Colorado EV (electric vehicle) license plates

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In Colorado, something changed about motor vehicle license plates on July 1, 2022.  It became possible (or maybe required, I am not quite clear on this) for the owner of an electric vehicle (EV) to have an “EV license plate”.

You can read about Colorado EV license plates on the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles web site.  I find the web page to be approximately as clear as mud.  As best I can make out, this is what the web page is trying to say:

  • Before July 1, 2022, it was required that the owner of any EV place an “EV decal” on the car, at the inside upper right-hand corner of the front windshield of the vehicle.  The purpose of the decal is “to identify the vehicle as an EV.”
  • Commencing on July 1, 2022, the owner has two choices about how to satisfy the Colorado requirement that an EV be “identified as an EV”.  A first choice is to continue the use of the EV decal.  A second choice is to use EV license plates.

(Update:  Here is the July 1, 2022 law.)

The purpose of the EV license plate, according to the DMV web site, is “to raise awareness in Colorado of electric vehicles and to make them easily identifiable.”

The alert observer would note that the vast majority of EVs with Colorado license plates that are not EV license plates do not have the EV decal visible anywhere on the vehicle.  But I note that to get the license plates, the owner was charged 25¢ for the decal and the owner was handed the decal.  I have to imagine that the vast majority of such decals are sitting right now in the glovebox of the car.

In an internet discussion group I saw a speculation that maybe the real reason for the decal (or, now, the special license plate) is “so police can know it’s an actual electric vehicle when it’s parked in an electric vehicle charging spot.”

If you want to get one of these EV license plates, I guess you have to pay $8.06.

How do you get one of these EV license plates?  According to this page, if the vehicle was issued an EV decal on or after August 6, 2018, you can obtain an EV license plate through the DMV web site through the “Replace License Plate” function.    But if you go to the actual Replace License Plate page, what you are told is that the EV license plate “is currently unavailable online.”  Instead, you are told to go in person to a “county motor vehicle office”.

I guess one reason that the owner of an EV might choose to get an EV license plate is if the owner feels the decal is unsightly.  The EV license plate is an alternative way of satisfying the requirement that the EV be identified as an EV.

It seems to me that some cars, including all Tesla cars, are incapable of being mistaken for a non-EV.


One Reply to “Colorado EV (electric vehicle) license plates”

  1. Not sure why the police would think otherwise, when finding a vehicle parked next to a supercharger, with a line running to it.
    Rather, I think police want to identify EVs quickly to recognize whether pursuit from a crime scene would be futile, in their gas-fueled patrol cars.

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