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Different types of car number plates explained

Types of car number plates explained. Why do some cars have white plates, while some have yellow and even green or blue? We explain the different types of number plates.

Last Modified: Mon, Feb 11 2019.
Different types of car number plates explained

India is a vast country with many things to see. Sometimes, even vehicles can get confusing, especially when it comes to registration, or buying a used vehicle. The first thing you see at such a situation is the number plate, it can be in the following colour combinations:

  • White plate with black writing
  • Yellow plate with black writing
  • Black plate with yellow writing
  • Number plates with arrows
  • Green plates with white or yellow writing
  • Blue plates with white writing

Let’s take a look at each of the number plate colour combination in detail.

Note: Images are for reference only

White number plate with black writing

Different types of car numberplates explained

This is one of the most commonly seen types of number plates in India. This type of registration plate on the vehicle basically denotes that the vehicle is a privately owned vehicle. The car is used for personal transport, is not a passenger carrier, and cannot be hired.

Yellow number plate with black writing

Different types of car numberplates explained

The second most commonly seen type of registration plate — yellow plate with black numbers are vehicles for hire, taxis and commercial vehicles, to put it simply. Taxis have their own set of laws and come chauffeur-driven, meaning they cannot be self-driven. Bigger commercial vehicles have their own set of laws for licencing, meaning you require a special licence.

Black number plate with yellow writing

Different types of car numberplates explained

The third most common sighting on roads, especially in big cities. A car with a black registration plate with yellow writing signifies that this is a self-drive rental car. Customers can hire such vehicles for a set period of time and to do so, you need a valid driver’s licence (to drive an LMV). Companies like Zoomcar, a popular car rental company, will have such plates.  

Number plate with arrows

Different types of car numberplates explained

This type of plate means that they belong to the armed forces. Unlike regular registration plates, vehicles that belong to the defence portray more than just the number — they display details such as when the Army procured the vehicle (year), which base it belongs to, the vehicle’s serial number, and the class of the particular vehicle.  

Green number plates with white or yellow writing

Different types of car numberplates explained

A green number plate with white writing signifies that the particular vehicle is a privately owned electric vehicle. This was recently introduced by the Indian government in a bid to promote EVs. Similarly, a vehicle bearing a green registration plate with yellow writing indicates that the particular car is a commercial electric vehicle (electric powered taxi).

Blue number plate with white writing

Different types of car numberplates explained

A blue number plate with white writing is quite rare to see. If you do spot one, you notice that the number is also of a different styling (not the regular XX-XX-XXXX style). This is a diplomatic plate and the car can belong to either the United Nations, Diplomatic Corps, or Consular Corps, depending on the two alphabets that follow the first two digits.

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