Nissan dealers are fitting green number plates to electric vehicles to give motorists a preview of what they could look like when they are launched.
The plates have a distinctive green rectangle on the left-hand side to highlight that a vehicle is emission-free.
They are due to be rolled out across the UK from the autumn as part of the Department for Transport’s bid to encourage more people to switch to zero-emission cars.
Officials hope it will make it clear the cars are eligible for incentives such as cheaper parking or bypassing congestion zone charges.
To mark the release of the new 70 registration plates on Tuesday, Nissan dealers are showing customers what their cars could look like with a green plate.
A Nissan spokesman said the plates will be “incredibly useful in terms of raising awareness of the benefits of emission-free motoring”.
James Baggott, founder of Car Dealer Magazine, said they will be “a welcome distinction for zealot electric vehicle owners”.
He went on: “They are often incredibly proud of their green car choices and these green number plates will be a badge of honour for them.
“Seeing them shown off in dealerships for the first time is giving customers confidence they’re coming soon.
“Many car buyers spent the lockdown researching electric vehicles and dealers are reporting a surge in interest.”
But Jim Holder, editorial director of What Car?, is unconvinced that the plates are necessary as sales of electric vehicles suggest motorists are happy to buy them “without feeling the need to virtue signal through extrovert styling flourishes”.
He added: “It seems a shame, therefore, that the green number plate seeks to introduce an element of difference into a market where it’s not required.
“Electric vehicles are set to become the norm in the short-term, so why make them stand out as an oddity this way?”
Pure electric vehicles took a 4.7% share of the new car market during the first seven months of the year, compared with 1.0% during the same period in 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.