There is good news for motorists who drive pure electric vehicles, as from this Autumn they will sport distinctive ‘green’ number plates that provide perks for cleaner vehicles.
A vertical green strip will be added to the left-hand side of electric car number plates, and according to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, the new-style registration plates will help show “that a greener transport future is within our grasp.”
The plates are easily identifiable, which could allow local authorities to offer motorists with the green plates discounted parking, entry to low emission zones and other schemes.
The first plans for the new-look plates were developed in October last year. This week’s announcement presented a first look at the design and detailed the start date and a £12 million investment into zero-emission vehicle research.
Mr Shapps said: “Green number plates could unlock a number of incentives for drivers and increase awareness of cleaner vehicles on our roads.”
“A green recovery is key to helping us achieve our net zero carbon commitments while also promoting economic growth.”
Whilst the green number plates initiative may help the Government to reach its aim of net zero emissions by 2050, it could be met with hostility from drivers of traditional vehicles.
RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis commented: “While this is well-intentioned, we don’t believe green number plates on their own will do much to make people switch to an electric car. We’d much prefer the Government looked at things like bringing in the right financial incentives.”
A similar green plate scheme is already in place in Ontario, Canada. Vehicles with the plates are allowed to travel in designated car-pool lanes with one person travelling in the vehicle and are also given free access to toll roads.
The Department for Transport has pledged £12 million for research into zero-emissions vehicles. £10 million has been used in a zero-emission innovation competition to encourage applicants to bid for funding that will support advancements in electric and hydrogen transport. An additional £2m will be available to small and medium sized businesses to support research into battery technology.
Mr Shapps said: “We’re supporting small businesses to develop the transport tech of the future through a multimillion-pound investment, ensuring that UK businesses remain at the forefront of low-carbon innovation and research.’’