Vauxhall Commercial Vehicles customer Plantire is complaining about current London Congestion Charge rules, which do not provide the same incentive for firms choosing to operate low-emission vans in the capital as it does for cars.
Currently, any motorist who drives a car with emissions below 100g/km CO2 is exempt from the London Congestion Charge. However, light commercial vehicles under 3.5 tonnes with sub-100g/km CO2 emissions are not exempt.
Vauxhall's Corsavan 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX with Start/Stop technology achieves emissions of just 89g/km CO2, exactly the same as the equivalent 5-door Corsa, but unlike its passenger car variant, its operators must pay the Congestion Charge of £10 per day.
Plantire is a hoist hire firm based near Heathrow runs two Corsavans as service vehicles and makes an average of around six journeys per week into the Congestion Charge zone and is effectively being penalised for running a low-CO2 van in London to the tune of around £3,000 per year.
John Tocher, Plantire's general manager said: "Although we knew when we ordered the Corsavans that they were not exempt, we felt sure that Transport for London would change the exemption. It makes sense that if cars with emissions under 100g/km CO2 are exempt, vans emitting less than 100g/km CO2 shouldn't have to pay the Congestion Charge either."
He continued: "We chose the Vauxhall Corsavan ecoFLEX because of its low running costs and to reduce our carbon footprint. We love that it has clever green technology like Start/Stop and although we have noticed fuel cost savings, having to pay the Congestion Charge is almost negating these savings and seems grossly unfair."
Despite the exclusion of vans from Transport for London's green transport initiative, the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has expressed emphatic support for light commercial vehicles in the capital, stating previously: "Vans are the lifeblood of this city. This noble bunch is mostly small business owners and independent traders who are focused on grafting hard to support their families and build a better future."
The Corsavan 1.3 CDTi ecoFLEX with Start/Stop is Vauxhall's most efficient commercial vehicle ever, achieving 83.1mpg on the combined cycle.
Richard Collier, Vauxhall's national commercial vehicle sales manager said: "Ultimately we would love all our Corsavan ecoFLEX customers to get the same Congestion Charge exemption enjoyed by our Corsa ecoFLEX customers, both of which boast sub-100g/km CO2 emissions."