On 8 December, Great Britain officially launched the announced introduction of special license plates for electric vehicles. The plates are supposed to make it easier for local authorities to issue special regulations.
The license plates with a green stripe can also be retrofitted to all existing locally emission-free vehicles (cars, vans, buses, trucks, cabs and motorcycles). Locally emission-free means not only battery electric cars but also includes fuel cell vehicles. The basic colour of the license plates common in Great Britain will remain the same: the front license plate is white, the rear one yellow.
Originally, the new license plates were to be introduced in autumn and were delayed. The ‘green’ license plate is not mandatory, so electric cars can be registered with a regular license plate. However, it may be that electric cars without the green plates might not be able to benefit from the special rights granted locally.
The government hopes that the license plate will not only make it easier to grant benefits but also increase the visibility of clean mobility in road traffic. “Green number plates could unlock a number of incentives for drivers and increase awareness of cleaner vehicles on our roads, showing people that a greener transport future is within our grasp,” said UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps in the summer on the planned introduction.
The British magazine Autocar refers to a survey conducted by Nissan and YouGov, according to which 32 per cent of respondents said they would be more likely to buy an electric car because of the new license plates. However, the prospect of further incentives made possible by the license plate plays an important role. Possibilities include special parking zones in city centres, toll exemptions or dedicated lanes for zero-emission cars.
As with the announcement of plans for such a license plate in October 2019 – without knowing the exact design – the British car club RAC had criticised that the green license plate could also encourage “discontent among drivers of gasoline and diesel”. The RAC now repeated this criticism to Autocar: According to Nicholas Lyes, RAC’s head of road policy, there were “question marks as to whether drivers would consider this a badge of honour or whether it could alternatively lead to resentment among combustion engine drivers.”
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