Vehicles that emit no tailpipe CO2 will be eligible for number plates with a green flash from today (8 December) in a Government move to help promote electric vehicles.

The plates can be retro-fitted to existing vehicles, and the Government is hoping they will encourage local authorities to introduce EV incentives such as cheaper parking and free entry into zero-emission zones, as well as raising awareness with the public of the technology and the number of different vehicles available. Cars, vans, buses, HGVs, taxis and motorcycles are all eligible for the new plates, and have been introduced following a Government consultation.

We are going further and faster than any other major economy to decarbonise transport, improving air quality in our towns and cities in the process and harnessing the power of clean, green technology to end the UK’s contribution to climate change by 2050,” said Transport Minister Rachel Maclean. “Not only will green number plates raise awareness of the increasing number of cleaner vehicles on our roads, they could also unlock a number of incentives for drivers. It’s clear there has never been a better time to make the switch to a zero-emission vehicle.”

“The introduction of green number plates will give consumers another signal that EVs are continuing to grow in popularity and capability which, we hope, will give them the confidence to explore the technology and make the switch,” said head of Go Ultra Low Poppy Welch. “The introduction of incentives provided by local authorities will also help to demonstrate that EVs aren’t just good for the environment; they can provide significant savings and convenience, too.”

A recent YouGov survey for Nissan has found that 32% of people said that the plates, if they lead to further incentives for EV ownership, would make EVs a more appealing purchase.

“The age of the electric vehicle is now approaching rapidly and these new green registration plates will soon be a common sight on our roads,” said Nissan managing director Andrew Humberstone. “Zero emission electric vehicles unlock incredible benefits for everyone, but while many people know about the environmental benefits, many car buyers still don’t realise they could also save significant sums buying and running an electric car.”

The survey also found that while 81% of respondents were aware of electric vehicles’ environmental benefits, 53% were unaware of the financial benefits including lower running maintenance costs, VED and congestion charge exemption and the possibility of discounted parking.

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