Even the newest vehicles and those with electric drives need a green environmental sticker in Germany. We are often asked why this is the case. E-cars registered in Germany have the letter "E" at the end of the number plate and are thus directly recognisable as electric vehicles. Isn't that enough? The answer: unfortunately, no!
In Germany, every vehicle that wants to enter an environmental zone needs an environmental sticker, no matter how new and alternatively powered it is. Of course, there are some exceptions, which will be mentioned later.
The sticker requirement is anchored in the 35th Ordinance of the Federal Immission Control Act. This ordinance stipulates that affected vehicle types, for example passenger cars, must be identified by a sticker in order to then be allowed to enter the environmental zones. It specifies which vehicles are subject to the sticker requirement and which vehicles are generally not affected by the driving bans, i.e. do not need a sticker as a marking. These include, for example, two- and three-wheeled motor vehicles, i.e. motorbikes of all kinds, but also vintage cars and vehicles for the disabled.
Unfortunately, the legislator failed to adapt the 35th regulation when e-cars were introduced, and to add vehicles with e-plates to the list of exemptions. Instead, a new law was passed that regulates how e-cars are labelled and what privileges they receive: the Electric Mobility Act.
But this also means that, according to the 35th Ordinance, e-cars still need a green sticker to be allowed to enter the green environmental zones. This is because the ordinance simply states that a car needs a green sticker. Whether it is a Tesla, for example, is irrelevant to the law.
By the way: foreign e-cars also need the green sticker, of course. In addition, they can buy the blue E sticker to also enjoy the privileges that German E cars have.
The paradox: when checking the environmental zones, it seems that the regulatory authorities cannot be trusted to recognise the "E" at the end of the number plate and accordingly do not look for a sticker on the windscreen. In the case of classic cars, they do just that: the "H" at the end of the number plate is perfectly sufficient. When it comes to free parking, which is granted to e-cars in some areas, the "E" is then also perfectly sufficient.