Currently reading: Green numberplates launched, research predicts boost in EV sales
Zero-emission vehicles can be supplied with green-badged registration plates from today, which could help local authorities boost incentives

All new and used zero-emission - mainly electric - vehicles sold in the UK are now eligible to wear green-badged numberplates to help distinguish them from petrol and diesel vehicles. 

The plates, intended to make it simpler to identify such vehicles and allow local authorities to easily introduce specific incentives, feature a green flash down the left-hand side in the same place as a European country marker. They are optional on newly registered cars, rather than mandatory. 

Research carried out by Nissan and Yougov claims that 32% of people surveyed would be more likely to buy an electric car because of the new plates, and the prospect of further incentives to be rolled out as a result. This could include specific zero-emission parking zones, exemption from road charges and even zero-emission lanes. 

However, the plates face criticism from some industry corners, with the RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes claiming there are “question marks as to whether drivers would see this as a badge of honour or alternatively it could foster resentment among existing drivers of petrol and diesel vehicles”. RAC’s own research claims only a fifth of drivers think the numberplates are a good idea. 

The move is part of the government’s plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. Transport secretary Grant Shapps said when they were announced in the summer: “Green numberplates 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.”

1 Green front and rear number plates

At the time, the government also announced £12 million funding for research into the zero-emissions market to develop greener vehicles and help improve EV charging technology.

Within this funding, £10m will be used for a new Zero Emission Vehicle Innovation Competition. It will invite applicants to bid for project funding to support advancements in both battery EVs and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, as well as charging infrastructure.

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Small and medium businesses will receive £2m to support research and development into zero-emissions vehicles in areas such as battery tech and charging infrastructure. The government said the funding will help businesses to drive local economic growth, which could in turn create more than 6000 skilled jobs. 

Shapps said: “A green recovery is key to helping us achieve our net-zero carbon commitments while also promoting economic growth.

“We’re supporting small businesses to develop the transport tech of the future through a multi-million-pound investment, ensuring that UK businesses remain at the forefront of low-carbon innovation and research.’’


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A88A 8 December 2020

What will this actually do? Make the better off and company car drivers feel smug and superior?, whilst making the the poorer off in society feel guilty that they can only afford to continue driving their sinful petrol and diesels of yesteryear!

the ironic thing is, these virtual signallers are leading society in supposedly making people feel more inclusive and yet the same types think its great to make the least included feel like they will be doing something terrible, simply because they cannot afford an electric car. 

Or could it just be that now we won't have the euro flag on our number plates, they've decided we should all display our green commitment (or our car gets targeted in the future riots). Maybe we can be colour coded, so petrol gets RED, diesels get BLACK, hybrids get GREEN/RED, GREEN/BLACK or GREEN.

Andrew1 8 December 2020
Green registration numbers and blue passports: same thing, zero substance, virtue signaling and snobbery.
rob26 8 December 2020

Very depressing comments here today. I can see why Autocar decided to move their electric reviews to a different section. At least the government is doing the right thing and forcing us all in the right direction. First the BIK carrot and then the 2030/35 ban. I drive a 2008 Golf, but my next car will probably be a BEV although a hybrid would work for us. I'll listen to my kids opinions.

Whether you like it or not the writing is on the wall for ICE.