More Chinese cities began using special license plates for new energy vehicles Thursday, in an effort to relieve pressure on energy use and the environment.
The 12 cities that started issuing license plates for new energy cars include Zhengzhou of Henan province, Fuzhou of Fujian province and Qingdao of Shandong province.
Owners of new energy vehicles -- including full electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles -- can apply to traffic management authorities for the new plates. Different from traditional blue license plates, the new ones are green and have an additional digit.
"New energy vehicles are both green and affordable. After I learned the news that Zhengzhou began piloting the use of license plates for new energy vehicles, I drove my newly purchased car to apply for it," said a Zhengzhou resident surnamed Wang, first in the city to install the new plate.
The move by these 12 cities follows the success of a pilot program in five cities - including Shanghai and Nanjing, Jiangsu province – that started issuing license plates for new energy vehicles starting December 2016.
"The initiative will make it easier for the public to recognize new energy vehicles, and it plays an essential role in the development and upgrading of the new energy industry," the Ministry of Public Security said in a previous statement.
In the first half of next year, the new plates will be available in cities across the country, according to the ministry.
Since 2013, policies have been launched across the country to boost the development of new energy cars. By the end of 2016, there were 1 million new energy cars on China's roads, about half the global total, and the number is expected to grow.