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Everything you need to know about green number plates

11 October 2021

Every September and March, we see the introduction of new number plates for new car registrations for the coming six months. The month just gone has seen the ‘71’ plate come in for new cars alongside several other changes including the removal of two-tone number plates, an insistence on the use of solid black characters only and the plate itself being made of tougher material.

September’s biannual change is far from the biggest thing happening to number plates, though. As of December 2020, green number plates began to roll out for all battery electric cars. It's essentially the same number plate we’ve all seen a million times before but with a little green rectangle on the left-hand side. But what are green number plates and what does that little green rectangle mean for EV drivers?

What are green number plates?

The UK Government initially announced the green number plate for electric cars concept in June 2020, with EVs starting to be fitted with them from last December.

Green number plates are only for electric cars that produce zero emissions at the point of use, so hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles are not eligible for one. Hydrogen cars, which are currently a rather obscure technology, will be eligible to get one once they become more widely produced.

Outside of the green rectangle, there aren’t many notable differences between EV green number plates and standard ones. They’re still white or yellow but made of more sustainable materials than traditional acrylic plates, which is a sensible touch considering the messaging behind them.

As for their purpose, green number plates for electric cars have been brought in as part of a scheme to promote zero-emission vehicles ahead of the upcoming ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2030. The Government hopes the plate will raise awareness of the increasing EV presence on our roads and promote potential future incentives for holders.

What are the benefits of green number plates for electric cars?

To those ‘incentives’, then.

Right now, the benefits for electric cars with green number plates are largely hypothetical. As per the Government, the plate will “make it easier for cars to be identified as zero-emission vehicles, helping local authorities design and put in place new policies to incentivise people to own and drive them”.

Those potential incentives would include things like cheaper parking or access to electric-only/bus lanes, but these decisions will lie with local authorities who, as of right now, are largely yet to implement any schemes. Additionally, EV owners with standard plates would not miss out on any theoretical benefits thanks to ANPR technology, which would recognise their registration plate regardless of its design.

As it stands, then, green number plates are more of a badge of honour for UK EV owners than a palpable benefit. However, with sustainability concerns being the hot topic of this generation, that’s likely to be incentive enough for many eco-conscious drivers.

How and where can you get a green number plate in the UK?

Green number plates in the UK aren’t compulsory for EV owners, although it’s likely that many dealers will fit them as standard on any new all-electric models.

Officially, though, they’re still a strictly cosmetic addition. So, if you have an EV and want a green plate but don’t already have one, it’ll cost you around £40 from an approved plate maker. You’ll need ID and proof that you own the vehicle (the V5C document), which is the same process for getting new plates of any kind.

The big question to ask yourself is, with green number plates for electric cars currently offering no tangible benefits, is forking out that extra cash worth it?

Go green today with Robins & Day

We’ve got plenty of EV options at Robins & Day that are green number plate ready. Whether you choose to join the green plate revolution or not, models like the Peugeot e-2008 SUV, the Vauxhall Mokka-e and Citroen e-C4 are all set to take the market by storm this coming year.

Similarly, we’ve got plenty of high-end options available and coming soon in our electric car and hybrid car catalogues. Take a look at our offers today and see if there’s a deal for you.

Want to know more about our electric car range and what’s ahead for green driving? Contact our team today to find out more.

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