EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval


Vehicles parked cars

Many industrial sectors are subject to some form of approval or certification system but road vehicles are a special case, because of their importance to and impact upon society. Within Europe, two systems of type approval have been in existence for over 20 years. One is based around ECE (United Nations) Regulations and provides for approval of vehicle systems and separate components, but not whole vehicles. The other is EC Whole vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) which is based around EC Directives and provides for the approval of whole vehicles, vehicle systems, and separate components.

EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval is a way of making sure vehicles are safe to use on the road, without having to inspect and test every single one.

Under the vehicle type approval system, a prototype is tested. If it passes the tests and the production arrangements also pass inspection, then vehicles or components of the same type are approved for production and sale within Europe, without further testing.

The regulations introducing EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval became UK law on 29th April 2009 and there are now four approval schemes in operation; the first three are administered by the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) and the fourth is administered by the Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA):

  • EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval – Primarily for large volume vehicle manufacturers selling across Europe
  • EC Small Series Type Approval – Aimed at low volume car producers selling across Europe
  • National Small Series Type Approval – For low volume vehicle manufacturers selling in the UK only
  • Individual Vehicle Approval – for manufacturers or importers of single vehicles

Over the next five years vehicle approval will become mandatory for all new commercial vehicles and trailers – see timetable. To find out more about the approval schemes; which one may be best for you and what you need to do contact either VCA or VOSA.