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You show off! Electric cars go green

It is hoped that new green number plates will encourage people to buy electric cars and burnish their green credentials.

At some point in the next few weeks and months, each one of us will feel a small jolt of surprise as we spot something unusual. This is because for the first time in many years, UK vehicle number plates – or some of them anyway - are changing.

Since December 2020 all fully-electric vehicles have been eligible for ‘green’ number plates. Rather than being totally green, the design uses a ‘flash’ or strip on to the left hand side of the existing white (front) and yellow (rear) plate designs.

This new initiative applies to all electric vehicles – van, trucks and buses as well as cars – and interestingly, existing electric vehicles can also have their number plates updated to the new design.

In its initial consultation on the policy, the government had considered including hybrid vehicles and/or extremely efficient traditional models. In our view this would have led to confusion when the focus should be on encouraging only the most environmentally friendly vehicles.

The government hopes that the new green number plates will tempt people to burnish their green credentials (aka, show off!), and raise awareness of the fact that electric vehicles are already well-developed and widespread on our roads.

You can bet that government officials will have spent thousands of hours examining the idea of green number plates to understand whether they might influence consumer behaviour.

It is also hoped that green number plates will also unlock practical ways for electric vehicle drivers to be rewarded in everyday life, such as through reduced parking charges or use of bus lanes.

Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said:

Not only will green number plates raise awareness of the increasing number of cleaner vehicles on our roads, they could also unlock a number of incentives for drivers. It’s clear there has never been a better time to make the switch to a zero-emission vehicle

Now that the change is in place, we expect it to be a matter of weeks before many people have seen a green number plate for the first time. The government - and many others - will be hoping that we'll all be tempted to join this club!



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