HRS Blog

Author: Rihanshu Dhawan

Types of Car Number Plates in India by HRS Tours

In India, vehicle number plates, also known as registration plates, are standardized and regulated by the government. There are several types of number plates, each with specific color schemes and formats to indicate the category and usage of the vehicle. Let us look at what each type of number plate denotes. Here are the main types of car number plates in India

types of Car number plate in India by hrs tours self drive car in jodhpur

What is the car number plate?

A car number plate, license, or registration plate is a metal or plastic plate attached to a vehicle. It displays a unique combination of numbers and letters that identify the car. The registration number on the number plate is issued by the relevant government authority and is used for identification and registration purposes. Number plates typically need to be displayed on both the front and rear of the vehicle to be easily visible for identification and law enforcement purposes. HRS is describing all car number plates. 

-- Black Number Plate with Yellow Letters:-

Black Number Plate with Yellow Letters - Rental Vehicles by hrs tours self drive car in jodhpur

In India, a car with a black number plate and yellow letters most likely indicates a self-drive rental vehicle. Here’s a breakdown of what it means:

Usage: Rental Vehicles for Self Drive

Description: This plate is for self-drive rental vehicles, which individuals can rent for personal use.

Vehicle Type: It’s registered for commercial purposes, but specifically for self-rental. This means you can rent and drive the car, unlike taxis or rideshares where you have a driver.

Registration Plate: The black background with yellow lettering distinguishes it from private vehicles (white background with black lettering) and other commercial vehicles (yellow background with black lettering).

Driver’s License: Unlike regular commercial vehicles, you typically don’t need a commercial driver’s license to operate these self-drive rentals. A standard driver’s license is sufficient.

Rental Companies: Companies like Zoomcar, Revv, HRS Tours (https://hrstours.com/), or other car rental agencies often use these black and yellow plates for their self-drive fleets.

Key Point: These vehicles are commercially owned but rented out for private use.

-- White Number Plate with Black Letters:-

White Number Plate with Black Letters - Private Vehicles by hrs tours self drive car in jodhpur

In India, a car with a white number plate and black letters signifies the following:

Usage: Private Vehicles

Description: These plates are used for personal vehicles that are not meant for commercial use.

Examples: Family cars, personal motorcycles, and scooters.

Private Vehicle: This is the most common type of number plate seen in India. It indicates the vehicle is registered for private use only.

Non-Commercial: The car cannot be used for commercial purposes like transporting goods or hiring passengers (e.g., taxis, rickshaws).

Legally Owned: The white number plate with black lettering signifies the vehicle is registered with the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and has a valid registration.

Key Point: These vehicles cannot be used for commercial activities, such as carrying goods or passengers for payment.

-- Yellow Number Plate with Black Letters:-

Yellow Number Plate with Black Letters - Commercial Vehicles by hrs tours self drive car in jodhpur

A car with a yellow number plate and black letters most likely indicates a commercial vehicle in India. Here’s a breakdown of what it means:

Usage: Commercial Vehicles

Description: These plates are for vehicles that are used for commercial purposes, like transporting goods or passengers for hire.

Appearance: Yellow background with black letters and numbers.

Examples: Taxi cabs, trucks, buses, and auto-rickshaws.

Vehicle Type: This type of number plate is used on various commercial vehicles like taxis, rickshaws, buses, trucks, and even fleet cars owned by companies.

Regulations: These vehicles have different regulations compared to private cars. They typically require a commercial driving license and might have a different tax structure.

Exceptions: There’s one exception to the rule. In India, some luxury hotels might register their self-driven rental cars with black number plates and yellow lettering. However, these vehicles are still considered commercial and might have limitations on usage compared to private rentals.

Key Point: These vehicles are regulated differently from private vehicles and must follow specific commercial vehicle laws.

-- Number Plate with an Arrow Pointing Upward:-

Number plate with an arrow pointing upward - Indian Army by hrs tours self drive car in jodhpur

Use: Military Vehicles

Description:

  • Appearance: These number plates have an upward-pointing arrow, known as the “Broad Arrow,” along with a series of alphanumeric characters.
  • Purpose: These plates are used exclusively on vehicles owned and operated by the Indian Armed Forces.
  • Details:
  1. The upward-pointing arrow is a distinctive symbol indicating military ownership.
  2. The alphanumeric characters usually include the registration number specific to the military vehicle.
  3. These vehicles can include a wide range of types, such as jeeps, trucks, armored vehicles, and more.

Additional Information:

  • Privileges: Military vehicles often have special privileges and are subject to different rules compared to civilian vehicles.
  • Identification: The unique arrow symbol makes it easy to identify military vehicles on the road.

Understanding these plates helps in recognizing military vehicles and respecting their specific operational requirements and privileges. 

-- Green Number Plate with White Letters:-

Green Number Plate with White Letters - Electric Vehicles Private by hrs tours self drive car in jodhpur

A car with a green number plate and white letters indicates that it’s an electric vehicle (EV) registered for private use in India. Here’s a breakdown of what this means:

Usage: Electric Vehicles (Private)

Description: These plates are used for private electric vehicles to promote environmental sustainability.

Appearance: Green background with white letters and numbers.

Examples: Personal electric cars and two-wheelers.

– Color Significance:

  • Green Background: This color is specifically reserved for electric vehicles to distinguish them from conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles easily.

– Lettering Colour:

  • White Letters: White lettering is used for private electric vehicles.

– Additional Points:

  • Commercial EVs: Electric vehicles used for commercial purposes (taxis, buses, etc.) will have the same green background but with yellow lettering instead of white.
  • Benefits of EVs: Green number plates often come with perks for EV owners in India, such as exemptions or discounts on tolls, free or preferential parking, and access to special lanes for faster traffic flow.
  • Regulation Updates: There have been revisions to the green number plate rules. Currently, the entire plate must have a green background with white or yellow lettering for numbers and letters.

In essence, a green number plate with white letters signifies an eco-friendly electric vehicle promoting sustainable transportation.

Key Point: These vehicles often receive incentives like tax benefits and are recognized for being environmentally friendly.

-- Green Number Plate with Yellow Letters:-

Green Number Plate with Yellow Letters - EV Commercial by hrs tours self drive car in jodhpur

A car with a green number plate and yellow letters indicates that it’s an electric vehicle registered for commercial use in India.

Usage: Electric Vehicles (Commercial)

Description: These plates are for commercial electric vehicles.

Appearance: Green background with yellow letters and numbers.

Examples: Electric taxis and commercial electric buses.

– Here’s a breakdown of the information:

  • Green Number Plate: This color is exclusively assigned to India’s electric vehicles (EVs). It helps distinguish them from conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles.
  • Yellow Letters: The color of the letters on the number plate signifies the type of vehicle registration. In India, yellow lettering is used for commercial vehicles, like taxis, auto-rickshaws, trucks, and buses (while private vehicles have white lettering).

Therefore, this combination indicates a commercially registered electric vehicle, promoting eco-friendly transportation in business operations.

– Here are some additional points to consider:

  • This system helps incentivize the adoption of electric mobility for commercial purposes.
  • Commercial electric vehicles might enjoy benefits like exemption from certain tolls or access to exclusive parking zones (depending on regional regulations).

I hope this comprehensive explanation clarifies the meaning of a green number plate with yellow letters in India.

Key Point: These vehicles benefit from both commercial and electric vehicle incentives and regulations.

-- Red Number Plate with White Letters:-

Red Number Plate with White Letters - Temporary Registration by hrs tours self drive car in jodhpur

A car with a red number plate and white letters in India indicates a temporary registration. Here’s a breakdown of what it means:

Usage: Temporary Registration

Description: New vehicles awaiting permanent registration use these temporary plates.

Appearance: Red background with white letters and numbers.

Examples: A new car that has just been purchased and is waiting for its permanent registration.

  • Purpose: This red plate signifies the vehicle is brand new and hasn’t received its permanent registration yet.
  • Issued by: The red plate with a temporary registration number is issued by the Regional Transport Office (RTO) when you purchase a new car.
  • Validity: The temporary registration is typically valid for 30 days, though this may vary slightly depending on the state.
  • Restrictions: In some states, vehicles with red plates may not be allowed on public roads. It’s best to check with your local RTO for specific regulations.
  • What to do next: During the validity period, you should register your vehicle with the RTO to get a permanent license plate. This process typically involves submitting paperwork and paying registration fees.

Additional points to consider:

  • Government Vehicles: Red number plates with white lettering can also be used by some government vehicles, but these plates will usually have the emblem of India in the center to distinguish them from temporary registration plates.
  • Not all Red Plates are Temporary: While red plates in India typically indicate temporary registration, it’s important to note that this color scheme might be used for different purposes in other countries.

Key Point: These plates are temporary and usually valid for a short period, such as a month.

-- Red Number Plate with Yellow Letters (Government of India Seal):-

Red Number Plate with Yellow Letters - President of India and Governors by hrs tours self drive car in jodhpur

Cars with red number plates and yellow lettering with the Government of India seal denote vehicles owned by the Indian government or its agencies. Here’s a breakdown of what it signifies:

Usage: President of India and Governors

Description: These plates are used by the President of India and state Governors.

Appearance: Red background with yellow letters and typically features the national or state emblem.

Examples: Official vehicles of the President or state Governors.

  • Red Number Plate: This color is specifically reserved for government vehicles in India. It differentiates them from private vehicles (white plates with black lettering) and commercial vehicles (yellow plates with black lettering).
  • Yellow Lettering: The letters and numbers on the plate are typically displayed in yellow color. These alphanumeric characters represent a unique identification code assigned to the vehicle by the government department it belongs to.
  • Government of India Seal (Emblem): The presence of the official emblem of India on the number plate signifies that the vehicle is part of the central government machinery.

Key Point: These vehicles have special privileges and security measures.

-- Blue Number Plate with White Letters:-

Blue Number Plate with White Letters - Foreign Diplomats by hrs tours self drive car in jodhpur

A car with a blue number plate and white letters most likely belongs to a foreign diplomatic mission or embassy. Here’s a breakdown of what it signifies:

Usage: Foreign Diplomats

Description: Vehicles used by foreign embassies or diplomatic missions use these plates.

Appearance: Blue background with white letters and numbers.

Examples: Cars belonging to embassy staff.

Issuing Authority:

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues these plates in the country where the embassy or consulate resides.

Purpose:

  • They are exclusively used on vehicles belonging to foreign diplomats, consular staff, or international organizations like the United Nations.

Plate Design:

  • The background is blue, and the letters and numbers are white.
  • Instead of a state code, the plate will display a code indicating the embassy or organization the car belongs to. Common codes include:
  1. CC – Consular Corps
  2. CD – Diplomatic Corps (or DC)
  3. UN – United Nations
  4. There might be other codes depending on the specific country’s diplomatic missions.
  • The plate might also include the country code of the diplomat’s home nation.

Privileges:

  • Vehicles with diplomatic plates have certain immunities and privileges under international law. This may include exemption from:
  1. Local taxes and tolls
  2. Parking restrictions (with limitations)
  3. Customs duties on imported vehicles (for the diplomat)

Important Note:

  • It’s important to remember that diplomatic immunity does not grant complete freedom from traffic laws. Diplomats are still expected to follow road safety regulations.

I hope this comprehensive description clarifies the meaning of a car with a blue number plate and white letters.

Key Point: These vehicles have diplomatic immunity and other privileges under international law.

-- Regulatory Framework and Implementation:-

The design and regulation of vehicle number plates in India are governed by the Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR) under the Motor Vehicles Act, of 1988. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways periodically updates these rules to incorporate new types of vehicles and emerging technologies, such as electric vehicles.

Key Points:

  • High-Security Registration Plates (HSRP): All vehicles are required to have HSRPs, which come with a unique laser-etched code and are tamper-proof. This enhances security and helps in easy tracking of vehicles.
  • Standardization: The standard size, font, and spacing of characters on the plates are mandated to ensure uniformity across the country.
  • Enforcement: Traffic police and regional transport offices (RTOs) are responsible for enforcing these regulations and penalizing non-compliance.

Conclusion by HRS Tours: The color-coded system for vehicle number plates in India is designed to clearly distinguish between different types of vehicles and their purposes. This not only aids in effective traffic management but also ensures that vehicles are used per their designated purposes. With the increasing adoption of electric vehicles and the push for sustainable transportation, new categories like green plates are becoming more prevalent, reflecting the evolving landscape of the Indian automotive sector.

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