ELECTRIC vehicles may become even greener with the Government launching a consultation on introducing green number plates for zero emission cars.
As the UK moves at pace towards net zero emissions, the initiative aims to raise awareness of the increasing number of zero emission vehicles on UK roads.
It also helps their drivers to benefit more easily from local incentives like free or cheaper parking and encourage greater uptake of new vehicle technology.
The announcement marks another step for the Government's Road to Zero Strategy, a Â£1.5 billion package of support which aims to make the UK the best place in the world to own an electric vehicle.
Since the strategy's publication the UK has seen record numbers of zero emission vehicles registered and the Government has marked its intention to be the first G7 country to legislate for net zero emissions by 2050.
Through the introduction of green number plates local authorities would have a visual identifier should they wish to introduce incentives to promote the use of zero emission vehicles, such as allowing these drivers to use bus lanes and to pay less for parking.
A similar scheme was trialled in Ontario in Canada with drivers of electric vehicles given free access to toll lanes and high occupancy vehicle lanes. Ontario saw an increase in electric vehicle registrations.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:"The UK is in the driving seat of global efforts to tackle vehicle emissions and climate change and improve air quality, but we want to accelerate our progress.
"Green number plates are a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognise the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads.
"By increasing awareness of these vehicles and the benefits they bring to their drivers and our environment, we will turbo-charge the zero emission revolution."
Elisabeth Costa, senior director at the Government's Behavioural Insights Team, added:"The number of clean vehicles on our roads is increasing but we don't notice as it's difficult to tell clean vehicles apart from more polluting ones.
"Green number plates make these vehicles, and our decision to drive in a more environmentally-friendly way, more visible on roads. We think making the changing social norm noticeable will help encourage more of us to swap our cars for cleaner options."
Potential plate designs include:
The consultation seeks views from industry and the public on a number of aspects surrounding the scheme, including vehicle eligibility; number plate design; and around the rollout of the plates.
The consulation follows the Transport Secretary's recent announcement of the doubling of funding for chargepoints on residential streets, to help make charging an electric car easier for those without access to off-street parking.
The Government is also currently consulting on requiring chargepoints to be built into all new homes with a parking space.