Facing the daily grind in Central London is not for the fainthearted. With the Congestion Charge, and now the ULEZ zone cashing in on your hard-earned money, a day in the city can put you back around £25 in charges alone. Throw in a coffee break and a short trip on the tube, and you may as well have stayed at home!
If you commute within the capital Monday to Friday between 7 am and 6 pm, it’s worth taking a look at our 8 best Congestion Charge-exempt cars for 2021 to save you a pretty penny.
What makes a car Congestion Charge exempt?
Knowing what emissions status your vehicle has is the first step to avoiding the Congestion Charge. If your car produces less than 75g/km of carbon dioxide from its exhaust, it will be exempt. With the looming diesel ban in 2030, it’s worth considering going the extra mile with an electric or hydrogen-fueled car.
Any petrol vehicle sold after 2011 should put you safely into the required Euro 5 category. For a diesel, anything brought after September 2015 should meet the Euro 6 emissions standards required to avoid the Congestion Charge, as well as ULEZ fees. Make sure you register with TfL once you have met the requirements to avoid getting fined for driving around the city.
Want to avoid buying a car altogether? You can lease a ULEZ exempt car from OrangeWheels to get you around the city.
Here’s our rundown of the best Congestion Charge Exempt cars for 2021:
Compact, stylish and packing a punch on the zero-emissions front, the Nissan Leaf is a driving dream. It is 100% electric powered and costs less than £40,000 from the dealership, making it less of a financial burden with the assistance available. Not only does the Leaf have zero road tax and the lowest rate of company car tax, but it gives you free entry in the Congestion Charge zone!
The Nissan Leaf is friendly on the commute with its real-world charge capacity of 150 miles. So you’ll be able to have peace of mind from your overnight charge being enough to get you from A to B. With the Leaf e+ on the market claiming a healthy 236 miles between charging, there is a lot to like from the Leaf range.
Combined with its comfortable driving experience, the Nissan Leaf boasts an innovative e-pedal which almost nullifies the need for a brake. The car comes to a smooth halt as you lift off of the accelerator. Nippy and holding enough power to make your drive enjoyable, the Nissan Leaf is worth a look.
Born to take on London’s congested and cracking roads, the Renault Zoe fits city driving to a tee. Not only is the Zoe comfortable and compact, but it also benefits from a well throughout 80-kW motor for better overtaking performance.
The Renault Zoe boasts a real-world driving range of 186 miles making your daily commute a breeze. Without the added pressure of charging your car between each journey, an overnight powerup will be enough to get you through the day.
It’s worth mentioning that some versions of the Zoe require a separate battery lease. So, look out for the models that have the battery included to make your buying and driving experience more simple.
Family-friendly and with a staggering 230-mile real-world range, the Kia e-Niro is in a league of its own. This beauty is also one of the most affordable electric cars at around the £35,000 mark. With your overnight charge, you can drive effortlessly and with peace of mind on your daily commute.
Not only is the Kia e-Niro a dream to drive, but it is also roomier than most of its competitors in the same price region. Its performance is great for a vehicle so petite, and it handles well on the roads.
Volkswagen ID 3
Volkswagen’s answer to the diesel ban comes in the sophisticated ID 3. Benefiting from a rear-mounted motor and spacious interior, the ID 3 is incredibly user friendly and fun to drive! Coming in at the £28,000 mark, the ID 3 is worth a look for its range and performance alone.
Perfect for urban driving and casual commutes, the Volkswagen ID 3 is agile, nimble and handles well on the roads.
Practical, stylish and compact, the Peugeot e-208 is a powerful EV supermini. It easily rivals the Renault Zoe with its well-refined handling and performance. The e-208 also comes into the affordable price bracket, and will easily earn you every road tax discount available.
If driving experience is high on your priorities, the Peugeot e-208 is a pleasure to drive. Highly stable and supple on the roads, the e-208 is an all-rounder.
Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh
Wondering where the long-range electric car is hiding? Well, the Hyundai Kona Electric 64kWh packs a 300-mile daily usage range and what’s more, it falls below the £30,000 price mark.
Built with onboard electrical storage, the Kona Electric rivals most on this list. It comes with a strong accelerative performance, and handles impressively on urban and motorway roads. If small, affordable and compact with a hatchback vibe is your bang, this is the EV for you.
For the BMW enthusiasts, the 330e is worth its weight in gold. Not only does it tick all the CO2 emissions boxes with its electric motor and battery functions, but it also holds the expected design qualities of the standard 3 series. With exceptional handling, strong performance and one of the best entertainment systems available, the BMW 330e is a rarity.
Don’t expect this hybrid to give you extraordinary electric-powered mileage. Fully charged, the battery will give you around 10 miles in real-world driving. Plus, come October 2021, some charges will apply.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
There are few notable SUVs currently on the market that compare with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – especially, as it is one of the exceptions with its Congestion Charge-free status.
This is the vehicle to put on your radar if you want to avoid hiked up company car tax. But bear in mind that due to the extra batteries onboard (unlike the rest of the Outlander range), there are only 5 seats, rather than the standard 7. With the electric motor, the PHEV is excellent for small city journeys.
Want to beat the Congestion Charge? Now’s the time to find the perfect EV car to suit your daily commuting needs.