Here at DriveElectric, we’re proud to have one of the UK’s largest electric van rental fleets. There’s never been a better time to lease an electric van, both in terms of choice and cost. One of the key things when it comes to cost is the savings you can make on the London Congestion Charge. Here we take a closer look at what this is, and how you can save a huge amount of money on it thanks to the latest Congestion Charge exempt vans.
What is the Congestion Charge?
The congestion charging scheme was first introduced in central London in 2003, aiming to reduce the amount of traffic in the capital. As well as helping to reduce pollution and rising levels of carbon emissions, the charge was also designed to encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport more often. It applies to every car driven within the signposted zone between the hours of 7 am and 10 pm every single day of the year, apart from Christmas Day. There are some exemptions though, which we’ll come to in a minute.
How much is the Congestion Charge?
As well as the environmental benefits, there’s no doubt Transport for London also makes a pretty packet out of the charge. Why? Because it’s £15 per day. That’s right, 15 quid even if you only briefly pop inside the zone. It sounds like a lot, but this means it adds a lot of value to exemptions. With an average of 22 working days in a month, a 100% discount on the charge equals a saving of £330 per month. Over a year with around 260 working days, that’s almost £4,000 of savings compared to a petrol or diesel van which doesn’t qualify for the discount.
Who pays the Congestion Charge?
Everyone has to pay except for those who can claim a discount or exemption. This could be through living within the zone, holding a Blue Badge or if you drive a vehicle with nine or more seats. There’s also a 100% discount for any car or van which meets the cleaner vehicle-discount criteria, having replaced the previous Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED).
Vehicles within this criteria must:
- Meet Euro 6 standards (petrol and diesel)
- Emit no more than 75g/km of CO2
- Have a minimum zero-emission range of 20 miles
And from 25 October 2021, only battery-electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are eligible.
To get your discount, you need to apply for it. You can set up a London road user charging account and apply online, and continue to manage and renew your discount through this account. Companies can set up a business account to manage their fleet of cars and vans, while all you need to do to prove you’re entitled to your discount is provide a V5C vehicle registration certificate. It does cost £10 to register a vehicle as exempt, with renewal required every year.
Which vans are exempt from the Congestion Charge?
All fully electric vans will continue to be exempt from the charge from October. That means there is no London Congestion Charge for vans such as the Nissan e-NV200. This award-winning model is one of the UK’s best-selling electric vans, and a superb option if you’re searching for a business lease on a new van.
Meanwhile, the standard and long-wheelbase versions of the excellent Peugeot e-Expert both qualify for the 100% cleaner vehicle discount. As more new models continue to come out, the choice of fully electric vans will only continue to get better.
What is the future of the Congestion Charge?
Like it or loathe it, the London Congestion Charge is here to stay. The area it covers is only likely to get bigger, while other cities may also see charges introduced. The cost of the charge will surely only increase, making the savings you get with electric vehicles (EVs) even greater.
Many more Londoners are now compelled to walk or cycle rather than drive, and this can only be a good thing for the environment and pollution levels within our capital. Our other city centres are less densely populated, but there’s still cause for concern when it comes to the concentration of carbon emissions, and they may follow suit with congestion charges.
What is the difference between the Congestion Charge and ULEZ?
The Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) are two different things. They both cover the same area of central London, but the ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. Smaller vehicles such as cars, small vans and motorcycles must pay £12.50 per day, while larger vehicles such as lorries have to pay £100 to enter the zone.
As the charge runs daily from midnight to midnight, you have to pay for two days if your trip within the ULEZ is between 11 pm and 1 am the next day, for example. It’s another sizeable cost for regular drivers in central London, with the boundaries expanding to the North and South Circular roads from October. However, electric cars and vans are also exempt from this charge, potentially saving another £275 per month, or £3,250 per year compared to petrol or diesel vans which have to pay the charge.
Whether you’re looking for advice on zero-emission vans or something else, we’re always happy to answer any questions you have about electric motoring. Get in touch and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Looking to lease an electric van and avoid the congestion charge? Then take a look at our latest electric van lease deals.