To be entirely accurate, Volvo aren’t actually out to get Boris Johnson, just the ridiculous exemptions policy that exists for London Congestion charging.
At present, a wide range of Hybrid cars are exempt from congestion charging. Which does seem odd. On what basis? Because they’re flavour of the month, or because Ken – when he was in charge – wanted to polish his green halo? Hard to say, but there is no sound logic.
We’ve banged on about emissions on Hybrid and Plug-in cars. It’s not always popular, but it’s hard to escape the facts. A good efficient diesel (whatever well to wheel figures may say) in normal use – and with a normal driving style – is more economical than a hybrid. And if we’re judging cars by their emissions – as we do on VED – then it is entirely inconsistent to give exemptions to Hybrid and Electric cars, and not to low emission cars with a conventional power-plant. Of course, we should be more concerned about NOx levels in cities than CO2, but as the debate on emissions is centred on CO2 (quite wrongly, in our opinion) then there should be a level playing field.
So we understand where Volvo are coming from on this. They have a range of economical cars – the Volvo DRIVe range – but because their cars are not Hybrids or Plug-ins, owners in London have to pay £8 a day. True, if they tweaked a bit and got under 100g/km they would be exempt, but that’s not the point. There are exempt Hybrids that emit more than twice the CO2 of the Volvo S40 DRIVe – which was Green Car of the Year this year – which isn’t a Congestion Charge anomaly, it’s inexplicable.
So Cars UK are happy to support Volvo in their aim of getting a fairer Congestion Charging exemption list in place. Of course, that would mean not just fixing an emissions exemption level, but coming up with real CO2 figures for so-called zero emission electric cars – which are only actually zero emission at the point of use. You would also need to take in to account the whole life CO2 cost of battery production for Hybrids. Or ignore all the CO2 claptrap completely and come up with NOx figures for all cars.
So if you agree with Volvo you can register support at Volvo’s Emission Equality page. We have.