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The London ULEZ – Should Have Been Ready

Posted on 24 May 2019 - by EVision - The Latest EV News

This morning I came across some EV news that really took my breath away. It wasn’t about the latest Tesla car (or delay for that matter), nor was it about any new ground-breaking electric car battery development (which are happening all the time anyway). It was about the Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London.

Red Tesla Model 3As I’m sure nearly all, if not all, of you will be aware the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone came into force in April of this year (it’s currently 2019 if you are reading this post in the future... ps, if you are reading this in future years, has the Tesla Model 3 reached the UK yet?). The ULEZ should not have come as a surprise. We’ve known about it for a very long time. I’ve even been tweeting and writing blogs about the London ULEZ for over a year now. So why does it seem to have caught so many people off guard?

Transport for London (TfL) have released figures for the first month of the ULEZ being in operation. Apparently 75% of vehicles within the zone were compliant. Or, as I see it, a huge 25% of all vehicles were unprepared and fell foul of the charge zone! In the first month alone the TfL have managed to rake in a whopping £220,000 per day (let that sink in). That’s more than £1m in fines every month which have come from £12.50 daily charges for cars and £100 daily charges for non-compliant HGVs and buses. It is estimated that around 40,000 vehicles will be affected by the new charges every day So why were so many people not ready for it?

Big Changes Already

Compared to figures from 2017 things are actually improving greatly. Although there are 25% of vehicles being affected at present, in 2017 the number of non-compliant cars would have been around 36%. So there are people who are taking the warnings on board and have prepared for the changes within their business and daily lives.

It mustn’t be forgotten, also, that a lot of those being affected will not be business vehicles. They will be your average Jane or Joe Bloggs, driving into London to visit tourist destinations, see relatives, see friends, collect items from shops or online sellers. Many will have come from outside of the London area and wouldn’t be aware of the changes.

This last point highlights an issue that we come back to time and time again. There is still a lack of education regarding various related aspects. Whether it is knowledge of the car emissions and what they mean, which cars cannot enter certain parts of London without being charged and (most importantly) WHY these cars cannot enter parts of London without being charged. More information on alternative fuel transport needs to be made available as well. Imposing charges upon the ill-informed will most likely make them angry, despondent and make them resentful of the authority enforcing the sanctions. This is absolutely not what we want to happen. We need the public and those in charge to work together to build a better, cleaner and greener future.

It’s Only Gonna Get Bigger!

Ultra Low Emission Zone MapThe new ULEZ in London has certainly caused a ripple throughout the capital. However, the current zone is due to expand even further in October of 2021, covering the whole of Central and Greater London, from the North Circular to the South Circular and everywhere in-between.

Judging by what we have seen already, there is a lot that needs to be done in just over 2 years. More advice needs to be given to businesses and citizens within the affected area. More needs to be done to inform people travelling into the ULEZ from outside the zone, and greater investment needs to be made in the electric car infrastructure on the roads around the capital.

Show me the Money!

One key question that arises from this new information is “where is the money going?” This is a fair question and one that needs some clarification. We know that the money raised by TfL from the Congestion Charge goes to improving roads, bridges and public transport. But what about the charge relating to low emissions? I am not the first, and certainly won’t be the last, who says that a lot of the money needs to be invested in charging infrastructure. London is already at the forefront of the UK charging network, providing most of the public charge points in the country (although other cities and towns are catching up), however, more will be needed in the next few years. Perhaps the money could be spent in areas outside of London, providing charge points to areas where traffic will be entering into the capital.

Of course, it isn’t just London that is introducing an Ultra-Low Emissions Zone. Clean Air Zones and Zero Emission Zones are beginning to pop up all over the UK. With major cities and towns such as Oxford, Bristol, Southampton, Birmingham and Leeds looking to follow suit, there is great potential for huge investment in public charging services around the country.

Of course, we don’t know exactly whether this money will be used for such a purpose. Or, if so, how much of the funding will be allocated to the charging infrastructure. However, we can say without a doubt that this provides a golden opportunity to do something now before we see a huge expansion of electric cars in the UK.

How EVision Can Help

Silver BMW i3Here at EVision Electric Car Hire we really care about environmental issues and help to provide businesses and individuals who want, or indeed need, to make the switch to electric cars the highest level of advice and customer service.

As a leading brand in the electric car industry, we feel that we have a duty to take a leading role in providing education and much needed advice. We provide a very high level of support and we dispel many of the EV myths and falsehoods we encounter on a regular basis.

We at EVision take great pride in being the number one electric car hire company in the UK, so if you are deciding whether to rent a BMW i3, hire a Tesla or just want to hire any electric car that suits your needs, then come to EVision and we will provide you with the expert advice you are seeking.