Green number plates explained

Wondered what the green stripe you see on the side of some cars’ number plates is for? Wonder no more

In June 2020 the Transport Secretary announced that electric cars would be able to wear number plates featuring a vertical green stripe (officially known as a ‘flash’) on the left-hand side of the plates.

If you’re curious what the thinking is behind the green number plates, we’ll go through this here, as well as precisely which types of car are eligible for them, and what the mechanics of procuring a set of green plates involve.

What does the green strip on a number plate mean?’

In short, if you see green number plates, it means the car wearing them is an EV. The plates can only be fitted to cars that produce zero tailpipe emissions, so only pure electric cars can benefit from them.


BMW i3 120Ah (Image: BMW)

BMW i3 120Ah (Image: BMW)

These plates still feature the traditional yellow (at the rear) and white (at the front) colours, but have a green box to the left of the characters. The plates themselves are also often made sustainable materials.

Hydrogen cars can also have green plates but there are only two such cars on the market in the UK (The Hyundai Nexo and Toyota Mirai), both of which remain niche propositions sold in tiny numbers.

Read more: carwow

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