Starting In April, Only Electric Cars Will Be Exempt From London Congestion Charge

DEC 24 2018 BY MARK KANE 22

BEVs to be exempt from London Congestion Charge until 2025 (PHEVs until 2021)

From April 2019 on, only plug-in electric cars will be exempt from London Congestion Charge, as British capital is trying to lower emissions. The upcoming changes will require Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs), like Uber and Addison Lee, to pay £11.50 ($14.5) a day. It’s expected that in result, 8,000 fewer of those will be driving in the city center.

“Zero-emission-capable” vehicles (aka plug-ins and maybe hydrogen fuel cell cars) will be exempt until 2021. After then, only pure electric vehicles will be exempt from the London Congestion Charge, and it will also not last forever, as the deadline is 2025.

If we understand correctly the intentions of the authorities, from 2025 there will be no exemptions and only zero-emission vehicles will be granted access (maybe beside privileged vehicles).

That, combined with new electric buses and a requirement for zero-emission-capable taxis, should help to clean the air.

Source: Autocar

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22 Comments on "Starting In April, Only Electric Cars Will Be Exempt From London Congestion Charge"

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From article: “…from 2025 there will be no exemptions and only zero-emission vehicles will be granted access (maybe beside privileged vehicles)…”
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That is aggressive and will certainly go a long way cleaning up the notorious air pollution around London.

London will serve as a demonstration showcase of how to effectively fight ICE fog which ICE fog has for a very long while been a high tax to the health of each London resident.

Fifteen years from now London residents will be able to take a jog around the neighborhood taking in clean crisp London air as it should be. Also London will becomes a more enjoyable for tourists to visit and walk about no longer blowing nose at end of day to expel built up ICE fog congestive mucus… been there done that.

Most of these zones are in the City of London, not greater London. The City is only a square mile or so, smaller than Central Park. It’s a central business district – only a few neighborhoods.

@Doggydogworld said: “Most of these zones are in the City of London, not greater London… only a square mile or so…”
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My understanding is that the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will at first cover the same area as the existing congestion charge zone in central London and will staring 2021 extend to a larger area.

“…From 25 October 2021, the ULEZ area will be expanded to include the inner London area bounded by the North and South Circular Roads…” source:
https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone

“The North Circular Road (officially the A406 and sometimes known as simply the North Circular) is a 25.7-mile-long (41.4 km) ring road around Central London in England…” source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_Circular_Road

“The South Circular Road… Together with the North Circular Road and Woolwich Ferry, it makes a complete ring-road around Central London…” source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Circular_Road,_London

So, for those of us unfamiliar with the area, how large a region would that be, in square miles or square kilometers?

It’s covers most of urban London, pretty much anything in zones 1-3 but probably a good 100 sq miles

Thanks, Chris! I see further discussion of this subject below.

Doddydog world – quote: “Most of these zones are in the City of London, not greater London. The City is only a square mile or so, smaller than Central Park. It’s a central business district – only a few neighborhoods.”
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I’m afraid not….. 🙁 The original congestion charge zone was a lot bigger than just the City of London, believe me, and the proposals are slowly getting more and more restrictive, with the affected area due to expand massively in the next few years. When the boundary is the north and south circular roads you’re talking about a large area – a fair percentage of Greater London.

See the map at https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/ulez-where-and-when

The Congestion Charge Zone is bigger than the City of London. It includes the West End. Hardly a few neighbourhoods. It was larger than this but BoJo removed it for the haunt of large SUV’s aka Chelsea Tractors when it covered Kensington and Chelsea. I wrote a lot of the software that was used to collect the camera data when the Zone was extended to Kensington and Chelsea.
This was the Capita managed system.

Erm? I wonder if I read it right.
According to the article, starting in 2019 PHEV only will be exempt from the tax, while BEV still will be taxed, is it correct?
Can’t see why exemption is for PHEV only thought.

No – exemption from charge from 2019 for ZEV and plug-in hybrid, then ZEV only from 2021, then after 2025 all pay the charges but only ZEVs allowed in at all.

(A recent report found that a lot of company cars are being bought as PHEVs by the company for tax reasons but the drivers are never bothering to ever plug them in. Hence a clampdown on tax and charge benefits for them to try to force the issue.)

London’s plans seem to be in constant flux, so the updates (with links) are greatly appreciated.

“BEVs to be exempt from London Congestion Charge by 2025 (PHEVs by 2021)”
“Zero-emission-capable vehicles (aka plug-ins and maybe hydrogen fuel cell cars) will be exempt by 2021″

Shouldn’t these read “until 2025” and “until 2021”? EVs are currently exempt from the charges, but will (in theory) lose the exemption in those years.

The exemption from paying the charges lasts until 2021 and 2025, but after those dates only ZEVs will be allowed in at all. The ultra-low emissions zone is due to be expanded in a few months- it’ĺl be interesting to see whether the non-ZEV ban in 2025 applies to the larger zone. (It’s a pretty big area.) There are currently exceptions or reliefs for residents inside the zones, “historic” vehicles (>40 years old) and a few others, but it’s getting stricter all the time. Currently the Prius is the minicab of choice in London – also interesting will be to see what happens there. I strongly suspect that for such drivers the Tesla 3’s arrival next year may be closely watched. Paying or not paying the charges every day will be very significant in terms of costing. But the big changes may come from what happens with the bus fleet. There are an increasing number of battery electric fleets and routes, 8 at last count (together with one hydrogen), coming into operation, mainly nearer the city centre, and it’s been the diesel buses and trucks that have contributed a lot to poor air quality. In the suburbs new buses are… Read more »

There are moves afoot to make all Private Hire and MiniCabs comply with the PRM (Persons of Reduced Mobility) regulations. That would take all the Prius’s out of the equation at a stroke along with every Tesla because they can’t take a person in a wheelchair. I don’t know if this will be enacted or not. The EV London Taxi and some of the Addison Lee vehicles will comply.

“There are currently exceptions or reliefs for residents inside the zones, ‘historic’ vehicles (>40 years old) and a few others, but it’s getting stricter all the time.”

Thank you! I was wondering if current residents had their gasmobiles grandfathered in. I expect there would be pretty terrific public resistance if they were not.

Gradual tightening of restrictions is the way to avoid any sudden public resistance to such public health measures. Like smoking, which in the U.S. was (if I recall correctly) first banned only in restaurants and hospitals, and gradually the ban was extended to all public places and areas of employment.

Here’s hoping other metropolitan areas follow where London is leading!

Up the EV revolution!

It looks like London doesn’t understand the meaning of “congestion”. It has nothing to do with pollution of an individual vehicle. Congestion pricing creates incentives for people to use public transit instead of driving in during rush hour. This creates a loophole. In fact, most public transit are far more energy efficient than the most frugal BEVs. So, even if pollution were the primary goal, congestion pricing should be kept in place for all cars.

Dan – quote: “It looks like London doesn’t understand the meaning of “congestion”. ”
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There are two separate things. The original scheme was the “congestion charge” which was brought in to deal with congestion primarily. It then became widened to have vehicle pollution as it’s remit as well, with exemptions for “green” vehicles – this was at a time when electric cars were pretty rare.

Now the talk is of the “ultra-low emission zone” which is *in addition* to the congestion charge. The rules keep evolving and get more and more complex, and the areas changing, but if you drive a vehicle considering more polluting, then the ULEZ charge will currently be levied *AS WELL AS* the congestion charge.

But they are two different things, and (for example) the congestion charge is not levied at all times of the day – the ULEZ charge (currently the “T-charge”) is. Currently the congestion charge is £11.50 a day – drive a more polluting vehicle and be charged an EXTRA £10 at the moment.

The original purpose of the ‘Congestion Charge Zone’ back in the early 2000’s was to reduce congestion of the roads in central london between 07:00 and 18:00. I did work for a while. Many people got around it by registering their car as a ‘Private Hire’ vehicle which was exempt.

Now the focus has moved on to reducing pollution. Parts of the Zone have really high levels of pollution so they are trying to fix that. The cameras and systems are all in place so making the zone focus on different vehicles is almost a zero cost operation.

With more EV’s on the road it makes sense to me to start arm twisting to get ICE vehicles off the road in the capital.

They are trying to fix both congestion of vehicles and nasal congestion from all the pollution.

By 2025, the charge will apply to all cars, but until then, they are using the opportunity to clean up the gas cars.

It’s complicated but…
The congestion zone is 21sqkm so much bigger than the city of London but only about 1.5% of the whole of Greater London.
The article is about the congestion zone and exemptions thereof.

The ultra low emission zone is currently also the same size as the congestion zone but Is an additional charge for the dirtiest vehicles (pre Euro 4). Effectively doubles the congestion charge for non compliant vehicles. This tightens to pre euro 6 diesel (euro 4 petrol) in April 2019. In 2021 it expands to north & south circular (‘inner london’ v large area which I think would include most of the population of London). At the same time they will withdraw discount for residents (currently 90%, so this will be very impactful). As far as I know there is no current plan to restrict free access to the ULEZ beyond Euro 6/4.

UK is one of the places that should be tripling down on EVs. Due to the size of the UK, an EV can easily get to most places around the country in 1 charge.

The main problem in the UK is the unusually large proportion of older homes that don’t have their own parking, so the inhabitants have to park on the street and to use an EV would have to rely on often unreliable public chargers. Also I don’t think country size has much to do with uptake of EVs

>Also I don’t think country size has much to do with uptake of EVs
Not when EVs often have limited range.