The brand new ‘70’ registration number plate arrived in the UK on September 1st, 2020, bringing with it some interesting new features, particularly around changes for electric vehicles.
The new plate will be the first to officially include a green slash, or a rectangle denoting that the vehicle is electric, although these changes won’t actually appear until later in the Autumn.
The changes are intended to improve the profile of electric or battery-powered vehicles further and were announced by Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, in June 2020.
The vehicles will maintain the usual yellow and white plates, but these will feature the vertical green mark denoting the vehicle type.
One possible benefit of this will be that new policies can be designed which take advantage of this improved identification of electric vehicles.
These could include separate parking bays, ways to identify cars approaching congestion or charging zones, and a lot more.
Such measures are inspired by ongoing benefits experienced by drivers in Canada’s Ontario province, where electric vehicles have free passage in toll lanes and has directly increased sales of these vehicles.
Other benefits might include cheaper motor trade insurance or reduced insurance policy premiums for drivers.
This change comes as the latest measure introduced by the government as they continue their drive to promote greener vehicles.
It is also intended to raise awareness ahead of the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel cars by 2035 as part of the nationwide drive to carbon neutrality.
The UK Department for Transport has also pledged additional funding into research of greener vehicle technologies, which could include different types of engine or fuels – maybe hydrogen propulsion as well as battery-powered vehicles.
There remain a number of key issues to overcome with the adoption of electric cars, not least the UK charging infrastructure and the ongoing issue of how to provide charging points for all motorists; there’s a sizeable amount of the population that live in flats or houses with no outside space in which to install charging points, and this is one key problem yet to be addressed.
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Battery life and driving range are also ongoing concerns for drivers, with many fearing their long-distance travel could be compromised by the need to spend hours recharging along the way.
More funding will also be made available to businesses working on carbon-reducing technologies.
It’s clear there’s still a long way to go in the process; in 2019 an estimated 2.3 million new electric vehicles were sold in the UK – this remains a fraction of the total UK new and used car market, and whether the changes to the number plate markings announced for the 70 plate release will have any noticeable impact remains to be seen.
It may take further incentives such as cheaper insurance or road recovery insurance to make the dream of everyone owning electric vehicles a reality in the future.