Ampera and Leaf to beat proposed congestion charge changes

In November last year, Transport for London (TfL) proposed to abolish the Greener Vehicle Discount, which benefits over 19,000 vehicles, from July 2013.

The affected vehicles, usually with small diesel engines, currently avoid the charge because their engines produce emissions of less than 100g/km of CO2.

Instead of the current Greener Vehicle Discount, Transport for London proposed a new Ultra Low Emission Discount scheme be introduced, that would have stricter emission standards.

The stricter standards would limit the free access to the congestion charge zone to electric cars and some hybrids. Cars that would still be able to avoid the charge are the Nissan Leaf and Vauxhall Ampera.

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The reason why the Ampera and Nissan Leaf manage to avoid the congestion charge is due to the fact that it only emits 27g/km of CO2, falling under tax band ‘A’ and easily coming within the guidelines for the London congestion charge.

The Vauxhall Ampera is widely known to be a brilliant solution to eco-friendly motoring. Along with the almost-identical Chevrolet Volt, the vehicle won the prestigious European Car of the Year award in 2012.

Although the car costs little to run, it does come with a £30k+ price tag. However, due to the electric car grant that is offered by the government, buyers of the Ampera will be able to receive £5,000 off the overall price of the vehicle.

For the price, though, you do receive a lot of features, no matter what version of the Vauxhall Ampera is chosen. The entry-level specification comes with plenty of kit, including alloys, a DAB radio and cruise control, amongst others.

Upgrading to the ‘Positiv’ trim brings heated leather seats and parking sensors to the vehicle, in order to enhance the luxurious drive. The top of the range ‘Electron’ versions also add a satellite-navigation system.

As well as having very cheap running costs and missing out on the congestion charge, the Ampera also comes with Vauxhall’s 100,000 mile unlimited period warranty. In addition, the battery is covered by a separate eight year/100,000 mile warranty.

The approximate cost of charging the battery on the Ampera is also minimal, with a full charge costing around £1, in which you will be able to squeeze around 50 miles of motoring.

Away from the Ampera now and focusing on other vehicles, there are numerous cars that, as previously mentioned, currently miss out on a congestion charge but may have to pay it in the future – if Transport for London gets their way.

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Luckily for those nearby London who are planning on purchasing a car in one of our dealerships, Perry’s do not sell most of the cars affected by the congestion charge changes – so you won’t have to worry about what car to buy.

The ever popular Toyota Prius, which is a favourite amongst environmentally conscious drivers, is one of the hybrid models that will no longer be exempt from the £10 congestion charge.

Along with the Toyota Prius, the sleek and reliable Audi A3 will also be thrown into the mix of cars that have to pay a congestion charge if the plans go ahead.

In addition, popular and ever-present motors such as Ford’s Focus and Fiesta ECOcentric models will also miss out on free driving within London and will be forced to pay the congestion charge – as they too will not comply with the new Ultra Low Emission Discount scheme.

The new plans have also provoked an outcry from motoring organisations, who have accused authorities of ‘moving the green goalposts’.

AA president, Edmund King, commented: ‘We do have real concerns about ‘green goalposts’ being moved after drivers and businesses have invested in low-emission hybrid and diesel vehicles. We need to encourage the take-up of a range of greener vehicles.’

The new Discount scheme plan is still subject to the approval of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and is currently in the middle of a twelve week public consultation that closes on 8th February 2013.

For information and pricing regarding any of the vehicles mentioned in this post, with exception to the motors mentioned that aren’t sold in Perrys dealerships, take a look at the dealership page.