Green Number Plates And What They Could Mean For EV Drivers

There has been an increased recent focus on climate change and the impact that our lifestyles have on our environment. While meaningful change cannot happen overnight, it’s important that we all take steps to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our planet’s future.

The automotive sector is certainly trying to do its bit, as manufacturers continue to develop hybrid and full-electric vehicles to reduce harmful emissions and even eradicate them altogether. And we’re set to see more of these vehicles on the UK’s roads over the coming years, after the government passed a law targeting net zero emissions by 2050.

As technological advances continue to be made, the future of green car technology looks bright. But what about the here and now? And what about those drivers who’ve already swapped out their petrol or diesel models for a more eco-friendly set of wheels?

For UK drivers of electric cars, green number plates have been introduced. But what are they, which vehicles are eligible and what could they mean for those who have them? Allow Jardine Motors to explain all…

What are the new green number plates?

It was first announced in June 2020 that green number plates were being planned for electric cars. They were officially launched six months later.

Essentially, both front and back plates look as they did previously apart from a small green flash on the left-hand side. According to the British Number Plate Manufacturers Association, the flashes on the green number plates are to be:

  • Colour Pantone 7481c or very similar
  • 40-50mm in width
  • Retroreflective for 24-hour visibility

It was first announced in June 2020 that green number plates were being planned for electric cars. They were officially launched six months later.

Essentially, both front and back plates look as they did previously apart from a small green flash on the left-hand side. According to the British Number Plate Manufacturers Association, the flashes on the green number plates are to be:

  • Colour Pantone 7481c or very similar
  • 40-50mm in width
  • Retroreflective for 24-hour visibility

What is the idea behind the green number plates for electric cars?

The green number plates have been introduced in order to make it easier to identify those vehicles with zero emissions. This in turn will enable local authorities to create initiatives that will encourage more drivers to make the switch to electric cars.

When plans for the EV green number plates were initially announced, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “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.”

Which cars are eligible for a green number plate?

As it stands, green number plates in the UK are only available to drivers of zero-emission vehicles (CO2 emissions of 0kg/km). This applies to both existing and new EVs. So, if you already drive an electric car, green number plates can be fitted to your vehicle – they’re not solely aimed at those who’ve purchased an EV since December 8, when the initiative was officially launched.

Are hybrid cars going to get green number plates as well?

There are no plans for hybrid vehicles to be fitted with green number plates. This is because they are to be used to identify zero-emission models only. As hybrid cars use a combination of both electric and internal combustion engines, they still emit greenhouse gases, albeit in lower amounts than conventional diesel or petrol models.

Visit the government’s Vehicle Certification Agency to find out which cars are eligible to receive green number plates.

What do the experts say about electric cars and green number plates?

Some authorities in the industry have opposing views about green number plates in the UK and the value of the initiative. For example, AA president Edmund King has voiced his support for the scheme.

“Most people choose an EV because they are great to drive, better for the environment and have lower running costs,” he said. “However, almost one in five say the introduction of green number plates may influence them to switch to an EV so it is a move that we welcome.

“To achieve government targets on zero emissions we need to encourage more drivers to switch and almost half of AA members say they will consider an EV when they next change their car. I first drove an EV in 2001 and they have come on in leaps and bounds since then. Today I am pleased to be one of the first to get a green plate on my EV.”

On the other hand, RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis doesn’t believe that electric cars’ green number plates will make a significant difference.

“While this is well-intentioned, we don't believe green number plates on their own will do much to make people switch to an electric car,” he said. “We'd much prefer the government looked at things like bringing in the right financial incentives.”

What could green number plates mean for drivers?

The main incentive behind the scheme is to encourage more road users to go electric and reduce our carbon footprint – a plan that has been further supported by a ban on new petrol and diesel models from 2030.

And there could be additional benefits for drivers of electric cars with green number plates. These are yet to be officially defined, and it’s possible that they will vary from one local authority to the next. However, when he first announced the scheme in June 2020, the Transport Secretary suggested that drivers could receive discounts on parking as well as free entry into low-emission zones.

Join the electric revolution with Jardine Motors

There are a raft of government incentives encouraging us to go green, and the new number plates are a literal take on a growing trend. At Jardine, we have a wide range of new and used electric vehicles, so why not pick out the eco-friendly model that’s right for you.

You can get in touch or contact your local dealership about our EVs and, if you find one that ticks all the boxes, you’ll soon be hitting the roads and proudly displaying that green number plate.

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