United Kingdom

Electric cars can display green number plates from next week

Zero emissions electric cars will be able to display green number plates from Tuesday 8 December as part of the Government's efforts to boost sales of battery vehicles.

The special registration plates - which have a green flash on one side - can be used on new and existing fully-electric cars from next week to differentiate them from motors with internal combustion engines.

By easily identifying zero-emission vehicles, transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said it will help 'local authorities design and put in place new policies to incentivise people to own and drive them'.

While no further details have been revealed as yet, it could open the door for electric vehicles to be given special privileges, such as access to bus lanes and parking in town and town centres.

Green light: Electric cars, new and old, will be eligible to display number plates with green flashes on them from next week

The British Number Plate Manufacturers Association confirmed the impending arrival of the green plates.

It says the Department for Transport and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles had given the green light for the plates to be used from 8 December and that they can be retro-fitted to existing electric cars, as long as they emit no CO2 emissions. 

In June, Shapps said the special number plates would help the Government to 'drive a green economic recovery' and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. 

He suggested that drivers could benefit from local initiatives such as cheaper parking and cost-free entry into zero-emission zones where those with a green number plate will be recognised as eligible.

The plates will be identifiable by a green flash on the left-hand side - the choice design out of three options put forward last year.

The transport minister said: 'A green recovery is key to helping us achieve our net zero carbon commitments while also promoting economic growth. 

'Green number plates could unlock a number of incentives for drivers and increase awareness of cleaner vehicles on our roads, showing people that a greener transport future is within our grasp. 

'We're supporting small businesses to develop the transport tech of the future through a multi-million pound investment, ensuring that UK businesses remain at the forefront of low carbon innovation and research.'

The plates will help local authorities to identify zero-emission electric cars to put in place future privileges for drivers of these clean vehicles

Reports have suggested zero-emissions EVs with the plates could get access to cheaper parking in town and city centres as well as use bus lanes

While Shapps, the owner of a Tesla Model 3 electric car himself, has backed the arrival of the plates, motor industry insiders have questioned the impact of the incentive.

The RAC said the plates could become a 'badge of honour' for some drivers and foster resentment among existing drivers of petrol and diesel vehicles.

Edmund King, AA president, said he supported the concept by revealed that a survey of thousands of members revealed that just over a third supported the scheme to make EVs stand out from conventional cars.

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