Update regarding Pkw-EnVKV – Obligations of the German Car Labelling Ordinance for Cars to be amended
In mid-July, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz) proposed a new draft amendment to the German Energy Labelling Ordinance for Cars (Pkw-Energieverbrauchskennzeichnungsverordnung” – Pkw-EnVKV). The draft has much of the same content as an earlier draft from the Ministry (then still called the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy) from June 2021, which has apparently been on ice since then. This although the amendment is long overdue, since Regulation (EU) 2017/1151 made it mandatory as of the end of 2018 to calculate new-car fuel consumption and CO2 emissions using the new worldwide harmonised light vehicles test procedure (WLTP).
Now this step is finally to be taken in regard to fuel consumption and CO2 labelling obligations for passenger vehicles. It is to become mandatory to display the WLTP figures. To make them easier to understand for consumers, the WLTP test modes are to be changed from “low/medium/high/highest value” to “urban/suburban/country road/autobahn” in the Pkw-EnVKV. It will now also be mandatory to disclose the electric range of electric or hybrid vehicles on all documentation.
The current draft will also necessitate revised versions of the necessary documents at the point of sale and make changes in particular regarding advertising for passenger vehicles. It also includes several clarifications as a result of case law. For example, the new draft of the Pkw-EnVKV explicitly states that it is applicable to all advertising on the internet, including social media and video portals.
For the first time, the new draft also includes a definition of the term “new” car – a term that has repeatedly led to difficulties in practice. Under this definition, a car is to be considered “new” only if it is type-approved and was first registered for use on public roads no more than eight months previously or its odometer reads 1,000 or fewer kilometres.
Several changes to the previous draft version are also included in the new draft. Following strong criticism of the previous draft, the new draft will retain the previous draft’s abolishment of the “CO2 efficiency class”. However, in its place, “CO2 classes” are to be introduced, and the combined CO2 emissions will simply be assigned to a class (with no need for troublesome calculations).
The visibility requirement for mandatory notifications will likewise ultimately remain the same. Where the draft from 2021 required the type size of printed matter to be at least 9 pt, no such impractical provision has been included in the current draft. The requirement that the mandatory information be constantly visible in videos has likewise been removed.
The new draft also provides for certain practical simplifications. In digital advertising, it will generally be sufficient if the mandatory information can be found via a clearly recognisable link. It will be irrelevant how readable advertising on internet platforms is if it “is not or only partially readable solely due to the technical presentation by the platform on which the advertising appears without any influence by the manufacturer or dealer”.
Finally, the new draft provides market supervisory authorities with a right to information that entitles the authority to require manufacturers to name all variations or versions of a model and the fuel consumption and emissions figures for each. The intent here is to make it simpler for market supervisory authorities to fulfil their supervisory obligations.Now that the time period for feedback from relevant associations and the German federal states has elapsed, it will be interesting to see the extent to which the changes find their way into the final ordinance and when the long overdue amendment will actually enter into force. We will be monitoring the situation and will report on any progress in the legislative process.