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Are electric vehicles exempt from the Congestion Charge?

Are electric vehicles exempt from the Congestion Charge?

There are many perks to electric vehicles – cheaper running costs, zero tailpipe emissions and free parking, to name a few. But do electric cars also benefit from not having to pay the congestion charge?

Read on to find out if EVs are exempt from the London Congestion Charge in 2022.

What is the Congestion Charge?

The Congestion Charge was introduced in 2003 by Transport for London (TfL) in the hopes of reducing air pollution, slashing traffic and aiding London’s transition to become a net-carbon-zero city by 2030.

If you enter the Congestion Charge zone in central London, you will be subjected to a fee if you don’t meet the emission standards. The zone covers the London inner ring road, including the West End and the City of London. Signposts display a red circle with a white C in the middle to indicate when you are approaching these areas, and number plate recognition is used to calculate charges.

No other city in the UK has a congestion charge, but there are other areas that have introduced Zero Emission Zones in the hopes of decreasing their carbon footprint.

How much is the London Congestion Charge?

The cost is a fixed £15 per day if you drive within the Congestion Charge zone. Although there are discounts available. For example, Blue Badge holders receive a 100% discount, and local residents can apply for a 90% discount.

What are the charging times?

The running hours for the Congestion Charge are 07:00 – 18:00 Monday to Friday and 12:00 – 18:00 Saturday to Sunday. Thankfully, there’s no charge between Christmas day and New Year’s Day, but unfortunately, there are charges on bank holidays. If you drive within the Congestion Charge zone during these days and times, you will have to pay.

Do electric vehicles have to pay the Congestion Charge in London?

Yes and no.

Pure battery electric vehicles are fully exempt from the Congestion Charge. This includes the most popular EVs on the current market, such as:

  • Tesla Model 3
  • Vauxhall Corsa-e
  • Nissan Leaf e+
  • Mini Electric
  • Renault Zoe
  • Kia e-Niro

However, hybrid PHEVs are not exempt from the Congestion Charge. This has not always been the case. Pre 25 October 2021, hybrids were spared the fee, but they are no longer exempt after the eligibility changes.

Overall, when it comes down to eligible vehicles, you need to own a battery electric or a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to be fully exempt.

congestion charge paint on road with car driving

Do I need to register my EV for the congestion charge?

Yes. Even if you have a fully electric vehicle, you can’t drive through the zone without applying for the 100% discount. You need to ensure your vehicle is registered with Transport for London before entering the zone, or else you will be subjected to the £15 fee.

How to register an electric vehicle for the congestion charge:

To pass through the designated Congestion Charge area in London free of charge, you will have to sign up for the Cleaner Vehicle discount (previously named the Ultra Low Emission Discount). Even then, you will have to continue to pay the charge until you receive confirmation.

The Cleaner Vehicle Discount:

How do I apply for the cleaner vehicle discount?

You can apply online via the Transport for London website. Make sure you have a registration document (your V5C vehicle registration certificate) on hand to prove your electric vehicle qualifies for the discount!

How much does the cleaner vehicle discount cost?

The Cleaner Vehicle Discount will need to be renewed each year at a cost of £10.

Will electric cars always be exempt from the Congestion Charge?

Unfortunately not. From 25 December 2025, the Cleaner Vehicle discount will end, meaning all electric vehicles – including pure battery electric vehicles – will no longer be exempt, and EV drivers will have to pay the congestion charge. That is, of course, unless you are eligible for another discount.

Is the Congestion Charge the same as the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)?

No, the Congestion Charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zone are entirely different, despite both attempting to tackle air pollution in the UK.

While the two are in London, they are in different areas. This means that if you travel through the Congestion Charge zone and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, you will have to pay both fees – unless you are exempt.

You can find more information about electric vehicles and ULEZ here.

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Struggling to charge in London? Invest in a home EV charger and charge faster and cheaper. If you’re looking to make the switch to a dedicated charger, have a browse at our exciting range of EV chargers here. Or, contact us at 03333 44 96 99, our expert customer service team will always be happy to help.

Tethered charger

This type of electric charger has it's own cable to charge your car.

Socketed charger

This type of electric charger requires a seperate cable to charge your car.

Spread over a 60 month period.

Also available over 24, 36 and 48 month periods.

We will contact you to process the credit application. Approval is subject to application, financial circumstances and borrowing history. 12.9% APR representative. T&Cs apply.

Your order is not confirmed until your application has been approved.

Underground cable

We lay SWA cable laid at 600mm deep, with a protective cable warning tape laid 150mm above the cable. These are laid on a sand or sifted sand soil bed then backfilled.

Overhead cable

We position overhead cables at a minimum height of 3.5m and are run along a catenary wire. The cable run should not be accessible to vehicles.

Standard Installation
Our instant price is fixed if it falls within our standard installation package plus any additions that you have selected (extra cabling for example). This package covers the majority of homes in the UK. Before we undertake your installation we will carry out a digital survey to check that nothing has been missed. After reviewing the survey results some additional work may be required in order to complete your installation safely and to the required standards. If this is the case, we will contact you well before the installation date and advise the cost of any required work. You can then continue with your installation, or alternatively we will refund you in full if you do not want to proceed.

Included in our standard installation is :
• Fitting of a single phase charge point to a brick or plaster wall or other suitable permanent structure
• Up to 10 metres of cable, run and neatly clipped to the wall between the electricity supply meter / distribution board and the charge point.
• Routing of the cable through a drilled hole in a wall up to 500mm (20 inches) thick if this is needed.
• The fitting and testing of electrical connections and protections required for the charge point.
• An additional three way consumer unit, if required
• Installation of a Type A RCBO in an RCBO enclosure
• Up to 3 metres of plastic trunking to conceal interior wiring.
• An O-pen earth protection device if the charge point requires it. (This is NOT an earth rod)
• Up to 4 hours of labour from your installer to complete the work.
• Electrical testing of the whole installation.
• Handover and setup of the charge point and any app that may be needed.

Not included in our standard installation (additional work) :
• Where the installation requires additional cabling over and above the amount you have told us about.
• Upgrade/replacement of the main incoming supply fuse where the local DNO (eg Northern Powergrid) would need to attend site.
• If the charge point is to be mounted on a post/pedestal rather than an existing wall and where you have not selected a post as an extra cost option in your order.
• Installation of a charge point to a three phase supply.
• Where gas and water mains bonding (earthing) is not in place at your property. If this is not in place, additional work would be required before installation of the charge point.
• Any groundwork that has not been selected during the order process.

A Surge Protection Device is not included in our standard installation. 

What else you need to know :
• On the day of installation, please ensure that the area around your consumer unit (fuse box), incoming electricity supply meter and proposed charge point location (including where the cable is expected to be run) is clear and free of obstructions.
• We will need your WiFi password as part of the installation process in order to connect your charge point to the internet. Please have this available for the installer. Details will not be kept.
• The charge point must be on your own designated off road parking.
• The charger will be fixed in line with current guidelines at a height where it cannot be hit by a vehicle.
• Our installers are not able to enter loft spaces; lift floorboards or flooring; take apart any furniture of work above a height of 2m. If you anticipate that any of this may be required, then please contact us and we can discuss in more detail and provide you with a quotation.
• Should there be extreme weather conditions our installers may not be able to continue with you installation if it is not safe to do so (for example flooding). They will always do their best to complete the work where they can.

If you have any questions then please contact our customer service team who will be happy to help. Please also read our terms and conditions.

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