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Hybrid Car Congestion Charge: Are Electric Cars Exempt?

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The U.K. congestion charge is designed to lower air pollution and emissions, but does that apply to electric cars? What about a hybrid car congestion charge?

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To promote greener driving and eco-friendly practices on the road, the U.K. has implemented laws and regulations to lower emissions and air pollution. One example is a mandatory fee for vehicles that produce high emissions levels in especially polluted areas, like London.

But does that apply to electric vehicles and hybrids? These cars produce hardly any emissions at all, so is there still a hybrid car congestion charge? Read on to find out.

What Is The Congestion Charge?

The Congestion Charge is a mandatory fee that applies to vehicles in London's Low Emission Zone (or ULEZ) between 7am and 10pm every day (except Christmas).

Designed to make urban areas cleaner, this fee discourages polluting vehicles from entering dense, inner city areas. Vehicles that produce emissions that reach beyond a certain amount are required to pay £15 a day. Drivers must pay within three days, or face a fine of £160.

This charge applies to nearly all motorists, unless they are:

  • Motor tricycles less than one metre in width and two metres in length
  • Zero-emission vehicles
  • Roadside recovery vehicles
  • Vehicles with nine or more seats
  • Cars that emit 75g/km or less of CO2
  • Blue Badge holders
  • Accredited breakdown vehicles

Are Hybrid Cars Exempt From The Congestion Charge?

Yes and no. As of January 2022, all full-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are exempt from congestion charge. These are considered "zero-emission vehicles."

However, if your hybrid car doesn't adhere to Euro 4 emissions standards, it doesn't qualify as zero-emission. The next "exempt status" will be found if your vehicle emits no more than 75g/km of CO2 and is capable of a minimum 20-mile electric-only range.

If your car applies to these standards, it will receive a discount. If not, then it will be charged like any other car.

Even if your car is exempt, you still need to apply for the CVD (or Cleaner Vehicle Discount). Formerly known as the ULED (Ultra Low Emission Discount), the CVD is essentially a 100% discount for all vehicles that meet the correct emission standards.

How To Apply For The CVD

You will first need to confirm that your vehicle qualifies for the CVD.

  • Check inside your logbook for the CO2 status of the car
  • If you can't find your logbook, check in with a dealership to see if your car is registered as "fuel type electric"
  • If you can apply, it will cost £10 per vehicle as an upfront price
  • You must register your electric vehicle order for the discount to work, otherwise you will have to pay the daily fee or face a fine
  • This discount must be renewed annually

Will My Car Always Be Exempt?

As of now, it's projected that by 25th December 2025, the entire CVD itself will be removed. This means that everyone has to pay the charge — even zero-emission drivers. After 2025, the only vehicles still granted exemption will be:

  • Accredited breakdown vehicles
  • Motorbikes
  • Mopeds
  • Buses
  • Vehicles of disabled drivers
  • Emergency vehicles

If you have any questions about your vehicle — electric, hybrid, or otherwise — simply get in touch with the experts at your local Autofusion centre. We're happy to provide insight. In the meantime, for the latest updates about electric vehicles, tyres, and MOTs, head over to the Autofusion blog.