Do Electric Cars Pay a Congestion Charge

The congestion charge has been known to cause confusion amongst drivers of regular vehicles and electric vehicles alike. Are electric vehicles exempt? Is it the same as the ULEZ zone? What happens if you don’t pay the charge?

In this blog, we will provide guidance on the question ‘Do electric cars pay a congestion charge?’

Bespoke Plates is a renowned and legally certified registration platemaker and installer, with options of 3D Plates, 4D Plates, Show Plates, and regular / Electric Vehicle Plates and more. We are the one-stop shop for all things registration plates!

Whether it’s a Private Plate, Gel Plate, Standard Registration Plate or plating accessories, we have you covered.

As a certified and experienced team of plate fitters and makers, our plates are installed to the specification of UK law, provided alongside the appropriate paperwork you require. (The only exception to this is show plates.)

What is a congestion charge?

What is a congestion charge?

The congestion charge is a mandatory fee that must be paid in order to drive in Central London at certain times of the day. It is enforced in order to mainly reduce traffic congestion, and can contribute to cleaner emissions in the City of London.

The congestion charge zone covers the area from Kings Cross in the north of London, to Vauxhall in the south, and from Paddington in the west, to Whitechapel in the east. The perimeter of the congestion zone is monitored by ANPR cameras.

Not to be confused with ULEZ, which is specifically made to reduce emissions in certain areas by introducing a charge for certain vehicles that drive within the ULEZ zones and contribute to increased emissions.

How do you pay for a congestion charge?

The congestion charge can be paid in advance via the Transport for London website. However, if you know the times that you will be driving, and they fall outside the highlighted times that the congestion charge is active, you will not need to pay it.

If applicable, failure to pay the congestion charge can lead to further fines, and even legal actions depending on the amount owed or the manner in which you handle the situation.

Can a number plate affect the congestion charge?

Not at all. ANPR systems monitor vehicles that enter the congestion zone. So any electric vehicle with a green number plate, or a private plate that is attached and registered to the electric vehicle that has been identified, will not be subject to the congestion charge as of now.

Do electric cars pay a congestion charge?

Do electric cars pay a congestion charge?

At the time of writing, electric vehicles, (which can include battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell) do not pay a congestion charge to enter certain areas. They qualify for a 100% discount via the ‘Cleaner Vehicle Discount Program’.

That being said, there is one critical factor to consider. It is that the exemption on electric vehicles in congestion charge area is set to expire after the 24th of December. After that date, All vehicles entering the congestions zone will likely be subject to the same congestion charge as other vehicles.

However, this may change, or the deadline may be extended, be sure to stay abreast of the developments on this via the government gateway website. Alternatively, you can check the Transport for London  website.

Why would an electric vehicle need to pay a congestion charge?

Electric vehicles are completely emission-free, so it’s only right that people would question why it would need to pay a charge after the aforementioned date. Although the answer to this isn’t straightforward, here are some reasons why it would be enforced.

  • Traffic management: Congestion charges are not just about emissions, but also about managing traffic flow in busy city centres. Electric cars still take up space on the road and contribute to congestion, especially if more people switch to EVs and overall traffic volume stays the same.
  • Future costs: Even though electric cars don’t rely on petrol or diesel, the electricity used to charge them comes from the power grid. Depending on how that electricity is generated, it may still have some environmental impact. Congestion charges could be a way to raise revenue for future investments in clean energy infrastructure.
  • Fairness: If only certain types of vehicles are exempt from congestion charges, it might create an unfair advantage for those drivers.

What is the best way to avoid a congestion charge?

Prior to the aforementioned deadline, the best way to avoid congestion charges is as follows:

  • Use an electric vehicle: As the deadline for the congestion charge is December 25th 2025, there is just over a year (at the time of writing) to take advantage of this exemption by driving an electric vehicle in areas that have a congestion charge.
  • Use public transport: Travelling via a coach, train, or even a plane in some cases can offset the requirement to pay for the congestion charge. Although, this method can present issues if you intended to drive to certain areas when in the congestion zone. Additionally, payment for these services may be high depending on the method and time you travel. Furthermore, these methods may be affected by strikes, and other circumstances.
  • Drive most of the way: Rather than driving into the congestion zone, finding a safe and legal place to park outside the congestion zone, and making your way into it on foot or via public transport can be a somewhat convenient solution.
  • Note the time: Driving outside the prescribed hours of the congestion charge is a simple way to avoid having to pay the charge.

Electric number plates

Buy an electric number plate today

When it comes to the congestion charge, ensuring your electric vehicle has the correct number plate can help to avoid any hassle when driving through congestion zones.

Bespoke Plates makes the hassle of getting yourself a brand-new number plate easy and efficient. This is regardless of whether you’re after a standard replacement number plate, or a gel plate. Here is the process.

By following these steps, you will also have the option to see the plate before making a decision.

Visualising how your plate can look in real-time, with the characters from your actual registration plate, saves time and makes it easy for you to know what you want before you get it. Let us walk you through the process of choosing your plate through us.

  1. Head to the Bespoke Plates website
  2. Select the plate style you want under the “Build Your Plate” tab. Alternatively, you can follow this link.
  3. Enter your registration (You can press ‘preview’ to see your registration with all the modification options you have selected.)
  4. When selecting your chosen plate, you can opt for 3D/4D options, a Hex plate, and whether you want a legal plate or a show plate.
  5. Select preferred optional accessories.
  6. Decide if you are collecting with installation, or if you want it to be delivered.

Installing through Bespoke Plates ensures the best service & secure installation for your number plate, along with guidance for any questions you may have.

Buy an electric number plate today

In this blog, we have highlighted our plate options, and the information you need in order to obtain our stylish customisation options for your vehicle, as well as supplementary information when it comes to electric vehicles. We aim to have answered the question ‘Do electric cars pay a congestion charge?’

We hope that we have provided all the right answers and options for all of your plate modification needs.

Bespoke Plates has all the options you can ask for, as an approved registration vendor we can guarantee your modification abides by the DVLA rules whilst offering same-day collections and full fitting service.

To get in touch and discuss the full fitting service we offer with our plates, you can talk to one of the members of our team by:

Email info@bespoke-plates.co.uk

Phone 0333 006 7878

Visit in-store

36A Broughton Street,

Manchester,

M8 8NN

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