Emissions standards for PHVs

Changes to private hire vehicle licensing requirements

Following an extensive consultation process, to help reduce emissions in London and improve air quality for everyone, licensing requirements for private hire vehicles (PHVs) have changed and came into effect from 1 January 2020.

These changes only apply to vehicles being licensed as a PHV for the first time in London. PHVs that were licensed in London before 1 January 2020 are not affected.

There are several key dates to be aware of:

Between 1 January 2020 to 31 December 2022

  • PHVs under 18 months old must be zero emission capable (ZEC) and meet the Euro 6 emissions standard when licensed for the first time
  • PHVs over 18 months old must have a Euro 6 (petrol or diesel) engine when licensed for the first time

From 1 January 2023

  • All PHVs licensed for the first time must be ZEC and meet the Euro 6 emissions standard

Zero Emission Capable (ZEC) vehicles

To meet the PHV ZEC requirements a vehicle must:

  • Emit no more than 50g/km CO2 and be capable of being operated with no (zero) exhaust emissions for a minimum range of 10 miles (16.093 km); or
  • Emit no more than 75g/km CO2 exhaust emissions and be capable of being operated with no (zero) emissions for a minimum range of 20 miles (32.187 km)

As a minimum, the vehicle must meet the Euro 6 emissions standard if an internal combustion engine is part of the vehicle specification (i.e. hybrid vehicles).

How to check if your vehicle is compliant:

If you are considering buying a new vehicle to use as a PHV which has not been licenced in London before and is under 18 months old, you must check that it meets the ZEC requirements - we suggest you do this before any potential purchase of a vehicle.

If the vehicle is under 18 months old and new to licensing, please consider the following:

  • Is the vehicle fully electric or a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle? If yes, then the vehicle will meet the PHV ZEC requirement.
  • Check the V5C document to ensure the vehicle is, as a minimum Euro 6. If it is not, it will not meet the PHV ZEC requirement.

Check the stated CO2 emission standard on the V5C document:

  • If it is over 75g/km - the vehicle will not meet the PHV ZEC requirement
  • If it is under 75g/km - the vehicle may meet the PHV ZEC requirement (see further requirements below)

Check vehicle manufacturers specification to determine the range the vehicle may be driven in pure electric mode (i.e. the zero emission range):

  • If the V5C confirms that the vehicle emits no more than 50g/km CO2, the vehicle must also be capable of being operated with no (zero) exhaust emissions for a minimum range of 10 miles (16.093 km)
  • If the V5C document confirms that the vehicle emits no more than 75g/km CO2, the vehicle must also be capable of operating with no (zero) emissions for a minimum range of 20 miles (32.187 km)

If the V5C document does not provide all the required information, you should obtain a Manufacturer's Certificate of Conformity (CoC) that will provide confirmation of the zero emission range, CO2 emissions and Euro emission standard. The CoC will be required for presentation at the licensing inspection.

You may find it useful in your search for compliant ZEC vehicles to take a look at the Office for Zero Emission Vehicle's (OZEV's) website for vehicles that qualify for the EV Homecharge Scheme as the ZEC criteria is very similar to ours.

Vehicle owners are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure vehicles presented for licensing meet all licensing requirements.

PHV owners request an inspection at their own risk and cost. We reserve the right to refuse to inspect and / or licence any vehicle at the inspection site if it does not meet ZEC or any other licencing requirements.

If you believe your vehicle does meet the new PHV ZEC requirement, but is not found on the OZEV's website, then provide evidence of it meeting the requirement (e.g. V5C and Manufacturer's Certificate of Conformity) to the following email address where we will consider it further: ltphcontractsteam@tfl.gov.uk

Go Ultra Low website

Before purchasing a vehicle you may also wish to consult the Go Ultra website, which provides details of a wide range of vehicles, including price, their CO2 emissions and zero emission range.

The Go Ultra Low website details many of the major vehicle manufacturers' vehicle specifications, including electric vehicle range and CO2 emissions, to aid you in identifying the correct vehicle for you. It also provides links to manufacturers' website for you to carry out a more detailed assessment of vehicles.

The Go Ultra Low website also includes information about grants available for chargers at home, plus information for fleets and businesses.

Presenting a vehicle for licensing

When presenting a vehicle for licensing, evidence must be provided to ensure the vehicles meets TfL's PHV ZEC criteria. If you are unable to provide evidence within 21 days your application will be refused. We reserve the right to not licence the vehicle until such time all required evidence can be provided that demonstrates that your vehicle meets our licencing requirements. We recommend that prior to purchase you ensure the vehicle meets the new ZEC licensing requirement.

Acceptable documents to verify PHV ZEC criteria are:

  • V5C document for CO2 emissions and Euro emission standard
  • Manufacturers' certificate of conformity for electric range, CO2 emission standard and Euro emission standard
  • Confirmation email from TfL stating the vehicle has been exempted from the Congestion Charge via the Cleaner Vehicle Discount (CVD) register method

Private Hire ULEZ requirements

On 8 April 2019, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) launched in central London to help improve air quality and the health of Londoners. The ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year, except Christmas Day (25 December), within the same area of central London as the Congestion Charge.

All PHVs travelling in the ULEZ zone need to meet certain emissions standards or pay a £12.50 charge per day, unless they are registered as wheelchair accessible by TfL.

  • Petrol cars, vans and minibuses must be Euro 4
  • Diesel cars, vans and minibuses must be Euro 6

The emissions standard of your vehicle can usually be determined from the date of its first registration as new, which is shown on the vehicle's registration document known as the V5C.

Private hire vehicles designated as wheelchair-accessible by TfL will be exempt from the charge until 26 October 2025.

All other PHVs need to meet these exhaust emissions standards (ULEZ standards) or pay the additional daily charge when travelling within central London.

From 25 October 2021, the ULEZ is expanding from central London to create a single, larger zone up to, but not including, the North Circular Road (A406) and South Circular Road (A205). Find out how to prepare for the ULEZ expansion.

Our page on the ULEZ standards has more information on checking the emissions of your vehicle.

Cleaner emissions aren't just limited to private hire vehicles. Take a look at how we are transforming London's taxi fleet.

You can find detailed information on licensing requirements for taxi/minicab drivers and operators on our taxi & private hire licensing pages.

Government Plug-in Car Grant

You can get a discount on the price of brand new low-emission vehicles through a grant the government gives to vehicle dealerships and manufacturers.

The maximum grant available for a low-emission vehicle is £2,500. More information is on the Gov.uk page on vehicles eligible for a plug-in grant.