Electric cars get green numberplates

Going green has taken on a new meaning with the introduction of special green numberplates for electric cars – here's what you need to know...

Nissan Leaf green numberplate

All new and used electric cars can now be fitted with numberplates with a green flash on the left hand side, designed to make it easier for local councils to offer their owners eco-friendly incentives. The plates are optional on newly registered cars, rather than mandatory. 

The initiative, introduced on 8 December 2020, allows all zero-emission vehicles to be supplied with the distinctive green registration plates to help distinguish them from petrol and diesel cars. 

It's all part of a new government plan to boost sales of electric cars by making owning one as attractive a proposition as possible. It's hoped that by marking out the cleanest cars, local authorities will have an easy way of knowing which cars can be incentivised through schemes including discounted or free parking and permission to drive in otherwise restricted lanes, such as bus lanes.

Research carried out by Nissan and Yougov revealed that the introduction of green numberplates, and the prospect of further incentives to be rolled out as a result, would make 32% of people more likely to buy an electric car.

However, the plates have not been welcomed by everyone. The RAC’s head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes, said there are “question marks as to whether drivers would see this as a badge of honour or alternatively it could foster resentment among existing drivers of petrol and diesel vehicles”. 

According to the RAC’s own research only a fifth of drivers think green numberplates are a good idea and the majority said the numberplates wouldn’t make them any more likely to switch to an electric vehicle.

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