24.6.2016Congestion charge sunset period ends today
The Greener Vehicle Discount (GVD) sunset period for London's Congestion Charging Zone ends today - Friday 24th June - with a number of models that would have previously been free to drive in the area set to be charged the full rate.
Changes to the London Congestion Charge in 2013 saw the GVD and Electric Vehicle Discount (EVD) replaced with the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED). The main change was the reduction of the 100 g/km CO2 emissions charge-free limit to 75 g/km CO2 and excluded a large number of cars that are VED Band A rated.
For example, a Fiat 500 0.9 TwinAir - a popular petrol powered city car with emissions of 95 g/km CO2 - was no longer eligible exemption from the charge, with a greater emphasis put on allowing hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles free admission.
For those living within the area though, a sunset period was introduced to prevent immediate and unfair charges at a high level. Costs would have risen for residents with this sort of car, from free use within the zone to the full Â£11.50 daily charge. Those residents had three years - increased from the original two year proposal - to change their cars or get charged to use them where they live.
As such, some manufacturers of Congestion Charge exempt models have been offering competitive financial packages to help tempt buyers in the zone to greener cars. Nissan for example has been running an additional Â£500 deposit contribution on Leaf orders placed in June with 3.99% APR on PCP.
Mitsubishi meanwhile has added a Â£2,500 deposit contribution and 0% finance to its Outlander PHEV, matching the government's Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) and bringing prices of the entire Outlander range - diesel and PHEV - back to level ground, a selling point that helped make the Mitsubishi the best selling plug-in vehicle in the UK.
It is unclear yet how many vehicles have been changed to ULED eligible models within this sunset period, but it is expected that the changeover has helped contribute to improving plug-in sales over the last few years. On average, around 3,500 residents pay the congestion charge each day.
Paul Cowperthwaite, Transport for London's General Manager of Road User Charging, said: "We have written to customers to remind them that the three year sunset period for holders for the Greener Vehicle Discount (GVD) ends on Friday 24th June. Of the 22,500 cars registered for GVD, over half do not drive in the Congestion Charge Zone during charging hours and over 80 per cent make fewer than one journey each week."