Type Approval for Goods Vehicles N1 to N3

This page was last updated on 5th March 2020

European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA)

EC Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA) is based around a Whole Vehicle approval framework directive – 2007/46/EC – and provides for the approval of whole vehicles. It also includes a package of subordinate requirements for vehicle systems and separate components which are based around a mixture of EU Regulations and UN Regulations. This certification is accepted throughout the EU without the need for further testing until a standard is updated or the vehicle design changes.

A manufacturer holding an ECWVTA can produce unlimited numbers of vehicles for distribution in the whole of the EU.

As of 1st September 2020 the 2007/46/EC framework directive is repealed by a replacement EU framework regulation – EU 2018/858. This EU regulation applies to all Member States without transposition into the national law of each Member State, although Member States will need to enact certain requirements of the regulation into their national law as directed by the regulation.

The Whole Vehicle approval frameworks provide for the approval of whole vehicles systems, components and separate technical units. Through a suite of implementing regulations they also include a package of subordinate requirements for vehicle systems and separate components, which are based around a mixture of EU Regulations and UN Regulations. This certification is accepted throughout the EU without the need for further testing until a standard is updated or the vehicle design changes.

Note that in the UK the national regulations covering vehicles which are in-service have certain exemptions for tipping vehicles. For example, safety equipment such as spray suppression, lateral protection and rear under-run protection are not required in use and are not tested as part of the annual roadworthiness test. However, these exemptions are not carried over into any of the approval schemes, and so these safety devices and equipment must be fitted in order to gain approval and in subsequent production

Low volume/Small Series Manufacturers

Full EC whole vehicle type approval (ECWVTA) won’t suit everyone, particularly those manufacturing vehicles in low numbers.  In recognition of this fact there are a number of other approval routes available, including:

European Community Small Series Type Approval (EC SSTA) – N1 only

EC Small Series Type Approval caters for low volume producers of cars and light vans / trucks (M1 and N1 only, but is not available for Special Purpose vehicles), and like full ECWVTA will allow Europe wide sales but with a limit of 1,000 per type per year in the whole of the EU. It has some alternative technical and administrative requirements when compared with a ‘full’ ECWVTA.

Like ECWVTA, once the design is approved, individual vehicles do not need to be tested..

National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA)

National Small Series Type Approval is a UK national scheme for low volume manufacturers who intend to sell only in the UK. The advantages of NSSTA are relaxed technical requirements for some subjects, a more pragmatic approach to the Conformity of Production (CoP) requirements, and reduction in administrative requirements. Like ECWVTA, once the design is approved, individual vehicles do not need to be tested.

Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA)

Individual Vehicle Approval is a UK national scheme and the most likely route for those manufacturing or importing single vehicles or very small numbers. IVA does not require CoP as it is based on inspection of each vehicle, although most bodybuilders and converters will work with manufacturers to ensure there is no warranty compromise.

The IVA scheme is the least onerous of the approval routes in terms of compliance but involves an individual inspection of each vehicle. This route to approval permits registration or entry into service only within the UK.

Under IVA, vehicles have to be inspected by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) in Great Britain or the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland.

Further information about the scheme is available on the www.gov.uk website

N1 Enhancement scheme

This scheme will remain in the current format until 31st December 2020. That is unless as part of a review appropriate changes are identified. Any changes will be communicated on this page.

To cater for certain vehicles which are modified before registration such as panel vans and some pick-up trucks, VCA has developed the ‘N1 Enhancements Scheme’ which is a light touch way of ensuring compliance with the national regulations.

It is for the enterprise that is making the modifications to determine for itself whether the modifications cause the vehicle to need to a new approval. In the N1 Enhancements Scheme  document, we have provided guidance with links to appropriate parts of the legislation to help enterprises in their decision process.

If a decision is made to the effect that a further approval is not required then no action need be taken, although it would be a good idea for an enterprise to record the rationale behind this decision in case they need to rely on it in any future discussions with customers, etc.  In these cases VCA has no role and cannot provide any documentation (other than the N1 Enhancements Scheme document) to support enterprises in their discussions with customers.

If the enterprise decides it does need an approval for a vehicle VCA has provided a ‘light touch’ scheme which will enable an enterprise to apply for, and receive, an IVA through a mainly administrative process. The scheme is open to enterprises with CoP Clearance from VCA. To get CoP Clearance an enterprise will need to demonstrate that they have suitable processes, controls and documentation. They will also need to submit a vehicle for inspection to show that the measures outlined above are robust and produce vehicles in compliance with the required standard.

To apply to use the scheme complete both of the application forms below;

  • the first will start the process of gaining CoP Clearance where this is not already in place.
  • the second will be to receive a job number in order to obtain the enhancement report

Important note:

Applications for the N1 Enhancement Scheme should only be made by ‘enterprises’ that are responsible for complete enhancement process.  Typically this would be:

  • A commercial bodybuilder
  • A motor dealer

Applications from businesses or companies who only perform part of the Enhancement process will generally be unsuccessful – for example, mobile installers of equipment – as they generally do not have overall responsibility for the whole process.  Often in such cases, these enterprises are sub-contracted by a dealer to do part of the enhancement work and the vehicle may well be further enhanced by other companies prior to registration. Therefore in such cases there is often no certainty that the application covers the entire modification.

In such cases the way forward for suppliers of such goods and services is to reach an agreement with the enterprise in overall control of the Enhancement process (most likely a dealer). This agreement could take the form of a commitment from a supplier to meet the supplier verification requirements in the dealer’s Quality Management System. For example – according to clause 7.4.1 of ISO9001:2015;

“The organization shall evaluate and select suppliers based on their ability to supply product in accordance with the organization’s requirements.”

A CoP audit process may verify the effectiveness of such arrangements in meeting the requirements of ISO 9001:2015, but other than that these are commercial matters which are of no concern to VCA, so dealers and their suppliers should negotiate these matters to suit themselves.