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Business briefing: Green plates to boost sales of electric cars

Going the extra mile: How the registration plate could look PICTURE: DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT/PA

DRIVERS of zero-emission cars could be given green number plates granting them special privileges.

Motorists would be allowed to use bus lanes or pay less for parking under plans being considered by the Department for Transport as part of a £1.5billion strategy for greener roads.

Registrations of electric vehicles in Ontario, Canada, rose after drivers were given free access to toll lanes and allowed to use high occupancy lanes.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the UK wanted to accelerate moves to tackle vehicle emissions and air quality.

‘Green number plates are a really positive and exciting way to help everyone recognise the increasing number of electric vehicles on our roads,’ he said. ‘By increasing awareness of these vehicles and the benefits they bring to their drivers and our environment, we will turbo-charge the zero-emission revolution.’

Potential designs include a green number plate with black lettering, a green flash on the plate, or the addition of a green dot or symbol. Elisabeth Costa, of the Behavioural Insights Team, which is part-owned by the Cabinet Office, employees and innovation charity Nesta, said: ‘We think making the changing social norm noticeable will help encourage more of us to swap our cars for cleaner options.’

There were 25,097 new electric cars registered in the first nine months of the year, more than double the figure in the same period last year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reports. They now hold a 1.3 per cent share of the new car market.

■ THE Tesla Model 3 has won four awards — including car of the year. It was also named best electric car, best company car and bagged the safety award at the Parkers New Car Awards. Experts at Parkers, the UK’s biggest car advice website, described the Model 3 as ‘capable, likeable and extremely good to drive’. The Ford Focus won best small family car. Tesla’s smallest and cheapest car was the UK’s third best-seller in August — the first time an electric vehicle made the top ten.

The clean, clean grass of eco-homes is proving a hit

Zero-carbon: The Passivhaus design

AN ESTATE of zero-carbon homes is set to be the first in the UK.

The Ssassy Property homes are solely electric, which is generated from sun panels which can be stored in a battery or used as it is produced.

They also have mechanical ventilation and mini heat pumps to circulate the heating and hot water. But the timber-clad homes need virtually no heating or cooling because of their modern Passivhaus design.

Twenty-five eco-friendly homes are under construction in Southmoor, near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, with buyers able to choose floor layouts, kitchens and bathrooms. Just eight custom-built plots remain.

Ian Pritchett, director of Ssassy Property and Greencore Construction, said: ‘We think this is the first development of zero-carbon, net zero-energy houses in the country.’ He called for planning legislation and building regulations to favour sustainability.

Just Eat sales up 25% amid merger plans

JUST EAT has enjoyed a sales rise of 25 per cent as it closes in on a £9billion merger plan.

The food delivery company said sales increased to £247.5million in the three months to September despite fierce competition from rivals Deliveroo and Uber Eats.

Revenues jumped as orders leapt by 16 per cent to 62million across the group.

Just Eat said shareholders will be given the chance to vote at a general meeting later this year on the proposed merger with Dutch delivery firm Takeaway.com. The deal was announced in July.

BUSINESS BITES

■ MOTHERS’ careers are more likely to stall, says a study at Bristol and Essex universities. It found only 27.8 per cent of women were in full-time work three years after childbirth, compared with 90 per cent of dads.

■ PANADOL maker GSK has sold anti-rabies vaccine Rabipur and Encepur, which prevents tick-borne encephalitis, for up to £822million to Bavarian Nordic. It gets £259million up front; the rest depends on sales.

■ BUSINESS lender Funding Circle’s loans under management hit a record £3.7billion in the past three months after a turbulent year. Boss Samir Desai said ‘projected returns for 2019 continued to show an improvement’.

■ NICK CANDY has confirmed he is part of a consortium eyeing a takeover bid for Earl’s Court owner Capital & Counties. The tycoon is said to be in contact with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund about a joint move.