The UK Government is involved in a Consultation Process involving plans to introduce green registration plates for Electric Vehicles. The aim being that the plate will serve as a visual aid, promoting the purchase and use of EVs. The UK Goverments Behavioural Insights Team have said "We think making the changing social norm noticeable will help encourage more of us to swap our cars for cleaner options."
Green plate vehicles may then enjoy incentives such as free or reduced rates parking, and use of bus lanes or lanes reserved for high occupancy vehicles. Green plates have been rolled out successfully in other jurisdictions such as Ontario in Canada, which has led to an increase in electric vehicle registrations. A similar scheme is in operation in Oslo, Norway whereby EVs have an "e" at the start of each number plate to denote it's EV status. In Oslo some public carparks have free spaces for EVs with EV chargers, and lengthy commuting times are significantly decreased by access to bus lanes.
The UK's Department of Transport has said "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, such as allowing these drivers to use bus lanes and to pay less for parking."
Such incentives will join the expanding list of reasons to purchase an EV. In the UK a buyer can avail of a £3500 grant toward the cost of buying a fully electric vehicle. Electric motorcycles and mopeds drivers can apply for a £1500 purchase grant, while the grant for Vans and Taxis stands at £8000, and £7500 respectively. From a fiscal perspective EVs make great sense with zero emissions vehicles being exempt from Annual Vehicle Tax. PHEV's qualify for reduced tax rates including Registration Tax and Ownership Tax. Company Car Tax sits at 16% in 2019/20, as compared with Diesel Company cars which are 4-8% higher. Such incentives are are a crucial pillar in incentivising the purchase of EVs if the UK is meet it's intention to ban the purchase of fossil fuelled cars by 2040 under the Road to Zero Strategy.
In Ireland the SEAI offers a grant of up to €5,000 towards the purchase of a new EV plus VRT Relief of up to €5,000 for new BEVs until end 2021 and up to €2,500 for new PHEVs until end 2019. A charging grant of up to €600 is available to support installation of home charger points for buyers of new and second-hand EVs. EV drivers also benefit from reductions in toll charges, up to 50% on peak, rising to 75% off peak on the m50 for certain categories of EV. EVs qualify for the lowest Motor Tax rates, and there are no fuel excise duties on electrical consumption, unlike diesel and petrol. A new Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions based charge applies to all passenger cars from January 2020, and an increase in petrol and diesel prices of approximately 2c per litre will likely chip away at the decision to opt for an 'ICE' vehicle.
Photo: (Registration Plates) UK Dept of Transport