Green number plates were introduced in December last year and all newly registered and existing electric car owners can avail of this scheme. They are distinguished from regular number plates by a green bar down the left-hand side, otherwise the number plates remain white at the front and yellow at the rear. The introduction is part of the Government’s Road to Zero Strategy as petrol and diesel cars are set to be phased out by 2030.
If you drive a battery-electric car your car is eligible for a green number plate. Here’s everything you need to know…
What cars qualify for green number plates?
Only battery-electric cars are eligible, the new number plates are not available on hybrids or plug-in hybrids. Also zero-emissions vans, buses and motorcycles and hydrogen fuel cell cars are entitled to green plates.
Why do we need green number plates?
Green number plates have been introduced to raise awareness of zero emissions cars on our roads and as they are easily identified it means that local authorities can offer incentives to EV drivers such as access to bus lanes, free entry into zero-emissions zones and cheaper parking.
Gill Nowell of Electric Vehicle Association (EVA) England, a consumer association offering a voice for electric vehicle drivers in England, believes the introduction of green number plates is a very positive one “Green number plates are a good way to raise the profile of electric cars, and ‘normalise’ them in our society today” she says.
Are green number plates compulsory?
No, it is not mandatory to have green plates on an electric car but they will be fitted as standard on new EVs so if you do decide to buy a new electric car and do not want green plates you must notify the car dealer before the car is registered.
Do other countries use green number plates?
Green plates for electric cars drivers have been introduced in many countries including Norway, Hungary, Canada and China and have proved to be a positive factor in increasing sales of EVs.
How do I apply for a green number plate?
You can apply at any registered number plate supplier as you would normally. You will need to prove your name and address and that you have the right to use the registration mark. If your vehicle is registered as zero-emissions you will be able to buy a green plate. Only order plates from a registered supplier and always ensure the legally-required checks are carried out.
Watch out for scams!
Number plate scams are on the increase and it was revealed by the Telegraph recently that green number plates are being sold to motorists without providing any proof that they are eligible.
Will green plates encourage more people to make the switch to electric?
The success of the scheme will vary considerably depending on the benefits that drivers gain from their use. According to research from a YouGov poll commissioned by Nissan, a third of motorists in the UK would be more likely to buy an EV because of green number plates.
However, not everyone is convinced that green plates alone are enough to encourage drivers to go electric. Karen Parry, Head Of Communications for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) welcomes the introduction of green number plates but cautions that: “To encourage more people to make the switch, however, will require greater support, including long-term purchase incentives and significant investment in charging points nationwide, importantly beyond the strategic road network to give drivers confidence that they can recharge as easily as they refuel.”
How does the number plate system work?
The number plate system has changed many times over the years but the current one was introduced in 2001. It changes every six months – in March and September and consists of 2 letters – these refer to the region in the country where your car was first registered, 2 numbers the ‘age identifier’ and these tell you when the car was first registered and 3 letters chosen at random.
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