We could be a step closer to seeing green license plates attached to electric vehicles on our roads.

The idea has been floating around for a while now and it seems the topic has come back into conversation. Just last month, on 22nd October, the proposal for green plates was submitted for open consultation with the consultation closing on 14th January 2020. The purpose of a public consultation is to get feedback and input from the public on matters that are currently undecided. In short, ordinary people just like you and I can have a say in whether ultra-low emission vehicles should receive green number plates or not.

Electric Vehicle Green Plates

That’s right, the plan to implement green plates is no longer just a talking point, it’s officially been put forward now. The chances of this change happening are constantly increasing and if I had to bet, I’d be betting that it’s going to happen.

What will the green plates look like?

In the documentation of the consultation, there are three different designs listed. These designs are only for the rear plate and it seems that they have no plans whatsoever to change the front white plate design at all.

Electric Vehicle Green Plates

The least likely design is the top one, which is an all-green design and is the most likely to cause problems with automatic number plate readers (ANPR) as mentioned in the consultation. By the way it’s worded, the (middle) design with a solid green colour on the side is the one that’s most likely to become a reality as it will be easy to implement, is more prominent than the small green circle design and will not cause as many problems with ANPR systems as the top design.

Which cars will have green number plates?

Again, this is still yet to be decided but judging on the wording of the proposal, it sounds like only allowing zero-emission vehicles to have green plates would be most favourable.

“The Government believes that this would incentivise the very cleanest vehicles and would be simple to implement, enforce and for consumers to understand.

“The Government also believes that it would futureproof against rapid technology change, and would remain effective for decades to come as strong communication and behavioural tool to support the transition to zero emissions.”

Electric Vehicle Green Plates

The alternative option to this is to also include other low emission vehicles that produce less than 50 g/km of CO2 and can drive 70 miles on zero emissions. The main problem with this is that, as said in the document, the rule would be “harder to articulate and less easily understood by road users and the wider population”. This rule would not only include fully electric vehicles, but also some plug-in hybrids that are able to travel at least 70 miles on battery power alone.

The third and final option would be to make cars that produce less than 50 g/km of CO2 eligible for the new green plates. This would include plug-in hybrid vehicles that have a much shorter electric range of under 70 miles, as well as some hybrid vehicles that don’t need plugging in.

The document makes it clear that the zero-emission only route is most preferable as it’s clear, concise, easy to digest and also is endorsing only the cleanest form of cars.

Why are green license plates going to be introduced?

Electric Vehicle Green Plates

As said in the proposal, the new plate scheme for low emission vehicles has been put forward for a variety of reasons. One reason is that it will help our government to reach their plan for the UK to be “net-zero” by 2050, meaning that any emissions we contribute as a nation will be offset and counteracted with schemes that help the environment in equivalent measurements.

“Consumer awareness and acceptance of zero-emission vehicles remains a crucial part of this transition”

“Being able to differentiate vehicles based on their environmental impact, will help inform road-users and normalise the idea of clean vehicles.”

Although the official consultation document says that the green plates are just to “raise awareness” we believe there will also be a secondary effect of increased desirability. Having green on your number plate may soon become a mark of prestige and will give car owners something to show off about.

The new style number plates will likely be optional

The government are considering everything and as the document reads, the proposal will likely lean towards it being non-mandatory and opt-out – meaning that the green plates will be the default option but people will be able to say no to them if they wish.

Option 2 is non-mandatory and opt-in and option 3 is just straight up mandatory.

So, is this good news or bad news? Let us know what you think!

If you enjoyed this, you’ll probably enjoy our article on the Renault Zoe you could buy from a vending machine with contactless payment in London! It’s a mouthful, but well worth a read!

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