UK government could give EVs green number plates

Published: 22 October 2019

► Number plates would differentiate EVs
► Would make it easier to offer benefits
► And also promote EV use overall

Electric cars are already green, but new laws could see them carry a special number plate, too. New government plans mean EVs could soon feature a green number 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 could 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.

Further electric reading

Sceptical? The UK government points 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.  

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 turbo-charge the zero emission revolution.’ Did he say turbo charge?  

What will they look like?

The idea comes from £1.5 billion package of support to promote electric vehicles, and suggests 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 

Of the three, we’re expecting it’ll be one of the more subtle solutions that get the go-ahead, if any.  

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.

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast