​What Are The Best Congestion Charge Exempt Cars?

You can escape the £11.50 London congestion charge if your car emits less than 75g/km of CO2. That means you’ll need a hybrid or fully electric vehicle – we take a look at some of the best out there.

BMW i3 (2013-) CO2 Emissions: 0g/km

Launched in 2013, the BMW i3 was designed from the start as an environmentally-friendly car, as opposed to a regular model that has been modified. With zero CO2 emissions, you’ll escape paying the congestion charge.

Not only that, you’ll also benefit from savings on fuel, as it’s possible to drive between 80 and 100 miles using only the electric motor. This can be doubled if you opt for the range-extended version, which combines a 32bhp two-cylinder petrol generator with the standard 125kw, 168bhp electric motor. It’s worth noting that the petrol generator isn’t used for directly driving the car, it simply provides electricity.

This car’s great for city driving, as the driving range of 80 miles is enough for many peoples’ commutes. Fast charging at a dedicated car charging point will take around four hours, whilst using a normal home plug socket will take between eight and ten hours.

You’ll be driving through London in a vehicle that’s undeniably got very unique styling. Inside and out, the car i3 looks futuristic. Inside the cabin, the lack of a central pillar – thanks to the use of strong carbon fibre to build the body – adds a great sense of space to the classy and usable interior. Instead of the usual dials, the driver has a small screen displayed directly in front of them showing metrics like speed and range left. Most noticeable, though, is the large screen which sits in the centre of the car above the dashboard. Overall, the interior cabin is of the quality you’d expect from BMW, and is comfortable, sophisticated and well-refined.

The i3 combines the green credentials and efficiency and cost-saving benefits of an electric car with the fun of driving a normal BMW, and is certainly one to consider if you’re after avoiding the congestion charge.

Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (2013-) CO2 Emissions: 42g/km

If you want a congestion charge exempt car but don’t want to drive a smaller vehicle, the Outlander PHEV could be the right one for you. Emitting just 42g/km of CO2 means you’ll avoid shelling out that £11.50.

The Outlander PHEV was launched in 2013 as the world’s only plug-in hybrid SUV. It combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with one electric motor on each axle, which combine to deliver 220bhp and all-wheel-drive. If you use solely the electric power without the petrol engine, you can travel a distance of 32 miles, which may well be enough for the daily commute if you live in the city. Combine petrol and electric power and the range is about 400 miles, with a range of 148mpg. The charge is relatively quick, too, meaning this is by no means out of the question. A fast charge at a dedicated charging point will take just 30 minutes to charge up to 80%, but if you use a mains socket, charging it overnight will be sufficient.

Thanks to its size, unsurprisingly the interior is very spacious and boasts a 436-litre boot, although unlike in the regular Outlander, the hybrid is only available with five seats instead of seven. It also boasts a towing weight limit of 1500kg, meaning that not only can you avoid the congestion charge with this car, you can also tow all manner of trailers and caravans.

Nissan LEAF (2011-) CO2 Emissions: 0g/km

Launched in 2011 and having a facelift in 2013, the Nissan LEAF is a pure electric car with zero emissions, meaning you’ll be exempt from the congestion charge.

It’s a pure electric car, meaning there’s no backup engine to boost the range. The entry level 24kwh battery will take you 124 miles, though, which can be extended to 155 miles if you opt for the post-2015 upgrade 30kwh battery. In terms of performance, the 108bhp offered by the standard battery will take you from 0-62mph in 11.5 seconds – of course, in complete silence, which can take a bit of getting used to. A rapid charge will take just 30 minutes to get your battery from zero to 80%, and a charge from a mains plug socket will take 15 hours from empty.

After a 2013 facelift, there’s three levels of trim to choose from. Entry level spec gets you features like keyless entry and start, automatic air conditioning and Bluetooth and USB connectivity. Move up the spec levels for extras like cruise control, heated seats and steering wheel and BOSE sound system, amongst others. These extras bolster an already high-quality interior, which is well-refined and comfortable thanks to the good suspension offered on the LEAF. As the batter is stored under the cabin instead of in the boot, you get a spacious 370-litre boot, which is plenty of space for some luggage.

Congestion Charge Exempt Cars Can Lead to Big Savings

If you regularly drive into London, it’s likely you may be considering the savings offered by a congestion charge exempt car. With low to zero emissions, the three models here represent great choices, as well as being eco-friendly and economical. Find the ideal model on Carsnip today.