Whether it’s a carefully posed Instagram post involving a reusable coffee cup or a Facebook post about a switch to veganism, there seems to be a growing trend of people wanting to publicise the good deeds they’re doing to help the environment.
But what about when someone purchases an electric car? Is driving around in near silence enough a display of one’s virtuousness? Apparently not.
The UK government’s Department for Transport and the Office for Low Emission Vehicles are currently mulling over the idea of giving low-emissions vehicles green number plates. The idea is it’ll act as a “badge of honour” to show other road users and whoever’s walking past your driveway just how much of a lovely human being you are.
According to UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, the move should “increase awareness of their [low-emissions vehicles] growing popularity in the UK, and might just encourage people to think about how one could fit into their own travel routine”. Better infrastructure might help too, although the government has also pledged to ramp up investment in the less than the country’s less than brilliant charging network.
A public consultation will be launched to determine reception to the idea, and also determine how exactly the plates might look. At this stage, it’s not clear which vehicles would be covered by the move, although it wouldn’t be a surprise to see plug-in hybrids included.
Similar schemes are already in operation elsewhere in the world. In 2016 part-green plates for ‘New Energy vehicles’ were launched in parts of China, while alternatively-fueled cars in Norway have two-letter prefixes to denote what powers them. Will the UK follow suit? We’ll have to wait and see.