Depending on what part of the country you live, commute or travel to, you may be aware that purchasing a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) comes with a few perks; cheap or reduced rate parking, perhaps the option to use bus lanes, maybe congestion-zone or ULEZ charge free amongst others.
Some of these benefits are common sense – ULEZ for example is a tax designed specifically for vehicles that pollute, or that don’t pollute, depending on your viewpoint. But parking a BEV takes as much space as a ‘dirty’ car, and as for running in bus lanes … isn’t that akin to a class system for motoring?
The wealthy get to whizz through the traffic using lanes that are prohibited, while the paupers that insist on hanging on to their older internal combustion have to wait in line because clearly their business or commute isn’t as important.
£1.5 billion scheme
The Government are now looking at how to make that difference more noticeable, and their solution is to add green coloured number plates into the mix.
The scheme is part of a £1.5 billion drive to raise awareness of electric vehicles, and we’re told that along with the green number plates, it will offer numerous other benefits including free or reduced parking, and perhaps the right to travel in bus lanes.
Except … don’t a number of cities already offer that for electric vehicles? Just without the green plates.
It’s admirable that Grant Shapps wants to incentivise buyers of Battery Electric Vehicles, but reducing the grant to help with the purchase of a new EV is just the opposite, as is changing the criteria for getting help to fit a charging system at home.
So what the Transport Secretary is really saying, is “We want to incentivise you to buy green, but in such a way that the incentives are meaningless, and don’t cost us anything; we’re giving you a gimmick.”
Positives and negatives of electric power
To be clear, I’m not anti-electric vehicles, or pro-fossil fuels. I genuinely think we’re witnessing tremendous breakthroughs, the likes of which haven’t really been seen since Karl Benz first strapped an engine to vehicle, but I’m anti gimmicks, especially those that cost us, as motorists, even more in tax.
£1.5 billion to promote “Green number plates are a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognise the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads” (Grant Shapps) or “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 our roads.” (Elisabeth Costa, senior director at the Behavioural Insights Team).
This is quite literally the UK government beating their chest, ticking some boxes and shouting that they’re doing all they can to promote green travel, whereas the reality is nothing more than a number plate design change.
While making glib comments about a motoring class system is all well and good, truthfully, there are real concerns from road campaigners that it could ‘foster resentment’ from owners of traditional ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) powered cars, particularly those than aren’t in the position to afford a switch to electric.
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC had this to say: “While the sentiment seems right, there are question marks as to whether drivers would see this as a badge of honour or alternatively it could foster resentment among existing drivers of petrol and diesel vehicles.”
“On the face of it, drivers we’ve questioned don’t seem too impressed – only a fifth think it’s a good idea and the majority said the number plates wouldn’t have the effect of making them any more likely to switch to an electric vehicle.”
Without any doubt, electric vehicles are the future of transportation, and the technology involved gets more cost-efficient with each new model rolled off the production line, but more needs to be done to help those that aren’t financially able to swap.
It’s all very well offering a meagre scrappage scheme to help buyers, but targeting the most needy with two or three thousand pounds is absolutely pointless, it’s just another gimmick that can be trotted out to satisfy the box-tickers – “Yes, we’re doing everything within our power to help people convert to green”. (“The fact that they aren’t converting to green is no concern of ours … we offered them money and everything”).
Are green number plates a gimmick? Should the govt. save the money and actually offer some useful help? Or are they doing the right thing? Let us know in the comments.
It’s just another gimmick dreamt up by stupid civil servants who have nothing more useful to do with their days at (so called) work! As usual, it simply gives to the rich and takes from the poor. If the green plates do identify the special (rich) people, I hope no vandals take advantage of it!
Join the discussion… Quite agree but am nearing the time when I choose to hang up my car keys. Would have liked the opportunity to have a ‘BEV’ but as per article, the gap between my budget and the cost of a suitable car is just too great!
Drive safely y’all.
Those Whitehall civil servants are certainly not stupid.
They seem to have jobs for life until they retire with excellent pension schemes.
Whaat you wouldn’t want a green number plate, wow to think that’s all it takes to A) sway people over to electric, B) save the world.
I’m in, what’s a matter with you all it’s a green number plate! the think tank that came up with this Er “brilliant” (sarcasm) idea must think we are all so shallow.
perhaps I shall spray my stinky old planet killing diesel number plate green then it will be fine, planet saved, I Will be hailed as a life saver, oh yes!
Fantasy world is great isn’t it you can do anything as long as you have a green plate!
instead of introducing green plates for electric vehicles which is a waste of money. They should make owning an electric vehicle more worth it by reducing the price of the vehicle and getting the infrastructure in place. Most people who could buy an electric vehicle won’t as they are worried about running out of power. It’s not as if you can carry a spare battery to keep you going till you find a charge point. Some places don’t have any charge points.
The Government has set a target of 2035 until all new vehicles have to be electric which should mean electric cars should come down in price and be more reliable. But unless more investment is made now it will be just a pipe dream and we will have another brexit situation, where the deadline is fast approaching but we’re not ready.
I am sure 1.5B can be spent in a much better way!
Improving public transport, building a charging infrastructure, introducing Grid level storage, working on higher density renewable energy generation, researching cheaper more efficient battery technology, to name but a few of them.
Green number plates are a good idea – if for no better reason than to see a near-silent car coming and know it for what it is. But the government – any government – is going also to have to incentivise the average family motorist to switch to EV with some hefty subsidies. And it is also going to have to get local planning authorities to insist developers, most of whom couldn’t care less, make fast-charge points a mandatory part of all new developments in this country. Without many thousands more charging points countrywide EVs won’t take off anyway.
We live in rural North Yorks and until electric cars come down in price to similar levels of current petrols and diesels, and the range improves, electric cars would be no use to us whether the plates are pink, green, lime or lilac. It’s not just that though, why would you want cars where the batteries lose efficiency year on year ,can’t be replaced at affordable prices and which make a mess of the environment if they can’t be recycled? Not everyone can afford to replace cars as frequently as some.
although i agre with most of your points, range is consitantly over 100 miles now, and some can manage to nearer 300, so charging each day isnt an issue.
Batteries are lasting longer than expected with degredation being nigh on zero. Nissan reported the case of a Leaf that was bought in 2013 to be used as a taxi around Cornwall. The car had covered more than 100,000 miles without losing any of its battery life.
Tesla are constantl;y proving that viable Electric vehicles can be made in all classess from Semi-Trucks to Roadsters from family runarrounds to executive saloons.
Now I am not an advocate either way on the battery vehicle thing, and am currently running a diesel ICE. buit there is a lot of hype and mis-information on both sides, and the cost-benefit analysis is certainly tipping towards the EV
And What does a Tesla cost?
Not so sure about seeing the “near silent” car with its green plates is the issue, it more about hearing them! at low speeds they are silent but be sure you will feel it when it hits you.
I think green number-plates is a great idea. It reminds people that everybody , in the world, will suffer unless something is done to reduce these emissions.
An excellent addition would be to not allow shops to open, on Sundays.
That would stop all those people driving to shopping centres, where they either wander around , aimlessly, or sit slurping coffee and cakes.
And what would people do with their time if they’re not working or shopping on sundays?
Go for a drive?
They could recharge their batteries…….
Yes a gimmick far better improve the infrastructure so people can have confidence in electric vehicles 20 different charging companies all with different rates, systems apps no cohesion to have points repaired or replaced, whilst on holiday in Scotland last year the whole changing network was unobtainable due to network issues luckily we planned ahead but what if we hadn’t address some of these issues and people might be more willing to go green.
Are people stupid? These vehicles aren’t “green”, it’s the people who drive them that are “green”. They maybe zero emission when they are being driven, but what about when they are being charged up, where does that power come from? That’s not green. What about battery production & battery materials, they certainly aren’t “green”. When we are all driving these electric dodgem cars (in bus lanes) where’s the electric power going to come from to charge them all up when we all get home from work & plug them in? The lights around the land are going to dip drastically when everybody plugs their car in!
Open up the bus lanes to everybody, get the traffic light phasing sorted & get rid of stupid traffic lights on roundabouts so all vehicles can move in the most efficient way possible!!
Best Post yet, another consideration is the use of smart meters that will indicate a spike in electricity use, this could be manipulated by the power companies to introduce tiered charges. By and large the high cost of EVs will be the determining factors for most people.
correct, these vehicles aren’t green, it’s the owners, when all the green cars are driving in the bus lanes where are the buses going to go? after all how many of those will be green? when all are plugging in their cars to recharge them we will see the reason for all the smart meters being pushed for us to have fitted to our homes, the power providers will be changing the tariff charges at these times @ the flick of a switch.
At last, some people talking sense.
If we want to improve the prospects of the planet we need to (in this order):
a) Stop having so many children (and I’m not talking exclusively about our 1st world countries here). This will mean that the people who are already here don’t need to be made quite so miserable by worrying about the ever decreasing amount of energy they’re allowed to use.
b) Stop making unnecessary journeys – and by unnecessary, I don’t mean journeys for pleasure on a weekend – pleasure is absolutely necessary. A huge number of people don’t really need to travel to work, and many that do could have shorter journeys not necessitating a car if only there were jobs nearer their homes – if only their homes weren’t in some massive sububan sprawl as they probably wouldn’t have been in the early 20th century or before.
c) Stop replacing things that are not past their servicable life. Scrappage schemes for vehicles as new as 2012 (e.g. Ford)? That’s outrageous, those vehicles were already built with extremely low emissions and to a standard of quality that should see most last for 150,000 miles or so if properly maintained.
Of course it’s a gimmick, the government are only interested in window dressing, sound bites and postulating box ticking. They haven’t the wit to solve problems just create them.
Just a thought, EVs come in two halves, the car and the battery. Would it not be better if the Public bought the ‘car’ they want and the Government subsidised the batteries and their replacements.
The reason this came to mind is at the moment to have an EV you either own the battery outright or lease the battery, such as the Renault scheme. Most other manufacturers do not have a lease scheme yet. So, to buy an EV complete with your own battery which generally has a 7 year guarantee (I presume this is the average length for it to get down to a 75% holding capacity and needs replacing) is far more expensive than a conventional vehicle. You have the car for say 4 years before you consider changing your EV. That leaves 3 years guarantee on the battery before a costly £4k to 17K replacement battery is needed. Who is likely to take that on when purchasing a 2nd hand EV. That means 2nd hand values of EVs will have a bigger depreciation to entice people to buy them.
Regarding battery lease, buying just the car with no battery means the upfront cost will be more affordable for more people and a monthly fee for the battery again makes it more likely to fit into peoples budgets. Typically its £70/month to lease a battery for a family sized car. The battery is automatically renewed when it can only hold 75% of its originally capacity at no further cost to the car owner.
If the government spent the money for green plates on battery subsidies then EV motoring will be within the grasp of a lot more people and 2nd hand EVs will be more tempting for those of us on smaller budgets.
Didn’t know that, as I can’t afford a new car let alone an EV I hadn’t looked into the details of owning one.
The government are patting themselves on the back again for doing nothing. Green Reg plates are not going to encourage anyone to buy electric cars.
I for one could not have an EV as I am not able to charge it. My shared carport (with six others) is 1000ft ish from my front door, we have no other parking facility outside of the properties (all open out onto the road) and we all rent privately.
Yeah I am sure that my landlord will fork out for seven charging points in the carport area or a very long extension lead.
How about all those people in high rise buildings?
Stupid civil servant thinking will only cause resentment, jealousy and bad feeling.
Down with electric up with hydrogen fuel cell. Cleaner from end to end. Does anyone actually believe that there wiĺl ever be enough charging points out and about to serve the flood of electric cars the government want to sèe on the roads. In your dreams baby!
You think that you have problems now with vehicle breakdowns on motorways just wait till you have to rely on your battery. and the charging point you are relying on for your next charge is defective or stuck in a major traffic jam for 3-4 hours. People that are being persuaded to buy electric are not thinking ahead. Better if they buy a diesel as recommended by the Government OOOOOOH I did that and look what happened, save your money and wait for a better solution. £40,000 +++ is a lot of money to lose.
Why do you think the government are pushing everyone to get Un- SMART meters just a flick of a switch in the suppliers control rooms can alter your electric rates at busy times. On pretense to stop the supply being overloaded. ( when everyone charging their EVs don’t be surprised if your charges go up ( sorry about the pun). When has ever the Government been on the side of the general public. They have subsidised people to fit solar panels now virtually worthless, reduced the tax on diesel cars now removed and diesels are the demons on the road, EV ‘s subsidised the purchase price now virtually removed. There will be only one person to blame when you are stuck with a flat battery you and like people say most manufacturers are giving a 7 year battery life, who in their right mind is going to buy a 5 year old EV when the cost of replacing the battery is so expensive.
What next! plate for petrol then diesel how about one for SUV’s. Introduce tax for cycles after all they want eveything but contribute nothing.
A green number plate is elitist snobbery.
I live in a block of flats with a communal car park 50 yards away, how will I charge an electric car?
keep your green number plates, i aint getting rid of my V8 gas guzzler for anyone.
Incentivising the purchase of BEV’ s and or fuel cell cars is the way to get a switch not by removing the grants a making you stand out from the crowd by painting your number plate green.
I agree that green number plates is just a gimmick and this government clearly don’t give a damn about going green. Improving public transport, building a charging infrastructure that isn’t controlled by the normal oil companies and putting prices up for electricity that mean you’re paying more more than you would for petrol or diesel. The subsidy for electric cars has only served to profit the Motor manufacturers and keep new EV prices high.
I’ve been driving an electric vehicle for over 3 years, and I am not rich, living only on my basic state pension. Although I paid more for it than any previous vehicle I had bought second-hand both it and my wife’s electric car have not only paid for themselves in fuel savings in the few years we’ve own them they’re now actually worth more than we paid for them. Our EV’s have maximum range of 70 miles on a full charge and we have only ever charged up up on the public charging network, not at home. So it is doable to have an EV on a low budget. (I live in the North West)
Ross Brawn recently stated that they want F1 cars to go carbon-neutral. The current hybrid engines are the most efficient on the planet, and by using bio fuels derived from waste products (not potential farming land) was the greenest alternative.
Surely this would give the best of both worlds, albeit not moving pollution out of the cities unless you just use the electric motor when in them.
When the infrastructure is available to make electric cars viable this may not be relevant, but I can’t see millions of charging points be added anytime soon.