures whilst also ensuring that all passenger cars sold and registered throughout the EU met the same high standards for safety and environmental performance. Despite some initial teething problems when the EUWVTA scheme was first introduced, the scheme has generally been successful in achieving its aims and, in recent years, has been extended to cover all other categories of vehicle.
Once the EUWVTA scheme had been successfully established and implemented, both vehicle manufacturers and Governments began considering whether this model could be used to create an equivalent "harmonised" whole vehicle type approval scheme on a global basis, i.e. an International Whole Vehicle Type Approval (IWVTA) scheme, within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) framework. Initial discussions on the feasibility of such a scheme took place within the UN ECE World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) and, in 2010, a specific Informal Working Group was set up to develop an IWVTA scheme.
Despite having the EUWVTA scheme to use as a basis for their work, it has taken almost 7 years of discussion and negotiation to fully develop the IWVTA scheme requirements and has involved amendments to the 1958 Agreement itself and the splitting of a number of existing UN ECE Regulations (e.g. removing the tyre pressure monitoring system requirements from ECE Regulation No. 64 to create ECE Regulation No. 141).
As with the original EUWVTA scheme, the IWVTA scheme is initially restricted to only cover M1 category vehicles (i.e. passenger cars and multipurpose passenger vehicles). The IWVTA requirements have been written in the form of a new ECE Regulation, ECE Regulation No. 0, and the final draft version of this new Regulation was adopted at the 173rd session of the World Forum for Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations (WP.29) in November 2017, with this draft Regulation recently being allocated a provisional date of entry into force of 19th July 2018.
Unlike other UN ECE Regulations, ECE Regulation No. 0 does not specify any technical requirements. It just specifies a list of ECE Regulations, along with their amendment level, that a vehicle must comply with to obtain IWVTA approval. Vehicles which comply with all of the ECE Regulations required by ECE Regulation No. 0 at the specified amendment levels will be issued with a Universal IWVTA (U-IWVTA) and vehicles with U-IWVTA will be accepted in any Contracting Party which is a signatory to Regulation No. 0.
To cater for the needs of less developed markets that may not wish to mandate compliance with all of the latest ECE Regulations, any Contracting Party may choose to also accept vehicles which do not meet all of the requirements specified in ECE Regulation No. 0. For instance, they may choose not to require compliance with certain ECE Regulations or may accept compliance with some ECE Regulations at previous amendment levels to the one specified in ECE Regulation No. 0. Contracting Parties that wish to take advantage of this option must notify the UN ECE Secretariat of the ECE Regulations and amendment levels that will be applicable for their market. Vehicle manufacturers wishing to obtain approval for their vehicles to these reduced requirements will be issued with an IWVTA of Limited Recognition (L-IWVTA). Whilst all Contracting Parties which are signatories to Regulation No. 0 must accept vehicles with U-IWVTA, they are only obliged to accept vehicles with L-IWVTA if that L-IWVTA matches their requirements, as notified to the UN ECE Secretariat.
In its current form, it must be remembered that ECE Regulation No. 0 is only a "partial" whole vehicle type approval scheme. What this means is that it does not cover all of the technical requirements specified in the National / Regional Type Approval schemes of the Contracting Parties. For instance, ECE Regulation No. 0 does not currently cover any requirements on emissions. Therefore, in addition to requiring IWVTA, Contracting Parties can still require compliance with additional technical requirements on subjects not covered by ECE Regulation No. 0 before allowing vehicles to be registered in their market. It is planned that future developments of ECE Regulation No. 0 will expand the list of subjects covered such that the IWVTA scheme will eventually become a “complete” whole vehicle type approval scheme like the EUWVTA scheme and will allow vehicles with IWVTA to be registered in Contracting Parties without the need to demonstrate compliance with any additional National / Regional technical requirements.
Based on the provisional entry into force date that has recently been allocated to ECE Regulation No. 0, Contracting Parties that are a signatory to ECE Regulation No. 0 must begin to accept vehicles with IWVTA from 19th April 2019.