COMPANIES may soon be able to put their green credentials on display with special green number plates on their electric fleets.
The aim is to make it possible for local authorities to allow zero-emission vehicles to benefit from incentives such as cheaper parking.
The government also hopes it will boost electric car sales, helping it achieve its 2050 target of net zero emissions, and is asking industry and the public for their views on how to implement the scheme.
The Department for Transport said that through the introduction of green number plates, local authorities would have a useful visual identifier should they wish to introduce incentives to promote the use of zero-emission vehicles.
All-electric vehicles still represent only a fraction of total car sales and there are challenges remain such as a lack of charging points on roads and the price of new vehicles.
The RAC’s head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said that while the sentiment seems right, there are question marks as to whether drivers would see this as a badge of honour.
He said: “”On the face of it, drivers we’ve questioned don’t seem too impressed – only a fifth think it’s a good idea and the majority said the number plates wouldn’t have the effect of making them any more likely to switch to an electric vehicle.”
Gary Smith, Managing Director, Europcar Mobility Group. said: “It is difficult to convince consumers to opt for electric and, therefore, all the incentives that can be offered by Government are to be welcomed.
“Green number plates for electric vehicles is an excellent innovative way to make it easier for local authorities to offer a range of advantages, from driving in bus lanes to additional parking.
“But we need more from Government in terms of financial incentives to purchase electric vehicles and grants to enable companies to transition to electric.”
Phil Lloyd. Chief Marketing Officer at Carwow added that green number plates easily allow local authorities to spot people misusing parking spaces exclusively designed for electric cars.
He said: “There has also been talk of easily identifiable green plates making it easier to either introduce EV specific driving lanes, or allow the cars to drive in bus lanes.
“That being said, to say that these motivations alone will improve the UK sales of new electric cars is a little bit misleading.
The is the argument that a different coloured number plate will change very little regarding perceptions of electric vehicles, and what will truly encourage people to invest in electric technology is more education surrounding the benefits, as well as financial benefits of being an early adopter.
“Although there are now more EV charging points across the UK than petrol stations, the infrastructure we have in the UK is still in dire need of improvement.”