Safety and Standards

Type approval at ECE level

Revised Version of EC-type approval System is expected soon

The European Union is continuing its efforts to guarantee the greatest-possible level of safety for all road users, and as a result is revising the EC type approval system for motor vehicles “2007/46/EC.” The content of the present draft 2007/46/EC by the EU Commission is still being worked on as part of the European legislative process involving the member states and the EU Parliament. Publication is planned for mid-2015.

The most important changes are:

  • The new version will be published as a regulation
  • Annex II (Definition of vehicle categories and vehicle types) will remain unchanged
  • Vehicle type approvals should be subject to an expiry date (not applicable to parts approvals) with the possibility of extending the existing type approval (no statement has yet been made about the period, it is assumed that five years will be allowed)
  • Specification of the conformity of production (CoP) requirements (up to now, the approving authority alone has been responsible. In future, the Commission would like to have the final decision)
  • The topic of market monitoring will be taken from the two-wheel regulation
  • “Ends of series” will be harmonized on a European basis, there should not be any national approvals any longer and individual approvals should apply internationally

International Whole Vehicle Type Approval

The system of type approval exists exclusively on EU level with its EC Directives and ECE regulations, and is thus applicable to the 28 member states of the European Union. Work is ongoing on a similar system at ECE level – namely, a type approval based on ECE, referred to as I-WVTA (International Whole Vehicle Type Approval). The ECE has 51 contracting states. At present, however, there is no whole vehicle type approval at the UNECE.

The reasons for a type approval on ECE basis are as follows:

  • Worldwide harmonization of vehicle regulations for whole vehicles
  • Mutual recognition of these regulations on the basis of type approval regulations
  • Reduction in the administrative overhead for vehicle manufacturers
  • Strengthening the process of type approval at international level
  • Increasing the attractiveness of the UNECE for developing countries
  • Elimination of trade barriers due to worldwide harmonization

Experts from Europe, Japan and Russia are working together to prepare the ground for a type approval on ECE basis, which will be capable of phasing out the EU type approval in the long term. The scope of use will be significantly greater if all ECE states accede to the regulation. In order to enable developing countries, with their lower legal requirements, to use the IWVTA, there will be an L-IWVTA (IWVTA of limited recognition), which should have a limited area of validity. The system will come into force once the necessary changes have been made to the 1958 agreement so as to create the legal framework.

Uwe Toppel Consultant

Tel: +49-30-897842-288 Fax: +49-30-897842-606
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