European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA)
If you make large numbers of vehicles each year and/or you plan to sell across Europe, ECWVTA is the best approval option.
The European approval scheme is based on the concept of "type approval" and put simply; this process provides a mechanism for ensuring that vehicles meet relevant environmental, safety and security standards. Because it is not practical to test every single vehicle made, one production vehicle is tested as being representative of the 'type'. A number of performance requirements will apply to a given vehicle type ranging from tyres through to exhaust emissions and braking systems. To ensure a consistent approach, the test methodology is outlined in the relevant EC Directive / Regulation or UNECE Regulation and the tests are carried out at an appropriate facility. If you are a vehicle manufacturer, your supply chain will probably have system and component approvals in place already.
Once all of the system and component approvals are in place, the vehicle will be considered as a whole by a designated approval body; in the UK this is VCA. This assessment can take place at your facility, providing you have the appropriate equipment and environment. A successful inspection will result in the issue of a European Whole Vehicle Type Approval Certificate. This certification will be accepted throughout the EU without the need for further testing until a standard is updated or your design changes. Once a vehicle is approved, the manufacturer should have processes in place to produce a Certificate of Conformity (CofC) for each vehicle manufactured.
Conformity of Production (CoP) is an integral part of the approval process. Essentially, this involves the evaluation of your manufacturing processes to ensure that each product is manufactured in accordance with the approved specification. If you have a formal quality system in place, such as ISO 9001 or ISO/TS 16949, the level of CoP inspection may be reduced. VCA is also a management systems certification body, specialising in the automotive industry.
What is a Type?
On the face of it, you may feel that you have many vehicles to approve but in practice, these may boil down to just a few 'types'. But how is a type defined?
Essentially, a type can best be viewed as a range of vehicles, which share a set of fundamental characteristics (these are described in the Directive at Section B of Annex II)
In multi-stage type approval, where the vehicle is built in more than one stage, such as a manufacturer building a chassis cab and a body builder/converter adding a tipper body, the body builder/converter will need to get a type approval corresponding to each of the base vehicle manufacturer's chassis types. However, many areas of a vehicle are not covered by type approval and as such will not have an impact on the 'type', for example, (generally) the bodywork on a truck will not affect the type, so it is possible to include box vans, curtainsiders, tippers and flatbeds on the same approval and it may not matter if other equipment (such as cranes, etc.) were fitted.
The approval process can seem daunting but there are organisations on hand to support you. VCA is the UK type approval authority and can provide the practical help you need. VCA can also provide support with quality systems issues too, providing a "one stop" service. If you feel that EC type approval is best for you and you want to know more, you can contact the experts at VCA using either of the following:
* Customers in North America should contact us here to make an application, or for further information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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