Green number plates confirmed for EVs from autumn 2020

Published: 16 June 2020

► Green number plates for EVs
► Bespoke reg plates bring benefits
► And also promote electric car use

Electric cars are already green, but new laws have confirmed that from autumn 2020 they will carry a special green number plate too.

New government plans mean EVs will soon feature a green registration plate in order to differentiate them from other cars – and help encourage the uptake of sustainable transport at the same time.  

According to the Department of Transport, these new number plates will help drivers more easily benefit from 'local incentives like free or cheaper parking,’ or even the use of bus lanes. What’s more, they’ll be a visible sign of growing EV ownership, and could convince more to jump on the electric bandwagon. Or at least that's what the government is hoping...

Further electric reading

Sceptical? Ministers point to a trial in Ontario, Canada, where similar laws resulted in an increase in electric vehicle registrations; but with no given percentage of increase, and such low numbers of ownership to start with, we’ll take that with a pinch of salt.  

Only zero-emissions, full-electric cars in the UK will be eligible to carry one of the new green plates. The confirmed design will look like this:

Green number plates are a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognise the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads,’ said transport secretary Grand Shapps. ‘By increasing awareness of these vehicles and the benefits they bring to their drivers and our environment, we will turbocharge the zero emission revolution.’ Did he really say turbocharge?  

What will the UK's green number plates for EVs look like?

The idea came from a £1.5 billion package of support to promote electric vehicles, and an initial study looked at three different ways to mark out EV number plates: 

  • A fully green number plate with black lettering 
  • The addition of a green flash on the plate 
  • The addition of a green dot or symbol 

The relatively discreet green side flash won the vote - in all other senses the reg plates will be identical to any other number plate.  

Is this the right way to promote electric vehicle ownership, and will plans such as letting EVs use bus lanes actually have an overall benefit on traffic as well as the environment? Let us know in the comments below.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast