Will A Green Number Plate Convince You To Go Electric?

Tue 22nd Oct 2019

Government plans to change the colour of number plates on electric vehicles to increase uptake have been criticised as a gimmick by motoring organisations.

The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced an official consultation on the scheme today, with the aim of raising awareness of electric and hydrogen vehicles as well making it easier for police and authorities to manage low-emission zones, lanes and parking.

The public are being asked to choose from three different number plates which will indicate if a car is EV, but the RAC’s Rod Dennis speaking on Radio 4 was not convinced.

“We’re not massively impressed. Drivers don’t seem to be particularly keen on these plans, either,” said Dennis.

“The question is whether they really achieve what the government wants to achieve. This is about getting more people into cleaner vehicles — switching out of petrol and diesel vehicles — and will the sight of a green number plate and the possibility of free parking and driving in bus lanes for electric vehicles really drive up usage? Drivers we’ve spoken to recently at the RAC didn’t seem that impressed.”

He added: “We’d much prefer the government looked at things like bringing in the right financial incentives.”

Current financial incentives include the Plug-In Car Grant which would knock £3,500 off the price of an eligible new vehicle, but Grant Shapps has previously indicated that though the scheme will continue into 2020, the government wants to phase out the grant in the near future.

Instead Shapps is banking on multicoloured number plates driving change.

As the UK moves at pace towards net zero emissions, the initiative aims to raise awareness of the increasing number of zero tailpipe emission vehicles on UK roads,” said the Department for Transport (DfT).

“Through the introduction of green number plates, local authorities would have a useful visual identifier should they wish to introduce incentives to promote the use of zero-emission vehicles, such as allowing these drivers to use bus lanes and to pay less for parking.”