ECWVTA – Important Volvo Whole Vehicle Type Approval for European Trucks


With orders being taken now for delivery this autumn, Volvo Trucks has issued a reminder to customers that all vehicles registered after 29th October 2014 must have a complete or completed European Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA).


This means that, from 29th October, it will not be possible to register incomplete vehicles (i.e. rigid without bodywork or tractor without a fifth wheel). Furthermore, any delays in obtaining the relevant approvals and conformity documents will affect the registration and consequently the delivery date.

Compared to the new requirements for rigids, the ECWVTA for tractor units is relatively simple as Volvo’s range of tractor units comes from the factory with a complete EC whole vehicle approval.  However, there are some aspects of the ECWVTA to be aware of.

In particular, if a fifth-wheel is to be fitted after the truck is built, the installer must have the relevant approvals to fit one. This then becomes a multi-stage build in the same way as a rigid with body.

The other key change is that the EC approval only covers trucks up to 4.0m high. Any vehicle exceeding 4.0m, even on airflow, requires a National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA).

Multi-stage build working with bodybuilders
According to Volvo Trucks Managing Director Arne Knaben, the company has been prepared for the introduction of ECWVTA since 2012:

“In 2012, Volvo Trucks, working closely with Fuller Tankers and the Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA), became the first manufacturer in the UK to register a truck using the ECWVTA process,”he reports, “Customers tell us that the Volvo Trucks’ bodybuilder liaison programme is the best of its kind. In addition, our engineers take an active role in working with bodybuilders and dealers to help ensure conformity with legislation.”

“With tightened quality standards in terms of the bodybuilding process,” continues Arne Knaben, “The aim of the new regulations is to effect an improvement in quality and consistency of bodywork which will result in the complete vehicle meeting all the relevant EU regulations on key safety items, such as lighting, side guards to protect cyclists and rear under run for car users, as all these body built items will have to be tested and approved.”

Understanding the route to approval and registration
“We are advising our dealer network to make sure that they have a dialogue with all bodybuilders,” concludes Arne Knaben, “To check that bodywork quoted by customers or dealers fulfils the new legal demands and the bodybuilder has a certificate of conformity in place. They also need to check that the bodybuilder or bodybuilders (in a multi-stage process) are covered in terms of the route to approval for the relevant Volvo model or type, whether it be by an EC or NSSTA. The completed approval is for that body on that make and type of chassis. Customers also need to note that if they want to swap an existing body on to a new truck, then the complete truck has to go through the approval process.”

For low volume build, the more onerous route to approval is an Individual Vehicle Inspection (IVA). This is an inspection of the completed vehicle by DVSA prior to registration, so needs to be planned into the process. The truck needs to be complete for test including the body and conspicuity markings. Each vehicle is subject to test at a cost for inspection of £230.

It should also be noted that after 29th October ECWVTA-registration will not be possible for vehicles over 4 metres in height, since these vehicles will only be able to achieve conformity via the route of NSSTA or IVA.

The good news is that, with the exception of minor changes from non-approved, to ECWVTA approved components, such as side guards, most body types, including box vans, platform bodies, tankers and refuse vehicles will remain unchanged from today.

Exemptions revised: Side-Guards, Under Run and Spray Suppression required
However, with certain body types, such as tippers, mixers and hook-lifts, there are some fundamental changes operators and dealers need to take into account before placing an order.

These changes include the mandatory fitment of side-guards on all tippers. Fortunately, Volvo Trucks offer factory fitment of side guards, which means that they are then included in the manufacturer’s ECWVTA certificate of conformity. It is important on key items like side-guards that both Volvo and the body builder understand who is fitting the relevant approved item.

All tippers will also be required to be fitted with Rear Under-Run Protection (RUP), unless that is incompatible with the application, such as tipping into paving machines. It will no longer be permissible to fit other equipment, such as light protection guards and light bars, not covered by ECWVTA approvals, before the vehicle has been registered.

Another new requirement is that spray suppression will need to be fitted on tippers defined as primarily for on-road use (defined as N3 under the rules). This may require the fitting of chassis mounted mudwings.

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