What does ULEV mean?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQs, Model Information on Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 at 7:02 pm
exhaust pipe of new vehicles

What ULEV and Other Similar Acronyms Mean

If you’ve shopped around for Volkswagen vehicles, you’ve probably seen a filter category labeled as ULEV or SULEV. When you check those boxes, it can seem like nothing changed or like you’re only getting specific models. Well, we’re here let you in on the jargon. Turns out, ULEV is a really good thing.

Here’s what ULEV means.


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Emissions Designations

Person plugging in electric carAny “EV” designation refers to a vehicle’s emission rate. Each one is a comparison to the overall annual average set by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). This means a 2016 emission rating can be different from a 2020 rating. Volkswagen has adopted this scale for all its US offerings.

  • LEV = Low-emission vehicle – Minimum emission standard for all new cars sold in California
  • ULEV = Ultra-low-emission vehicle – Emits 50% less than other vehicles
  • SULEV = Super-ultra-low-emission vehicle – Emits 90% less than other vehicles
  • PZEV = Partial-zero-emission vehicle – Same as SULEV, but no evaporative emissions
  • AT-PZEV = Advanced tech PZEV – Same as PZEV, but meets some ZEV conditions (e.g. hybrids)
  • ZEV = Zero-emissions vehicle – No tailpipe emissions (e.g. electric and hydrogen vehicles)

Efficiency Acronyms Explained

Back in the 90s, California had impressively terrible air pollution problems, particularly in the Los Angeles area. Consequently, the CARB formed and put some state legislation in place to curb carbon emissions. Every vehicle receives a designation—one of the above acronyms. While it’s not official everywhere else, it is a scale used by much of the US. The vehicle can either be taxed less leniently or more heavily based on its designation. These taxes may apply to the manufacturer, the seller, and the owner. Japan has a similar system in place. Its ratings are no stars (LEV), 3-stars (ULEV), or 4-stars (SULEV).

Not Just Good for the Environment

Schworer Volkswagen offers extended warranties on all new and certified pre-owned Volkswagen vehicles. In conjunction with Volkswagen, they also offer myriad protection plans to ensure your Volkswagen stays on the road.

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