The Greener Vehicle Discount has succeeded in increasing the proportion of lower emission vehicles within the Congestion Charging zone, helping to reduce emissions of CO2 and air pollutants. However, since the Greener Vehicle Discount was introduced in January 2011, the number of qualifying car models has tripled and many of these cars no longer have the lowest emissions on the market.
The number of vehicles able to meet the Greener Vehicle Discount criteria is constantly growing, and without a tightening of the emissions criteria, there could be a significant increase in the numbers of vehicles within the Congestion Charging zone. This would add to traffic congestion, increasing overall emissions of CO2 and air pollutants, which would undermine the purpose of the discount.
TfL proposes to replace the Greener and Electric Vehicle Discounts, with a new Ultra Low Emission Discount.
From 1 July 2013, all electric vehicles and cars/vans (light goods vehicles not exceeding 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight) which emit 75g/km of CO2 or less and meet the Euro 5 standard* for air quality, would qualify for a 100% discount from the Congestion Charge if they are registered with TfL.
Plug-in hybrid electric cars and vans that are on the TfL approved list are currently eligible for the Electric Vehicle Discount and would qualify for the new Ultra Low Emission Discount.
An annual payment of £10 per vehicle would be required at the point of registration for the Ultra Low Emission Discount and for each subsequent year that the discount is renewed.
A pure electric vehicle uses an electric motor for propulsion, powered by energy stored in a battery. No petrol or diesel is used. A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle uses a rechargeable battery pack that can be charged from an external source in addition to a conventional petrol or diesel engine.
The Euro 5 standard would be met by any car registered as new with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) on or after 1 January 2011 and any van registered as new on or after 1 January 2012.
The Ultra Low Emission Discount would offer a technology neutral approach and, unlike the Greener Vehicle Discount, both cars and vans that meet the emissions criteria would be eligible for the discount. Including vans in the discount should encourage the uptake of ultra low emission commercial vehicles. In the future, hydrogen, petrol or diesel vehicles may become available that also meet the eligibility criteria for the Ultra Low Emission Discount.
The Ultra Low Emission Discount contributes to the Mayor’s policy to promote electric vehicles and his aspiration to make London the European capital for electric vehicles. It would also align with Government policy to encourage the use of ultra low emission vehicles.
*This is a European Union standard that limits the levels of air pollutant emissions for new vehicles sold in Europe, with which all vehicles manufacturers must comply.
Creating a new Ultra Low Emission Discount to replace the current Greener and Electric Vehicle Discounts has the potential to:
Reduce traffic volumes and congestion in the Congestion Charging zone from the increasing numbers of cars eligible for the Greener Vehicle Discount
Further reduce air pollutant and CO2 emissions from traffic in the Congestion Charging zone
Offer a technology neutral discount, open to any fuel type
Encourage a shift to the cleanest ultra low emission vehicles.
Current Greener and Electric Vehicle Discount holders
TfL proposes that the Greener and Electric Vehicle Discounts would be closed to new registrations on 28 June 2013.
Owners of vehicles already registered for the Greener Vehicle Discount would continue to receive the 100% discount for their car for a further two years, until 26 June 2015, and would not need to take any action to ensure this. However, if a vehicle owner sells the vehicle during this period, the new owner would not be eligible for the Greener Vehicle Discount.
Owners of vehicles currently registered for the Greener Vehicle Discount would have to pay the daily Congestion Charge from 29 June 2015.
Vehicles registered for the current Electric Vehicle Discount would automatically qualify for the new Ultra Low Emission Discount. Drivers of these vehicles would not need to take any action as TfL would automatically transfer the vehicle to the new discount type.
Drivers would be required to pay the annual renewal fee of £10 when their discount becomes due for renewal. This is in keeping with the annual registration fee which applies to other types of discounts.