Dec '1609

Major Chinese City Issues Special Number Plates For Eco-Friendly Cars


The city of Shanghai which is one of the world's most heavily populated cities and one of the financial and commercial heart of China. It is also a city which has taken upon itself since the start of December 2016, to issue very special number plates to owners of ultra eco-friendly electric vehicles, according to the English-language Chinese website  

Coming in a very distinct rectangular pressed metal plate, coloured with a green gradient, these plates also contain 6 characters over the standard 5 characters available for drivers of traditional combustion engine vehicles.

It is unclear what serious benefit to drivers is going to be from these special coloured number plates other than perhaps some minor aesthetic appeal.

Shanghai currently has placed very strict restrictions on the issuance of new number plates in a  bid to control the levels of traffic and congestion in the city. Currently, in the city of Shanghai auctions are held in which everyday number plates registrations are sold for top dollar prices for the privilege of having a number plate and being able to drive on the roads. This restricts the number of people who can apply and take to the already packed roads.

Yet currently the Chinese authorities in the city of shanghai are allowing the buyers of electric and other hybrid type vehicles to be issued with number plates at no fee whatsoever, thus avoiding the auction experience altogether.

Major electric vehicle brands could stand to capitalise from this special treatment, include US electric car manufacturer Tesla who are offering up their rapid Model S Tesla to potentially eager Chinese buyers.


Whilst currently the complications on receiving number plates has been relieved for electric car buyers, that is not to say that this is the way that it will always be. One of the core purposes behind the hurdles and complications related to receiving a number plate in some major Chinese cities like Shanghai and Beijing is to restrict and manage the growth of traffic and traffic related congestion and air pollution problems in these megacities.

As the take up on electric vehicles increases and they become a much more realistic purchasing option for Chinese drivers, it is very likely that the congestion problems faced by cities like Shanghai could continue to grow or become even worse as more electric cars could get on the road quicker due to easy access to registration plates.

Therefore at some point, the exceptions made by the authorities in Shanghai towards electric vehicles are likely to be reversed and/or restrictions and hurdles on car and number plate registration made much more difficult for the average resident of these cities in order to once again manage and maintain the traffic on the roads.

As the Chinese economy has grown and the population has gotten wealthier there has been a very large and completely understandable demand for cars from Chinese consumers. The special green coloured plates issued for owners and buyers of electric vehicles seems like more of a novelty, perhaps a means to create publicity and further interest in the local population about electric vehicles to help encourage them to make the switch. We’ll see in time.

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