From next month, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will accept a new vehicle emissions test standard that better reflects actual emissions under real-life driving conditions.
The NEA said yesterday that it will begin accepting results from the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) for the approval of new vehicles, as well as the reporting of emissions under the Vehicular Emissions Scheme, from January 1, 2019.
Developed by the European Union (EU), the WLTP is a laboratory test that measures both the fuel consumption and pollutant emissions of passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.
Under the new test procedures, vehicles are tested at higher speeds, longer distances and a greater range of driving situations, as compared with previous tests.
This is so as to measure emissions and fuel consumption under more realistic settings.
Emissions measurements are expected to be about 20 per cent higher under WLTP, as compared with previous standards.
Noting that, as with other cities, vehicles are a key source of air pollution in the Republic, the NEA said accepting the WLTP is part of efforts to “further improve Singapore’s ambient air quality and safeguard public health”.
“While Singapore’s overall air quality is comparable to that of many major cities of developed countries, we still fall short of meeting our air quality targets for pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter,” said the agency.
The move to accept the WLTP is in line with similar measures in the EU, where it was introduced in September, and Japan, said the NEA. It will continue to accept the older New European Driving Cycle and Japanese Driving Cycle.
“The NEA will consider making a complete switchover to WLTP only when the EU and Japan have completely switched over to WLTP for all models of vehicles,” said an NEA spokesman in response to queries from The Straits Times. He added that this is likely to happen in about three years.
He also said the NEA will continue to monitor international developments and work with the local motor industry towards a complete switchover to the new test procedures in the longer term.
“We will continue engaging the industry and will announce the details when ready,” he said.
Asian Clean Fuels Association director Clarence Woo said the move to accept the WLTP was “definitely good” as the measurement would potentially be more accurate.
He noted that under the previous test procedures, results could be manipulated by companies, such as the 2015 revelation that German automaker Volkswagen had been cheating in diesel emissions tests.
However, with more accurate testing, manufacturers may have to make changes to their vehicles to ensure they meet emissions standards.
Said Mr Woo: “Obviously there are questions about whether that would increase the overall costs, and whether this will be passed down to consumers.”