Green number plates for electric cars arrived today (Tuesday 8th December), with owners of new and used full battery electric vehicles (BEVs) now able to display a small green ‘flash’ of colour on their number plates. Hybrid cars are not eligible.
Where can I get a green number plate?
Plates are available across the UK from today. All you need to do is turn up at your local retailer with the car’s V5 logbook and some proof of identity (a UK Driver’s Licence will do nicely) and the plates can be made up while you wait.
The local independent retailer we spoke to said plates would cost £26 for a pair. Motoring products and services retailer Halfords is quoted as charging more - £19 for a front or back plate and £38 for the pair. Smaller retailers may not have taken delivery of the new plates yet, so best to check before you set off.
Who qualifies for a green plate?
New and existing EV drivers will be able to display a fully green plate, with a green vertical flash on their left-hand side. EVs will follow the convention of white and yellow plates on their front and rear.
The green flash should be:
- colour Pantone 7481c or very similar
- between 40 and 50 millimetres in width
- retroreflective for 24 hour visibility
The green plates can be retro-fitted to existing Zero Emission Vehicles - that is any vehicle that currently has CO2 emissions of 0g/km. You can find a vehicle's emissions, to see if it's eligible for green plates using the Government tool: Car fuel and CO2 emissions data - GOV.UK
What incentives are there for cars with green plates?
The green strip for EV number plate scheme was announced earlier this year by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps with the hope that it would both further raise the profile of BEVs (100% battery-powered cars), and pave the way for future incentive schemes to encourage the take-up of electric vehicles.
There’s no doubt if enough EV drivers opt to get the places it will it raise profile instantly. But will we wear it as a badge of honour or wait until there are enough incentives to make us change our plates?
Cheaper parking and free entry into clean air zones have been suggested, but no local incentives have been announced ahead of the scheme going live.
London’s Congestion Charge Zone already grants free access to the Capital’s central district for owners of EVs, though drivers must pay £10 and register their electric car to benefit from this, and the process needs repeating annually.
The green number plate proposals were inspired by a Canadian scheme that gives BEV and plug-in hybrid drivers free access to toll lanes and car-pool lanes, even if only one person is in the car in Ontario. The scheme has led to an increase in EV purchases.
Green could allow you to go faster
One possible bonus for EV drivers is the prospect of being exempt from variable speed limits brought in to reduce peaks in air pollution. As more and more of us move into electric vehicles, this incentive may be more long-lived than allowing more and more private cars into bus lanes or reducing revenue from local car parking.
But, even if future clean air zones rely on the same DVLA data rather than green flashes on number plates, ministers may hope that by increasing the prominence of EVs, future car buyers may be nudged into the electric revolution,
Announcing the green EV number plates back in June, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps 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.”
Charging top tips: How to fill your car for even less
Overnight charging: The best home energy tariffs for an EV driver