21 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

London ULEZ expansion to boost EV take-up?

Electric vehicles may be set to get a boost in the capital from late summer 2023, as they become among the small group of vehicles not required to pay £12.50 a day to travel within London’s soon-to-be-expanding Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).
It is now confirmed that London’s ULEZ will expand to cover all London from 29 August 2023, and motorists will be required to pay the charge to drive inside the boundary, unless their vehicle is exempt.

Apart from battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, (PHEVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) these are set to include Euro 4-compliant petrol cars, generally produced after January 2006, as well as Euro 6 diesels from after September 2015.

Commenting on the move, Andy Marchant, Traffic Expert at TomTom, said: “The London Mayor’s plans for keeping London at the forefront of the electric vehicle revolution is a sure step towards his ambition for the UK’s capital to be a net zero-carbon city by 2030. The wider adoption of EVs is central to reducing the carbon footprint of the transportation industry, yet it is still a decision tinged with anxiety – most often linked to a lack of charging infrastructure.”

More infrastructure is key though he believes: “If London is truly to become an EV hub, it needs to think about how to build an on-street charging network that really matches the capital’s urban layout. As fewer people have access to a driveway or garage than in smaller cities, an infrastructure of on-street charging capabilities is needed to meet the needs of a rapidly growing EV fleet.”

In terms of the impact on Londoners, according to NFDA Chief Executive Sue Robinson, while air quality will improve, there will be a price to pay: “Whilst NFDA understands the importance of tackling air pollution in the capital and to combat climate issues, we still believe that this ULEZ expansion proposal is flawed. The expansion will undoubtedly have a disproportionate and adverse effect on London’s most deprived communities and motorists. This £12.50 daily charge will hit businesses, key workers and less affluent families the hardest and the additional cost to some of London’s poorest communities will push some families over the brink and force a reduction in their access to private mobility.”

She added: “This move is during one of Britain’s worst cost of living crises, rising inflation and steep energy prices. We do not believe that this has been fully considered by Transport for London and looks more and more to be a money generating scheme for TfL.”