Why Do Teslas Have Different License Plates? (Explained)

Electric cars, including Teslas, come with green license plates that are not in regular cars. Car owners might have noticed these green strips on EVs’ number plates and not others, thus wondering what they signify.

You may have noticed that some cars don’t even have license plates and you should know why.

In this article, we explore why Teslas have different license plates and if their license plates differ from that of other electric cars.


The Reasons Teslas Have Different License Plates:

Teslas have green license plates to signify they are electric cars with zero emissions. Just like other electric cars, these plates help distinguish the Tesla models from diesel and gas cars.

This is part of the initiative to boost the adoption of electric cars.

What Does the “EV” Mean on Tesla License Plates?

The “EV” on Tesla license plates denotes the car is an electric vehicle. Just like many electric cars, this tag is mainly for identification and awareness.

The ‘EV’ tag means ‘Electric Vehicles’ available for only vehicles that meet the requirements of Minuscule carbon emissions and energy efficiency.

Note that some states don’t use the ‘EV’ tag, but an ‘EL’ tag. One such state is Illinois.

The ‘EL’ stands for “electric license” and it also denotes the same message as the ‘EV’, that the vehicle is fully electric.

So far, Teslas have gained a reputation for being one of the best electric vehicles owing to their technical design and unique styling. There is also the zero-emission feature, which means they do not depend on fossil fuels.

Not only this, but all models also meet the requirements to have the ‘EV’ tag on license plates as they run solely on electricity by depending mainly on battery energy. 

With the ‘EV’ license plate, Tesla and other electric vehicles need not pay gas tax like gas vehicles.

Also, the ‘EV’ tag identifies that the vehicles that have it, including Tesla, can use vehicle lanes with high occupancy levels, unlike certain gas cars.

Are Electric Cars Exempt From Regular License Plate Rules?

Electric cars are not exempt from the regular license plate rules. These include license plates that should be valid and visible while owners ensure they install them in the proper place and free of obstruction.

Numbers and letters have to be visible as well and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) staff have to approve all license plates that owners customize.

The law does not exempt electric cars from the front and rear license plates, where the state warrants them. This same penalty also applies to those that violate the license plate law in each state.

However, certain situations warrant partial exemption from some traveling bans. For example, EV owners can drive in particular areas in some cities where the law prohibits gas cars but allows electric cars.

These license plates would be needed by authorities on different occasions. Hence, find out if police cars can check if you have insurance. There, you’d discover if they can find out from your license plates.

Do Fully Electric Cars Have Different License Plates?

Unlike regular cars, fully electric cars have license plates with green stripes that make it easy to distinguish them from gas and diesel vehicles.

The green plates are available for fully electric cars only, making hybrid or plug-in hybrids ineligible.

The government introduced green plates for all new and existing electric car owners. These plates may not be all green. Instead, they include a green bar down the left-hand side of the plates.

The number plates, however, remain white at the front and yellow at the rear. This distinction is to be part of the government’s strategy to encourage the adoption of zero-emission vehicles in the country.

The green plates also make it easy for the local authority to identify these vehicles, in order to offer due incentives to owners. These include access to bus lanes, cheaper parking, and free entry into zero-emission zones.

Do Electric Cars Always Have Unique License Plates?

Getting a new EV comes standard with green license plates, but this is optional for owners.

Owing to this, electric cars don’t always have unique license plates. It depends on the owner’s choice to determine what their license plates display.

If they don’t want the green stripes for uniqueness, they can always make arrangements to have them excluded.

Because of this, where the vehicle license plates only contain regular numbers without the ‘E’, ‘EV’, or ‘EL’, removing the green stripes makes them no different from gas and diesel cars, as the license plates now have the same characteristics present in regular vehicles.

This is the reason we recommend subscribing to the EV license plate features your state recommends signifying your vehicle is electric. Doing this allows you to benefit from the pros of owning one.

So, although it’s not compulsory, it’s beneficial. However, explore some compulsory documents you must get when buying used cars.

For owners whose electric cars don’t come standard with a green license plate or any other EV license plate feature, they can opt for one from the right authorities.

This not only helps you enjoy the advantages of owning an electric car, but it also encourages adoption among car owners.

Are Tesla License Plates Different From Other Electric Vehicles?

Tesla license plates are not different from other electric vehicles’ license plates. These plates come with the same features available in other electric cars.

One such is the green license plates like other EVs, which are optional for owners.

For states that include the ‘EV’, ‘EL’, or ‘E’ in the plate number, this feature is available for every electric car plate and not just for certain brands.

Owing to this, your Tesla will come with a symbol like other EVs depending on the practice that your state adopts.

While some car owners may think that only Teslas offer custom license plates, this is not the case. Custom license plates are available for other electric vehicles other than Teslas. Though, Tesla owners seem to use them more.

However, we believe this is because Tesla is the most popular EV yet. So far, it is the top-selling electric car brand in the USA, according to the Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC).

Why Do So Many Teslas Have Custom License Plates?

Most Teslas display custom license plates because many Tesla owners need to make a statement.

Though the statement depends on owners’ preferences, most of them are mainly to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles.

With many Teslas having custom license plates, they get to create awareness about electric cars through a few words.

Some interesting license plates these owners employed to convey their messages include “EV 4 ME”, “BUY TSLA”, “THX ELON”, and “LOL OIL” among others.

So far, we believe these license plates are getting the result owners intended them for. Using captivating characters, many non-electrical car owners end up stopping to read the plates.

Some websites have also helped publicize these messages by reporting Tesla owners are trolling gas car owners through customized license plates.

Owing to this, they end up posting messages on their websites for visitors to read.


Electric Car Number Plates | Green Number Plates | Number1Plates.

License Plates Laws, Penalties and Requirements by States. | LegalMatch.

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