Today the Department for Transport has issued a consultation on introducing green number plates for ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs). It has taken a while - the commitment to consult on this idea was first announced in September 2018. The consultation will end in early 2020. The DfT wants to increase the take up of zero-emissions vehicles and is also considering extending benefits, such as being able to drive in bus lanes and cheaper public parking. But is this enough to facilitate the pace of change that the Government's clean growth and Net Zero ambitions require? Whilst welcome, if the UK is to capitalise on the opportunities EV developments present we will have to key an eye on what others countries are doing.
Take Norway, where EVs have benefitted from varied incentives since the 1990s. A substantial package was introduced gradually over the years, including the removal of import/export taxes, an exemption from VAT on leasing and purchases, no charges on toll roads or ferries, free municipal parking, access to bus lanes, reduced company car taxes and a fiscal compensation-based scrappage scheme. By 2017 the Norwegian Government had launched a program to fund at least two fast charging stations every 50km on all main roads in Norway. As of mid-2018, 50% of new car sales in Norway were battery electric vehicles and there are now over 230,000 registered as on the road. The Norwegian Government is now aiming for all new cars sold by 2025 to be zero-emission (electric or hydrogen), a target some 15 years ahead of the current UK target.
"Our mission is to put the UK at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles, and for all new cars and vans to be effectively zero emission by 2040." Department for Transport, Oct 2019