Green NCAP is an independent initiative which promotes the development of cars which are clean, energy efficient and not harmful to the environment. It aims to improve the quality of the air that we breathe, to maximise the use of resources used for passenger transportation and to reduce global warming.
The highest standard is attributed to a car that maximises the reduction of its own pollutants and greenhouse gases and, at the same time, operates at minimised fossil fuel consumption and/or maximised energy efficiency under real-world conditions.
Pollutant emissions from transportation are one of the main contributors to poor air quality world-wide, especially in cities. Air quality problems are known to be the root cause of many health problems and even premature death, so the need to reduce the pollutants emitted by road vehicles has never been greater. The natural resources used to power vehicles – directly, in the case of internal combustion engines or indirectly if they are used to generate electricity – are finite and should be used as sparingly as possible. To do so, cars should be as energy efficient as they can possibly be. And road transport is a major contributor to so-called ‘greenhouse gases’ which prevent heat leaving the planet and lead to global warming, so these should be minimised as far as possible.
Good progress has been achieved over the past decades through a combination of policies and measures, such as technological standards for vehicle emissions and fuel quality, legislation establishing air quality limits, and improved transport planning and public transport incentives. Nevertheless, the overall increases in passenger and freight demand, as well as the under-performance of certain vehicles in real-life driving conditions, as opposed to their performance in a test environment, mean that emission reductions have not always been as large as expected.
Emissions of several pollutant gases are regulated by legislation in the EU. All cars sold in Europe must pass type-approval tests to demonstrate that their emissions of carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen, unburnt hydrocarbons and particulate matter do not exceed certain critical values. However, regulation offers no reward to manufacturers who go beyond the minimum standards of approval testing.
Green NCAP rewards manufacturers whose vehicles go beyond the minimum legislative requirements and offer excellent real-world performance.
Green NCAP uses a broad range of tests to address the flaws in approval tests and, through consumer information, rewards those manufacturers whose vehicles go beyond the minimum requirements and offer excellent, robust, real-world performance. Regulatory testing is a good starting point. Green NCAP’s tests are an addition and complementary to these legislative requirements.