Electric cars to get green number plates

Electric cars and other zero-emissions vehicles are to be issued with green number plates as part of the Government’s efforts to promote cleaner motoring.

The new registration plates, featuring a green flash down the left-hand side, will be introduced from this autumn.

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The Department for Transport says the move will make EVs and hydrogen fuel cell cars more easily identifiable, helping councils to implement incentive schemes to encourage the uptake of zero-emission vehicles.

Among the examples of incentives are cheaper parking and cost-free access to low-emissions zones, which are being introduced in a number of cities.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “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.”

The move is part of the Government’s aim to cut the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 and its plan to promote electric cars as it works to ban the sale of combustion engine vehicles by 2035.

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The DfT also announced a £12 million fund to support research into the zero-emission market.

The funding will see £10 million put towards a new Zero Emission Vehicle Innovation Competition. This will invite applicants to bid for project funding to support advancements in both battery electric and hydrogen vehicles, as well as charging infrastructure.

Two million pounds is also being offered to small and medium businesses to support their research in areas such as battery technology.

The news comes amid reports that the Government is planning a new scrappage scheme which could see drivers offered as much as £6,000 off the price of a new electric vehicle.

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Several major manufacturers have called for some form of incentive scheme to help revitalise the struggling motor trade, although the industry body has called for any scrappage scheme to support all types of car, not just zero-emission models.