The introduction of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone has prompted thousands of drivers across the capital to make the switch to all-electric vehicles. This new scheme imposes charges on drivers if their vehicles fail to meet minimum exhaust emission standards.

One of the easiest ways to avoid these charges is by driving an emissions-free, all-electric vehicle. In this guide, we’ve covered some of the benefits and incentives offered by ULEZ, along with a few practical tips to help you make the switch.


What is ULEZ?

The Ultra Low Emission Zone is an area within London where vehicles must comply with emissions standards or pay to pass through.

Introduced by mayor Sadiq Khan in 2019, the aim of the scheme is to improve the air quality, promote long-term health, and encourage the transition to zero-emission vehicles. Since June 2023, there are almost 80,000 fewer non-compliant vehicles driving in London, a reduction of 45%.

This government initiative covers every borough in the city, making it the world’s largest clean air zone yet. Drivers of older vehicles face a daily charge of at least £12.50, payable either in advance or up to three days after driving through the zone.

The ULEZ standards are as follows:

  • Euro 3 for motorbikes, mopeds, motorised tricycles and L category vehicles
  • Euro 4 (NOX) for petrol cars, vans and minibuses
  • Euro 6 (NOX and PM) for diesel cars, vans and minibuses


Choosing the right electric car

If you’ve decided that going electric could be the best decision for you, it’s time to do your research and find the model that best suits your needs.

Think about factors like range, charging speed, and the most manoeuvrable models for inner city driving if you’re a London commuter. If you’d like something a little bit luxurious, there are plenty of high-end manufacturers with new and growing electric car lines.

For example, brands like Audi and BMW let you choose based on your lifestyle. Whether it’s a sleek saloon or a roomy SUV for the family, you just need to make sure you have the right BMW gap insurance and keep those extra costs to a minimum.


What are the benefits of owning an electric vehicle?

There are several distinct environmental benefits to driving an electric car. These include:

  • Reduced emissions: Driving an EV is guaranteed to lower your carbon footprint. Without any exhaust gases trailing behind you, you’re reducing your impact.
  • Cleaner air: When you’re not causing any CO2 emissions, you help to combat air pollution and promote healthier living in urban areas.
  • Quieter streets: It’s no secret that conventional vehicles cause noise pollution. In contrast, the quiet buzz of electric engines contributes to a calmer urban atmosphere.

You’re likely to get more miles for your money too. Electric vehicles help you save by giving you:

  • Lower costs: Emissions-free vehicles are exempt from road tax and ULEZ charges, plus London congestion charges.
  • Perks: Workplace incentives often give EV drivers priority access to special discounts, dedicated parking spaces, or other offers.
  • Higher resale value: Because electric vehicles are in such high demand, nearly new and second-hand models still fetch a decent proportion of their original value.


EV incentives and infrastructure

Several governmental grants and incentives could help you buy and maintain your first electric car.

The EV chargepoint grant, for example, offsets installation costs for those who rent privately or own a property. Many new build homes come with charging infrastructure as standard. Infrastructure grants are also available for households with on-street parking.

Businesses owners can benefit from the Workplace Charging Scheme and receive financial help for business staff and fleet car parks.



Now that you’ve got a better idea of the benefits and responsibilities associated with EV ownership, it’s worth weighing up your options.

If you can afford the most immediate ownership costs, including upfront purchase price and future maintenance, it’s likely that you’ll save money in the long run. Thanks to cost-free inner city driving, no fuel costs and no road tax, driving an EV is one of the most cost-effective ways to commute and own a car.