EV Congestion Charge exemption

Electric vehicles can travel into central London without paying the Congestion Charge, but there are some steps to take to get them registered. Here’s what you need to know.

Which vehicles are exempt from the London Congestion Charge?

Introduced in 2003, the London Congestion Charge was designed to curb traffic jams and encourage more sustainable travel into the capital. It encompasses an eight square mile zone within central London, within which car and van drivers pay a £15 entry fee between 7am and 10pm [1] every day except Christmas Day.

TfL has offered a 100% discount for the lowest-CO2 vehicles since the scheme was launched, and has gradually tightened the criteria in the meantime. Exemptions currently in place for some plug-in hybrids expire on 25th October 2021 [2]. This means only fully electric (or hydrogen fuel cell) cars and vans will be able to enter the Congestion Charge Zone without paying from that date.

However, this isn’t set up automatically. Drivers must register eligible vehicles on their TfL account to avoid liability for Congestion Charge and subsequent fines for non-payment.

How do I register my electric vehicle for Congestion Charge exemption?

Registration is carried out online and LeasePlan cannot do this on your behalf. The process is as follows:

  • Congestion Charge discounts are managed via your own London Road User Charging account. If you do not have one already, you can register here.
  • When your vehicle is delivered, you will need to request a copy of your V5 document from LeasePlan. Unfortunately this cannot be produced in advance, as the V5 is only issued by the DVLA when the vehicle is registered, and can take several days to be delivered. Requests can be made via our website: here.
  • Each vehicle then needs to be added to your London Road User Charging account. TfL charges an annual fee of £10 per vehicle, and it can take up to ten days for registrations to be completed. In the meantime, the vehicle will still attract a Congestion Charge. To register your vehicle, click here.

How does this differ from the Ultra-Low Emission Zone?

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) covers the same area as the Congestion Charge Zone, but it will be expanded to the North Circular (A406) and South Circular (A205) on 25th October 2021 [3]. A £12.50 fee applies for petrol cars and vans which don’t meet the Euro 4 emissions standard and diesels that don’t meet Euro 6, and charging is in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, except for Christmas Day.

As Euro 4 came into force in January 2005, and Euro 6 in September 2015, all new vehicles are compliant. Unlike the Congestion Charge, TfL says most vehicles will automatically be recognised as such, so drivers do not need to register them for a discount [4].


REFERENCES:

[1] Transport for London (2019). Congestion Charge (Official). [online] Transport for London. Available at: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/congestion-charge. [Accessed 28th April 2021]

[2] Transport for London (n.d.). Discounts and exemptions. [online] Transport for London. Available at: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/congestion-charge/discounts-and-exemptions. [Accessed 28th April 2021]

[3] Transport for London (n.d.). ULEZ expansion. [online] Transport for London. Available at: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/ulez-expansion. [Accessed 28th April 2021]

[4] Transport for London (n.d.). Registering your vehicle. [online] Transport for London. Available at: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/low-emission-zone/find-out-if-you-need-to-register. [Accessed 28th April 2021]

 

Electric vehicles are exempt from the London Congestion Charge, which means drivers regularly visiting the capital can save hundreds of pounds per year. However, there are some steps drivers need to take to avoid unexpected charges and fines.

Find out which vehicles qualify for exemptions, which areas are affected and how to get your vehicle registered here.

 

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