Green Number Plates Explained

Charging point graphic for electric cars

If you drive a vehicle considered to have ultra-low emissions, it qualifies for a green number plate in the UK. In an effort to promote ULEVs (Ultra-low Emission Vehicles), the UK government’s Department of Transport introduced green number plates in December 2020.

What is a Green Number Plate?

In the UK, the green stripe on a number plate (sometimes called a “green flash”) to the left of the characters identifies the vehicle as a ULEV, environmentally friendly or “green” vehicle.

Ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs) are important because they play a critical role in reducing air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions as well as the negative impacts of transportation on public health and the environment across the UK.

In summary, green number plates are a symbol of the UK’s commitment to promoting sustainable transportation and reducing emissions from the transportation sector. They are a way of identifying ULEVs and making it easier for ULEV drivers to access benefits and incentives, while also raising awareness of the benefits of ULEVs.

So, what does it mean to sport a green number plate?

The Benefits of Having a Green Number Plate in the UK

Not everyone in the UK may necessarily need or want to have a green number plate, but there are several reasons why the UK government has encouraged the use of green number plates for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs):

  1. Encouraging the transition to electric and low-emission vehicles: By promoting the use of ULEVs, the government is working towards reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, which are major contributors to climate change.
  2. Raising awareness of ULEVs: The green number plate serves as a visible symbol of a vehicle’s reduced emissions, which can help to raise awareness of ULEVs and encourage others to consider making the switch.
  3. Providing incentives for ULEV adoption: By offering benefits such as free or discounted parking and free access to clean air zones, the government is providing incentives for people to switch to ULEVs.
  4. Supporting the growth of the ULEV market: As more people switch to ULEVs, there is potential for the market to grow. This can help to bring down the cost of electric and low-emission vehicles over time.
  5. Reduced Emissions: ULEVs emit significantly fewer harmful pollutants and greenhouse gases than traditional vehicles. This helps to improve air quality and reduce the negative impacts of transportation on public health and the environment.
  6. Energy Security: ULEVs use less or no fossil fuels, which helps to reduce dependence on imported oil and improve energy security.
  7. Innovation: The development of ULEVs has led to significant advancements in battery technology, electric motors, and other technologies that can be used to improve the energy efficiency and environmental friendliness of other products and systems.
  8. Economic Benefits: As more people in the UK adopt ULEVs, there is potential for new jobs to be created in the manufacturing, sales, and maintenance of these vehicles, as well as in the development of new charging infrastructure and related technologies.

Overall, encouraging the use of green number plates for ULEVs is part of the UK government’s broader efforts to address climate change and reduce the country’s carbon footprint. While not everyone may need a green number plate, the hope is that these efforts will lead to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation system in the long term.

Go green to get your green number plate

Which Cars Are Eligible for Green Number Plates?

  • Fully Electric Vehicles (EVs) AKA Battery-Electric Vehicles (BEVs) - Vehicles that run purely on electricity and have zero tailpipe emissions.
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCVs) - Vehicles that use a fuel cell to generate electricity by combining hydrogen with oxygen. They emit water and have no tailpipe emissions.
  • Range-extended Electric Vehicles (REEVs) - Vehicles that have a battery and an internal combustion engine that acts as a generator to recharge the battery.

If a vehicle meets the UK’s criteria for ULEVs, it is eligible for a green number plate. It can be a car, van, bus, HGV, rail, taxi or motorcycle. The criteria for ULEVs are based on the level of emissions that the vehicle produces and are defined by the European Union’s emissions standards.

Any ULEV can have a green number plate, regardless of the brand. The criteria for qualifying for a green number plate may vary depending on the type of vehicle and the local regulations.

Examples of Vehicles that Qualify for Green Number Plates in the UK

Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs):

  • Tesla Model S
  • Nissan Leaf
  • Renault Zoe
  • Audi e-tron GT
  • BMW iX
  • Honda e
  • Mercedes-Benz EQC
  • Volvo EX90

Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs):

  • Toyota Mirai
  • Hyundai Nexo
  • Honda Clarity
  • Audi H-Tron Quattro
  • Mercedes-Benz GLC F-Cell

Range-extended electric vehicles (REEVs):

  • BMW i3 Rex
  • Vauxhall Ampera
  • BMW iX
  • Mercedes EQE
  • Ford F-150 Lightning
  • Kia EV6 Long Range
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5

How to Get a Green Number Plate

Zero-emission vehicles sold after the introduction of the green stripe on number plates in 2020 come with the green number plate when sold off the lot.

If your zero-emission vehicle was purchased after the official green number plates were implemented, you can get one from TopReg. You can advertise your eco-friendly choice with the green stripe along with the number plate itself i.e., ECO 80Y, THI5 ECO.

The same applies if you want to boast the brand of low-mission vehicle you drive with green number plates like TE71 SLA or TES 514A.


Whichever number plate you choose, ensure that it is in line with the above-mentioned regulations to ensure you get the green number plate of your choosing for your eco-friendly vehicle. The best way to get a green number plate is to buy your private number plates from a reputable dealer.