Congestion charges in London and other cities are an effort by the government to cut emissions. Find out what type of cars are exempt and whether drivers of electric cars might have to start paying the charge in future.
It’s a charge designed to cut traffic levels and congestion and to improve air quality in central London.
The Congestion Charge covers an area within the London Inner Ring Road and includes the City of London and the West End. Check before you travel whether or not a postcode you’re driving to falls within the Congestion Charge Zone.
If you drive within the zone between 7am and 10pm, you’ll pay a £15 daily fee that applies every day except Christmas Day - unless you drive an electric car.
There’s an additional charge for cars with high emissions. Four out of five cars already meet the ULEZ emissions standards, but if your car doesn’t, you must also pay the ULEZ charge, which costs an extra £12.50 daily.
From 25 October 2021, to further discourage the use of older polluting vehicles, the ULEZ will expand from central London. A larger, chargeable zone will be created, reaching up to (but not including) the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205).
Yes, fully electric vehicles and most plug-in hybrids are exempt from the charge. They are eligible under The Cleaner Vehicle Discount (formerly known as the Ultra Low Emission Discount). It offers a 100% discount on vehicles that meet Euro 6 emission standards, emit no more than 75g/km of carbon dioxide (CO2) and have a minimum 20 mile electric-only, zero emission capable range.
From 25 October 2021, the rules change. Only fully battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will be eligible for the discount - that means hybrid cars will no longer qualify.
From 25 December 2025, the cleaner vehicle discount is being removed entirely - so everyone will pay, even electric car drivers.
Some other types of vehicles are exempt from paying the congestion charge, including disabled vehicles, accredited breakdown vehicles, motorbikes and mopeds, buses and emergency vehicles. They won’t be affected by the removal of the Cleaner Vehicle Discount.
Your vehicle’s V5C registration certificate (logbook) should show its CO2 emissions status, or you can check with your dealership or vehicle manufacturer.
You’ll also qualify for the discount if your V5C shows that your vehicle is registered as fuel type ‘electric’.
You need to apply for the Cleaner Vehicle Discount. If you don’t register your car and apply for the discount, you will be fined if you drive in the congestion charge zone without paying the daily fee.
It costs £10 to register each vehicle you apply for.
You’ll need to upload images on email or send photocopies of the following documents when you apply:
You must pay the congestion charge if you drive within the zone before your application has been approved.
The discount must be renewed annually. Transport for London will contact you to let you know when your discount is about to expire.
One-in-10 cars registered in the UK last year was electric, according to Go Ultra Low, a joint government and industry campaign set up to help drivers make the switch to an electric vehicle (EV).
According to Next Green Car the UK’s best-selling fully electric model in 2020? The Tesla Model 3.
Here are some other popular 100% electric models that won’t pay a congestion charge until the rules change in December 2025: