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What Are the Vehicle Categories and Type Criteria? Category M #Basics

In this article, we delve into the fundamentals of homologation, focusing on vehicle categories and type criteria. We explore the topic in detail with examples to provide a deeper understanding.

In this article, we delve into the fundamentals of homologation, focusing on vehicle categories and type criteria. We explore the topic in detail with examples to provide a deeper understanding.

Vehicle Categories

As you know, vehicles on the road are classified into specific categories. The type approval certificate requirements are determined based on these categories. In this article, we will address the category conditions and type criteria for M1, M2 and M3 category vehicles.

M Category Vehicles and Type Criteria

M category vehicles are divided into three subcategories: M1, M2, and M3. M1 category vehicles include cars and some special-purpose vehicles, while M2 and M3 category vehicles are buses.

M category vehicles are primarily designed for the transport of passengers and their luggage. We will create a separate section for special-purpose vehicles.

M1 Category Cars

M1 category vehicles are cars that can carry up to 8 passengers, not including the driver. In other words, a vehicle with 9 seats including the driver is classified as a car. Additionally, these vehicles do not allow for standing passengers.

The body types for defining M1 category vehicles include Saloon, Hatchback, Station Wagon, Coupe, Convertible, Multi-purpose, and Truck Station Wagon. These body types are defined in the ISO 3833:1977 (Details) standard. However, we will focus more on the type variant and version criteria rather than these details.

Type Criteria for M1 Category Cars

For an M1 category vehicle to be considered the same type, it must meet the following conditions:

  1. Manufacturer
  2. The design and assembly of the essential parts of the body structure in the case of a self-supporting body.
  3. Some sections of the body structure (especially the front section) must have the same design.

For example, we have two different models: one is a sedan, and the other is a coupe. If the manufacturer is the same and the main components of the body structure are the same, the vehicles can be defined as the same type. The critical point here is that the body structure from the windshield forward must be the same.

Vehicle Categories Type Criteria M Category Homologation M2 and M3 Category Vehicles

An example of this would be the VW Passat and VW CC.

Another condition applicable to each category is that a variant and version definition must also be made.

Variant Criteria M1 Category Cars

For a vehicle that meets the type criteria mentioned above, the following variant criteria must also be specified:

  1. The number of lateral doors or the type of bodywork as defined in point 2 of Part C when the manufacturer uses the criterion of point 1.1.2.
  2. The power plant with regard to the following construction features: (a) the type of energy supply (internal combustion engine, electric motor or other); (b) the working principle (positive ignition, compression ignition or other); (c) the number and arrangement of cylinders in the case of internal combustion engines (L4, V6 or other);
  3. The number of axles;
  4. The number and interconnection of powered axles;
  5. The number of steered axles;
  6. The stage of completion (e.g., complete/incomplete);
  7. In the case of multi-stage built vehicles, the manufacturer and the type of the previous stage vehicle.

Each of the criteria mentioned above is included in the classification for the same vehicle type. The simple rule to understand here is that a vehicle does not require a second certification for variant and version criteria. In other words, a vehicle type has one type approval number.

Version Criteria M1 Category Cars

After defining the variant criteria, the following criteria should be used to create a version: (a) the technically permissible maximum laden mass; (b) the engine capacity in the case of internal combustion engines; (c) the maximum engine power output or the maximum continuous rated power (electric motor); (d) the nature of the fuel (petrol, gas oil, LPG, bi-fuel or other); (e) the maximum number of seating positions; (f) drive-by sound level; (g) exhaust emission level (for example Euro 5, Euro 6 or other); (h) combined or weighted, combined CO2 emissions; (i) electric energy consumption (weighted, combined); (j) combined or weighted, combined fuel consumption.

As an alternative to the criteria in points (h), (i), and (j), the vehicles grouped into a version shall have in common all tests performed for the calculation of their CO2 emissions, electric energy consumption, and fuel consumption in accordance with sub-Annex 6 to Annex XXI to Commission Regulation (EU) 2017/1151.

After applying the version criteria, we can say that the basic criteria for the production of a vehicle have emerged.

Now, let’s support these criteria with an example. We are producing a sedan vehicle.

The manufacturer and body structure components of this vehicle are grouped into a single criterion, meaning we don’t have a different structure. If this information changes, the type changes. In this case, a separate certification process must be carried out. We can determine the type of the vehicle.

Let’s assume we have determined the type code of our example vehicle as HMLGSYNCO. Now we come to determine the variant. In the variant criteria, we have multiple criteria. You may have multiple options for each criterion.

For example, the sedan vehicle has an electric motor version and an internal combustion engine version. We need to make a separate definition for each. This should be defined in the type, variant and version table of the information document. We have compiled each criterion into a table.

Let’s say we have 2 different options for each criterion. We create a combination of these to make the variant selection.

Let’s assume our example variant is coded as AA50DDXX. Now, in the certification stage, we also define a version. Again, we classify each criterion. For example, one option for the maximum laden weight is 2100 kg, and another option is 2300 kg. We define these with different codes.

Then, for the first vehicle we produce, a version combination also emerges. Let’s assume our example version is BCBCFF3000. Now we must be able to relate each variant and version to each other.

In other words, we need to prepare a matrix. Which variants can be associated with which versions? A detailed study should be prepared. For example, matching a version in electric energy consumption for an internal combustion engine would be an error.

That should be defined as a “not applicable” field in the version sections for the internal combustion engine.

Then, according to the matrix, we can reveal our production varieties.

M2 and M3 Vehicle Categories and Classes

As with M1 category vehicles, the purpose of M2 and M3 category vehicles is also passenger transportation. However, these are mostly defined as buses.

M2 category vehicles are motor vehicles with a maximum laden weight of 5000 kg or less, while M3 category vehicles are motor vehicles with a maximum laden weight of over 5000 kg.

In these categories, vehicle classes and definitions can be confused. While categorization considers only the maximum laden weight, classification takes into account the number of passengers and whether there are standing passengers.

M2 and M3 category vehicles are considered in a total of 5 classes:

  • Class A buses are vehicles that can carry standing passengers and do not exceed 22 passengers.
  • Class B buses are vehicles that carry only seated passengers and do not exceed 22 passengers.
  • Class I buses are vehicles with accessible features that have a passenger capacity of more than 22 and can carry standing passengers. An example of this definition would be buses used in urban public transportation that can carry wheelchair passengers, with most areas allocated for standing passengers.
  • Class II buses are vehicles that can also carry standing passengers but are limited to areas that do not enter the areas allocated for seated passengers. To understand this definition, you can consider medium-sized vehicles of 9m-10m.
  • Class III buses are vehicles with a passenger capacity of more than 22, which carry only seated passengers. You can think of large intercity passenger buses.

Here, an M2 category vehicle can be made both Class A and Class I if it meets the necessary conditions. The point I want to emphasize here is this: There is a misconception that M2 vehicles can only be Class A and B. This is not true. Similarly, you can produce an M3 category bus as Class B.

At the forefront of the above conditions is having a passenger capacity of at least 9.

M2 and M3 Category Type, Variant, and Version Criteria

As in the M1 category vehicle example, a type, variant, and version definition should be made for M2 and M3 category vehicles during the certification stage. We will not provide an additional example for this. The same logic can be applied.

Buses in the M2 and M3 categories can be defined within a type if they do not differ in the following characteristics:

(a) the manufacturer’s company name. A change in the legal form of ownership of the company does not require that a new approval has to be granted;

(b) the category;

(c) the following aspects of construction and design:

(i) the design and construction of the essential constituent elements forming the chassis;

(ii) the design and construction of the essential constituent elements forming the body structure in the case of a self-supporting body;

(d) the number of decks (single or double);

(e) the number of sections (rigid/articulated);

(f) the number of axles;

(g) the mode of energy supply (on-board or off-board);

Variant Criteria for M2 and M3 Categories

(a) the type of bodywork as defined in point 3 of Part C;

(b) the class or combination of classes of vehicles as defined in paragraph 2.1.1 of UN Regulation No 107 (only in the case of complete and completed vehicles);

(c) the stage of completion (e.g. complete/incomplete/completed);

(d) the power plant with regard to the following construction features:

(i) the type of energy supply (internal combustion engine, electric motor or other);

(ii) the working principle (positive ignition, compression ignition or other);

(iii) the number and arrangement of cylinders in the case of internal combustion engine (L6, V8 or other);

(e) in the case of multi-stage built vehicles, the manufacturer and the type of the previous stage vehicle.

Version Criteria for M2 and M3 Categories

(a) the technically permissible maximum laden mass;

(b) the ability of the vehicle to tow a trailer or not;

(c) the engine capacity in the case of internal combustion engine;

(d) the maximum engine power output or the maximum continuous rated power (electric motor);

(e) the nature of the fuel (petrol, gas oil, LPG, bi-fuel or other);

(f) drive-by sound level;

(g) exhaust emission level (for example Euro IV, Euro V or other).

Body Types for M2 and M3 Category Vehicles

  • Single-deck vehicle (CA): A vehicle with spaces for passengers arranged on a single level.
  • Double-deck vehicle (CB): Defined by paragraph 2.1.6 of UN Regulation No 107.
  • Single-deck articulated vehicle (CC): Defined by paragraph 2.1.3 of UN Regulation No 107, with a single deck.
  • Double-deck articulated vehicle (CD): Defined by paragraph 2.1.3.1 of UN Regulation No 107.
  • Low-floor single-deck vehicle (CE): Defined by paragraph 2.1.4 of UN Regulation No 107, with a single deck.
  • Low-floor double-deck vehicle (CF): Defined by paragraph 2.1.4 of UN Regulation No 107, with a double deck.
  • Articulated low-floor single-deck vehicle (CG): Combines the features of single-deck articulated vehicles and low-floor single-deck vehicles.
  • Articulated low-floor double-deck vehicle (CH): Combines the features of double-deck articulated vehicles and low-floor double-deck vehicles.
  • Open top single deck vehicle (CI): A vehicle with a partial or no roof.
  • Open top double deck vehicle (CJ): A vehicle without a roof over all or part of its upper deck.
  • Bus chassis (CX): An incomplete vehicle consisting of chassis rails or tube assembly, powertrain, and axles, intended to be completed with customized bodywork.

Conclusion

In short, M category vehicles are vehicles produced for passenger transportation. There are specific criteria for each vehicle category. In the production of a vehicle, it is first necessary to properly define the classifications, that is, the type, variant, and version criteria.

Source: EU 2018/858

Emre Cetin
Emre Cetin

I have been acquainted with homologation in the automotive sector for over 10 years now. We have accomplished great things in many projects within various teams. Adapting to the recently updated homologation processes has been particularly exciting. Integrating past experiences with new procedures fosters a fertile ground for innovation and productivity. Having a special interest and expertise in both automotive and technology,

I am thrilled by the prospect of these fields converging in the future. It is a privilege to be a part of the journey in automotive and technology!

For this reason, I have decided to launch a blog project that I have long envisioned, where I can share my experiences and assess developments in the industry.

Previously, in the early years of my career, I managed a well-loved project named Homologasyon.xyz, which offered content in Turkish. I had decided to discontinue this project for various reasons.

Now, I am excited to engage with an international audience through a new blog project, sharing knowledge and insights. I hope my efforts will contribute positively to the industry.

Please feel free to contact me with your views and suggestions.

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