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UK Electric Cars to Get Green License Plates

Dominique Adams


Green license plates

The green plates will enable zero-emission car drivers to access perks designed to help promote the uptake of cleaner cars.  

Electric cars will be given green license plates in order to encourage more drivers to buy zero-emission vehicles.

It is hoped the coloured plates will help increase the visibility of the zero-emission vehicles and enable their drivers to benefit more easily from incentives such as free parking or access to clean air zones.

The UK’s Department for Transport (DfT) has launched a consultation on the plans, which have been modelled on a similar scheme in Canada that seems to have helped boost the sales of electric cars. In Ontario, Canada, drivers of electric vehicles can enjoy free access to tole lanes and high occupancy vehicle lanes. The DfT is considering allowing those with green licence plates to use bus or other priority lanes.

Transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “Green number plates are a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognise the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads. 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.”


According to the Government’s behavioural insights team (Bit) the distinctive plates will help make others more aware of their fellow drivers’ decisions to drive eco-friendly vehicles. It is hoped this awareness will spur others to follow-suit and normalise the idea of clean vehicles.

Elisabeth Costa, a senior director at Bit, said: “The number of clean vehicles on our roads is increasing but we don’t notice, as it’s difficult to tell clean vehicles apart from more polluting ones. Green number plates make these vehicles, and our decision to drive in a more environmentally friendly way, more visible on roads.

“We think making the changing social norm noticeable will help encourage more of us to swap our cars for cleaner options.”

In June, the then Prime Minister Theresa May pledged the UK would produce net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To achieve this the Government will need to massively reduce or eliminate vehicle exhaust fumes.


The Government’s Road to Zero Strategy aims to see at least half of new cars sold, as many as 70%, to be ultra low emission, alongside up to 40% of new vans sold. Potential green number plate designs include a fully green plate with black lettering; the addition of a green flash on the plate or the addition of a green dot or symbol.

Shapps recently announce that he will double funding for charge points on residential streets, to help make charging an electric car easier for those without access to off-street parking. The Government is also reviewing responses to the consultation on requiring chargepoints to be built into all new homes with a parking space.

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Dominique Adams

Marketing Content Manager, Trickle

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