New Green NCAP rating system pinpoints least polluting cars
A new eco rating system has launched for new cars to highlight the least and most polluting new cars on the market, drawing on the well-known Euro NCAP star system.
Dubbed Green NCAP, the scheme is run by a consortium comprising European governments, motoring clubs, consumer groups and universities, hosted and supported by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP).
It make use of members’ and independent test laboratories in eight European countries to independent information about cars’ performance in tests said to go well beyond legislative requirements to uncover the differences between manufacturers’ emissions-control strategies.
At the moment, Green NCAP considers only the energy used while driving (‘tank to wheel’), but in time, well-to-wheel and ultimately the whole life-cycle will be considered, including the energy used to produce the vehicle, the energy it consumes in its lifetime and the energy needed to scrap and recycle its parts.
The first batch of results covers 12 cars: the Hyundai Ioniq and BMW i3, both electric vehicles, achieve a maximum five-star rating; the VW up! GTI gets four stars; BMW’s X1 2.0d and the Mercedes-Benz A200 are both awarded three stars; the Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost is rated as two stars in its latest guise, and a one-star rating is given to the Audi A7 50 TDI, the Volvo XC40 T5and the Subaru Outback 2.5. Three cars – the VW Golf 1.6TDI, the Fiat Panda 1.0 and the previous level Ford Fiesta 1.0 EcoBoost – get zero-star ratings. All three of the zero-star cars are approved to Euro 6b emissions standards, still valid for models introduced before September 2017. However, from September 2019, all cars will have to meet the tougher standards of Euro 6d-temp and updated versions of these cars will be rated in the next round of tests.
The results under the current testing form show that electric cars offer consumers the greenest option when buying a car. However, Green NCAP will soon include driving range in its assessment, and ultimately, will look at the whole life-cycle of the vehicle, which may close the gap between electric cars and those powered by fossil fuels.
It added that for some of the petrol and diesel cars, there is a trade-off between pollutant-control and good energy efficiency. The results highlight the strategies that manufacturers have used in order to achieve one or the other but the Green NCAP rating scheme prioritises both.
Commenting on the new programme, Pierre Castaing, chairman of Euro NCAP, said: “For years, there has been a mismatch between the way cars perform in regulatory tests and how they perform on the road. Consumers often don’t get the fuel economy officially claimed for their vehicles and end up paying for the difference in fuel. Now, legislation is tightening up, but consumer testing can complement it and go a step further: it can really encourage car manufacturers to beat their competitors by innovating in the field of energy efficiency and emission reduction. We’re confident that they will respond to the challenge, to the benefit of car-buyers and the environment.”