Zero-emission vehicles to be fitted with green number plates in 'badge of honour' scheme.

As part of a UK Government initiative to promote awareness of low emission vehicles, drivers of electric cars across the UK may soon be equipped with special green number plates.

The Department for Transport (DfT) claims that fitting zero-emission vehicles - including electric cars, vans and taxis – with green number plates would provide local authorities with a clear visual identifier, allowing drivers to benefit from cheaper parking and the option to drive in bus lanes.

Similar to initiatives already in place in Norway, Canada and China, the scheme will propose a number of different designs for the eye-catching plates including a green number plate with black lettering or a green dot or symbol.

Chris Grayling, Transport Secretary, commented:

“Adding a green badge of honour to these new clean vehicles is a brilliant way of helping increase awareness of their growing popularity in the UK, and might just encourage people to think about how one could fit into their own travel routine”

The proposal is part of the Government’s £1.5 billion Road to Zero strategy and is modelled on a scheme previously trialled in Ontario, Canada where drivers of electric cars were given free access to toll lanes and high occupancy vehicle lanes, leading to an uptake in EV registrations after the scheme was implemented.

Elisabeth Costa, Senior Director at the government’s Behavioural Insights Team (Bit), claims that the distinctive number plates might encourage more drivers to switch to an electric vehicle:

“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.”

At present, UK drivers are eligible to receive up to £3,500 towards the cost of a new electric car; however, with these added incentives such as bus lane access and inexpensive city parking, we might just see a proliferation of electric adoption.