In 2022, the Green NCAP rating criteria received an update. As powertrain technologies improve and the car market moves rapidly towards electrification, test protocols and rating scheme have been adjusted to better suit the rapidly evolving technology and sustainability trends. Green NCAP is a green vehicle assessment programme hosted and supported by the New Car Assessment Program in cooperation with European Governments.
In line with the latest criteria, Green NCAP published the results of six vehicles under its updated and improved rating scheme for 2022.
Audi takes home five stars for its all-electric sportback, the Q4 e-Tron, while the 48V-mild-hybrid Hyundai Bayon, the Renault Kangoo TCe 130, and the Volkswagen Caddy 1.5-litre TSI all earn 2.5 stars. The Peugeot 308 1.2-litre PureTech receives two stars and the Genesis GV70, with its 2.5-litre petrol engine, only achieves one star.
Technical Manager Aleksandar Damyanov said, “Until today our assessments covered tank-to-wheel evaluation only. Cars obtained a star rating based on their emissions and efficiency performance from charging points or fuel pumps to the performance they delivered on the road. Green NCAP’s new rating covers a Well-to-Wheel+ greenhouse gas assessment, signifying a much broader approach.”
This means that the greenhouse gas emissions related to the extraction, production, and distribution of energy from the source (well) are added to the measured tailpipe emissions (wheel). The ‘+’ signalises that the construction of powerplants and refineries is also considered, but not yet the vehicle and battery production itself.
As before, the rating combines the results of real-world on-road tests and different laboratory roller-bench investigations, however, cars are now subjected to a two-stage testing process. Vehicles that score well on the basis of tests in the first stage qualify for additional testing in the second stage to prove the robustness of their performance under more challenging conditions.
In the first batch of 2022, only the Audi Q4 e-Tron qualified for the additional robustness testing. The German SUV scored well in all three parts of the assessment – clean air, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gases – as it is a fully electric vehicle with zero emissions at the tailpipe and a high-efficiency powertrain, assumed to be charged with the average European electricity mix as forecasted for the next 16 years. The Q4 only loses a fraction of points in the cold ambient and highway tests.
The Volkswagen Caddy scored a creditable 2.5 stars, but its Clean Air Index would have easily been higher if the ammonia emissions were controlled better.
The Renault Kangoo, on the other hand, controls all pollutants well but loses points due to its higher energy consumption and related greenhouse gas output. The luxury SUV from Genesis, the GV70, couldn’t score well due to its significant fuel demand, while at the same time it also failed to impress with adequate pollutants control, which eventually left it with just one green star.
“The new Well-to-Wheel+ rating of greenhouse gases gives a much more realistic assessment of the real environmental impact of cars, whether they are combustion-engined, electric, or some combination of the two. With the new approach, we hope to encourage the understanding that not only delivering a clean end product is important, but the whole process should be made greener and transparent,” said Damyanov.
He adds, that even vehicle and battery production must find its way into the rating system, however, at the moment even the best analyses are not accurate enough to allow us to do this.
Global NCAP, however, is working towards a holistic life-cycle-based methodology and recently introduced a full life cycle assessment for consumer information purposes only.