London Tightens Congestion Charge Limits; Only Plug-Ins To Be Free? Page 2

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Car entering London's Congestion Charge zone [Image: Flickr user jovike]

Plug-in rules

TfL has laid down a list of criteria a vehicle would have to meet in order to be exempt. The good news is that pure-electric vehicles would be automatically exempt.

Plug-in hybrid vehicles would need to emit below 75 g/km of CO2, and have an all-electric range of greater than 10 miles. That means cars like the Prius Plug-In, with its 15-mile European EV range, will remain exempt.

While many will undoubtedly welcome London's plans to become a cleaner city--it's currently one of the most polluted in Europe--disincentivizing some of the existing cleaner vehicles seems like a step backwards.

Surely, it would make more sense to try and dissuade some of the more polluting vehicles from entering, or invest more heavily in cleaner, range-extended and hybrid buses and taxis?

What are your thoughts on London's proposed Congestion Charge rules? Do you think it's for the greater good, or is it simply a kick in the teeth to all those who've already made the effort to buy greener vehicles?


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Comments (11)
  1. Might have mentioned that there is actually a £5,000 grand for buyers of ultra low emission vehicles in the UK so plug-ins aren't really that financially inaccessible for London residents. Especially considering the arrival of more affordable models like Smart EV, and the price drop of the Nissan Leaf. Really practical EVs like Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV will also make for a relatively affordable all round alternative for family cars. Renault Zoe would actually be dirt cheap if it qualified for the grant but it might not since it's a battery lease deal.

    Cabs may get preferential treatment but at the end of the day it's a congestion charge and cabs do help reduce congestion.

  2. There is indeed a grant, but there's still rather a large difference in the price of plug-in vehicles to conventionally-fueled ones. The smart electric drive gets closest to affordable at the moment, at £15,395 ($24,300), or £12,275 ($19,400) for those paying an $87 monthly battery rental (both figures after the £5k grant), but even in the UK not everyone wants a smart fortwo!

    Also worth noting that not all vehicles stay within city limits, unlike cabs and buses.

  3. I don't think it's a bad idea but if the people have to comply so should public transport.

  4. Don't forget, people will still by small efficient vehicles, because they are cheaper to buy and to fuel. At the moment, there is little or no incentive to buy an electric car, as they cost a lot more and only get the same benefits as a Fiat 500 (cost of fuel excepted).

  5. Thanks for the comment James - Of course, I wasn't implying that everyone would ditch their sub-100g/km cars for gas-guzzlers, but it now no longer matters whether their next car isn't quite as efficient - at the efficient end of the scale, differences between cars are fairly minimal, and London traffic can often throw a wrench in the works of the most economical cars as it is...

  6. Surely the point is, with the new rules, their next car will have to be a BEV, if they want to keep the same benefits. And with quick chargers around the outskirts for those inevitable longer trips... Maybe electric cars have got a future in the UK after all.

  7. It's worth noting that I was in London yesterday and saw not a single 'current day' plug-in car on the road. I did see 10 electric cars, but they were all ones no-longer made, like the G-Wiz (Reva) and early Smart ForTwo ED Prototype.

  8. Indeed - Though I suspect that on its own, a sub-75g/km zero C-charge incentive isn't quite enough to get Joe Average into plug-ins.

    And of course, the other thing is that there are no easily-accessible sub-75 cars out there, unlike sub-100 cars. It'd make more sense trying to curb the *really* dirty stuff than penalising the people who've already gone out and bought relatively clean vehicles.

  9. Well, in 2 years of time many of the models ahich are in range of 75 to 100 g/km of CO2 will improve and bring their vehicle emission below 75 g/km of CO2. I dont think it is bad thing..actually it is better. Believe me models like Toyota Prius will vring their emissions below 75 g/km of CO2 in next 2 years, because they cannot afford a big loss of potential market...but they should seriously think about making Taxi Fleet green...

  10. Good article. It seems that both efforts to reduce vehicle pollution should be conducted in London:

    1) Implement the new under 75 program, maybe wait till 2015 for implementation, but keep a niche group at 75 - 100 for those vehicles so they could pay half or even a quarter of the daily $16 city entrance fee.
    2) Give incentives for the purchase of new, safer, and very fuel efficient taxis, buses, government vehicles, etc.
    3) How 'bout increasing the registration costs for fuel guzzlers too?

  11. Whether you are penalizing gas or incentvizing electrics it still gets the point across. If over previous exemptionsare at issue, then create a tiered rate of say $8 for current qualifying hybrids toexpire in say 5 years. This should allow EVs to reach mass market pricing and be time for anyone who bought a hybrid to be looking at a new vehicle anyway

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