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Designing Consumer Information for the Next Generation

Project Brief

Consumers exploit a multitude of sources to gather information and make comparisons at different stages of the car buying process – the fuel economy label being one source. Automotive consumer research has revealed that the internet has become one of the most influential information channels for car buyers over the last five years. LowCVP research on consumer information channels related to car buying revealed that the presentation of CO2 emission, fuel consumption and running cost data lacked consistency across different UK websites.

The introduction of the World Harmonised Light Duty Vehicle Test Procedure will result in more representative, real world, fuel consumption and CO2 emissions figures for new cars. In recent years consumer awareness of the gap between real world and official’ (vehicle test cycle) fuel consumption has resulted in lack of confidence in official fuel consumption figures presented on car labels and automotive websites. There is an increasing interest in consumers knowing the ‘true MPG’ of a car; with several websites providing this information. It is possible that similar concerns will arise for plug-in car electricity consumption and electric range figures. The introduction of the WLTP should help solve this issue, however in the interim period consumers could be presented with two sets of CO2 emissions and fuel consumption figures (NEDC equivalent and WLTP) which could be confusing if not appropriately explained.

There has been growing interest in providing car buyers with information pertaining air quality. The Government’s latest Draft NO2 Action Plan makes reference to the car fuel economy label being used to communicate air quality information in order to help consumer purchase lower emission cars. LowCVP has been tasked to work in partnership with the Government to explore this opportunity for revising the voluntary section of the new car fuel economy label.

It is clearly apparent that a multiplicity of challenges need to be overcome in order for consumers to make more informed choices and encourage the increased take-up of low carbon cars. The provision of trustworthy, accessible, consistent and appropriate information is necessary to aid consumers over the next few years. It is therefore essential that a collaborative and consistent approach is adopted, thus helping to avoid confusion for consumers and stimulating the uptake of the most efficient cars for consumers' particular journey needs.

Objectives

  • To provide car buyers with improved information during the car buying process to make more informed choices regarding the optimum vehicles for their journey patterns, and encourage the increased take up of low emission cars.
  • Undertake car buyer research to facilitate the provision of improved presentation of representative (WLTP) fuel economy data, running cost and environmental information for ICE, PHEV and EVs taking into account web-based information and designing new car fuel economy labels.
  • To make recommendations on a standardised set of data parameters that can aid consumer purchasing ICE and plug-in cars and enable simple comparisons between models.
  • To identify how to present WLTP data for ICE, PHEV and EV on fuel economy labels and create new label designs.
  • Identify how to incorporate information pertaining to air quality onto the car label

Deliverables

Engagement with Government and key stakeholders

Delivery Timetable

April 2017 – December 2018

Project Management

This project will be managed by Gloria Esposito with input from a project steering group comprising of PCWG members.

Project Partners

Comcar, TEPR, SMMT, Millbrook, Liverpool University, JLR, GM, PSA, BMW, IAM, DfT, EST, Toyota, VW, Glasses,
 

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A member view...

The LowCVP provides an effective way of engaging with a broad range of stakeholders and policy makers
Sophie Ogunbiyi, Toyota Motor Europe