The AA has launched a new car leasing product, AA Smart Lease, through LeasePlan, to help give drivers access to cars compliant with clean air zones (CAZs).
AA Smart Lease offers inclusive car leases that cover the cost of insurance, servicing, maintenance and tyres. No deposit is required and the new car can be delivered to the customer’s home during the current lockdown restrictions.
London’s ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) is set to expand in October, with a daily charge of £12.50 and Birmingham drivers will have to pay £8 daily charge for driving a non-compliant vehicle into the city centre.
Those who chose the option to lease an inclusive electric car from the AA can do so for a similar daily cost to the London ULEZ charge, it says.
For example, an electric Vauxhall Corsa is available from £400 per month, or £13.15 per day. A petrol Corsa is available from £290 per month.
Edmund King, AA president, said: “Later this year, millions of drivers in London will find themselves on the wrong side of the road when the ULEZ scheme is expanded.
“There is a very real risk that many people who rely on their car for essential journeys will be priced off the road.
“With the whole country back in lockdown, this is likely to have an even bigger impact than previously thought as more people will be trying to avoid public transport by using private cars.
“For those drivers who were already considering the switch to electric, being able to lease one which includes the insurance, service and repairs, for a similar cost to paying the charge, could be a lifeline.
“It enables them to dip their toe into running an electric car, without any upfront costs, – as well as helping improve air quality.”
London’s Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras have picked up a non-compliance rate of 16% among petrol vehicles and 42% among diesel.
Among Inner London’s 2019 car population of 194,200 diesel and 513,600 petrol models, 163,700 are likely to be non-compliant, says the AA.
Add the 91,200 non-compliant cars in outer London boroughs of Barnet, Brent, Greenwich and Waltham Forest, where large swathes are within the expanded ULEZ, the total number of affected cars owned by London residents is between 250,000 and 300,000.
The AA estimates that the additional 100,000 cars currently coming from outside the expanded outer London ULEZ and another 100,000 in Birmingham (42% of the city’s 296,500 diesel cars = 124,530 and 12% of its 337,700 petrol cars = 40,500) creates the potential for up to half a million cars being impacted