Updated: Apr 22, 2021
Wouldn't it be nice if, as a vehicle manufacturer, you could develop a vehicle for the global market and certify it only once to cover all markets…well, UN ECE looked at this a few years back and came up with Regulation 0, International Whole Vehicle Type Approval (IWVTA).
UN ECE has done more to try and harmonise vehicle certification requirements than any other organisation with many of their subject regulations being recognised in markets across the world, but it is debatable whether Regulation 0 will ever be a true global certification framework as each territory fiercely retains not only their own specific technical requirements but also their own administrative process for type approval.
Take the UK leaving the EU for example, there has already been a commitment from UK government for a GB vehicle approval scheme from 2022 and I am picking up rumours of potential technical differences from EU scheme not to mention the EU regulation 2020/740 on tyre labelling which by virtue of it having an application date of after 1st January 2021 does not automatically become legislation in the UK. Due to the specific rules for Northern Ireland, 2020/740 will apply there but the Department for Transport will need to decide which parts they want to introduce into GB legislation. Divergence as opposed to convergence of requirements.
It is highly likely any GB vehicle approval scheme will be closely aligned to the European one and it will certainly be a type approval scheme. This being a process of certification where testing is conducted at Type Approval Authorities or Technical Services or is witnessed by competent persons representing them. A formal process which involves documented information packages about the vehicle, system or component being assessed and recorded along with testing of representative samples. The final essential element in the type approval process is Conformity of Production (CoP) where checks are made to ensure a manufacturer has appropriate measures in place at production facilities to ensure each product is in compliance with what is included within the stamped approval. I will look to cover EU type approval and the process in a separate future blog.
The type approval method is not unique to EU, this approach is also adopted in other major global markets including China, Japan and Taiwan. Witnessed testing, applications and CoP all apply but technical requirements and certainly administrative processes differ considerably.
Other markets take a different approach. For example, in the USA and Canada the process is self-certification. Here the requirements are laid out in a set of standards and manufacturers are expected to build their own evidence set to prove compliance, but this is not formally put forward to any authority unless potential issues or non-compliances are identified. Meaning a vehicle type could be sold for many years without any official third-party review of the certification data. The only exception is emissions which does need to be done in conjunction with the relevant authorities.
Some markets have a blend of the schemes described above. For example, in Brazil where some less critical subjects can be tested by the manufacturer internally, but the safety critical subjects must be assessed in ISO 17025 accredited laboratories or witnessed by the authorities.
As you can see even with this high-level discussion, global certification is complex. Castec Consulting is familiar with the intricacies and can work with you to aid understanding of the requirements and the processes as well as identifying the routes of least resistance.
Castec Consulting Limited an independent Type Approval, Certification and Compliance consultancy.
We provide specialist services, predominantly in the automotive sector, for companies in the UK and globally seeking assistance in a range of areas including; Vehicle Technology, Roadworthiness and Safety Research, Type Approval and Compliance, and legislative support.