CAZ and ULEZ are coming – here’s what that means for fleet operators

10th February 2019
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If you work with fleet vehicles or perhaps just have an interest in EVs, you’ll have heard about Clean Air Zones and Low Emissions Zones being rolled out across the country in various forms. Perhaps though you’re not sure what this means for your fleet, or whether electrifying your fleet is the answer. Read on for my thoughts.

So the first question is, why are these Zones being rolled out?

It all stems from the EU legal pollution limit of 40 micrograms of Nitrogen Dioxide per cubic metre of air set back in 2010 (and no, Brexit won’t change things).

The Government has the identified local authorities where pollution is either currently breaching these levels, or it predicts will reach illegal levels by 2021.

As a result, 5 cities across the country have been told to introduce Clean Air Zones to make sure they meet the limit. 33 other cities across the country are to carry out feasibility studies to look at whether CAZs are needed.

The resulting rollout timeline looks something like this:

2008 – London Low Emissions Zone (Mainly impacted older lorries)

2019  London ULEZ – an area almost 20 times the size of the 2008 LEZ

Jan 2020 – Birmingham CAZ, Leeds CAZ (Although these have now been delayed)

Late 2020 – Bath CAZ

2020/21 – Manchester and Sheffield CAZ (under consultation)

2021 – London ULEZ expansion

2022 onwards? – Oxford, Glasgow, Southampton, York, Cambridge, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Aberdeen…

To add to the complexity, it’s down to each council to decide the specifics of their zones. For example, in the proposed Leeds CAZ, there’s no charge for private cars and vans, but in the Manchester proposals non-confirming vans would be charged £7.50 a day.

It looks like most zones will set a minimum of Euro 4 compliance for cars and Euro 6 for vans so fleets who update their vehicles regularly should be compliant.

If that’s the case then and many existing vans are compliant, why go Electric?

Introducing electric vehicles to fleets has definite advantages, so it’s worth considering testing the switch sooner rather than later.

There are obvious environmental benefits to making the switch, especially if your vehicles are frequently in city centres – having 0 tail-pipe emissions is great for improving air quality, and ultimately people’s health. Making the switch is also an opportunity to future proof your fleet. Although currently most zones use Euro 4 and Euro 6 as their benchmark now, there’s no guarantee that this won’t become more strict in the future.

Getting a head start on your competition in learning what works and what doesn’t for electric fleets is an advantage too. Especially regarding employee’s attitudes to electric vehicles and the options relating to home charging at employees houses and reimbursing energy costs.

The range of cars is already pretty good, and the available vans should be improving over the coming 12 months too.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly there are savings to be made by making the switch. Whether from government grants for vans and chargers, reduced road tax and benefit in kind, or lower fuel/energy costs (especially if charged at home).

We know making the switch can be daunting though. so if you’re looking for support to take your fleet electric, get in touch. We can help.