To Rex or not to Rex… The California predicament


So… Tom Moloughney, Electronaut #1, has covered this subject numerous times (To Rex or not to Rex original and its follow up) and as much as I am against hybrid vehicles, I have been convinced by Tom and others that if we were to order an i3, I would probably opt for the REX enabled one instead.

However, yesterday, a couple of news reports from The Street and InsideEVs.com have posited (pretty reliably) that the i3 with REX will be eligible for the much more limited Green Sticker (limited to the first 40,000 vehicles in California) for the HOV versus the unlimited white sticker variety. For a good run-down on why this matters to Californians, I direct you once again to Tom Moloughney who just wrote about it on his blog.

Now… As readers know, I really like the i3… However, at this point a third EV (because the Active E is going back in February) is really a luxury and not a necessity. Now that does not mean that we won’t do it, it just means that there needs to be something that compels us to pull the trigger on an i3. We continue to run a hybrid garage and prefer to separate our ICE vs EV trips on a vehicle by vehicle selection and not by a gas engine running in our EV.

Having been burned by the phase out of the Yellow Stickers in the past, I am part of the camp that holds the White Stickers as superior to the Green Stickers because the White Stickers are really the goal of no emissions from traditional gasoline engines vs. the pure BEV aspect of the White Stickers (I am purposefully IGNORING the fact that CNG vehicles are eligible for the same White Sticker.)

As much as I wish to hold on to my initial beliefs at the start of writing this blog. I have become Accidentally Environmental. So, I actually felt that the original proposal to extend the HOV access for the Green and White stickers with differing dates did make sense. The compromise that got the stickers until 2019 is just that, a compromise. The original extension proposed a phase out of the green stickers for HOV use in 2018 and the white ones at 2020. Knowing that I wanted to be pure BEV, I was all for that proposal.

So, if the California Legislature were to actually expire these privileges to adopters of cleaner vehicles on 2019, neither Green nor White can drive solo in the HOV lane, there is no benefit that one vehicle has over the other. However, there may still be a better chance of the White Sticker to be extended because it is inherently cleaner than the Green Sticker vehicles. There is nothing but faith that leads me to posit this. Therefore I can not provide any other backing of this belief.

So, should we even decide to continue a relationship with BMW i, do I get a REX enabled i3 or the pure BEV i3. I was leaning toward the REX i3 because I often do 102 mile days. I prefer to drive the Active E now over the Model S. They are both excellent vehicles, I just am more comfortable with my Active E. As I drive the Model S more often, I still like a lot of things that BMW does. Is this enough to add a third EV? Well, it really depends on getting the better half to agree that the car does not look as bad in person as it does to her in pictures and whether we decide to garage my wife’s Roadster more often.

If we do get the i3… Rex or Not Rex? Well, we’ll see. Luckily, being a fan of games of chance, I think that there is a better than average chance for ANY California Electronut (BMW Active E Electronaut) to get the REX enabled i3 for a Green Sticker. But this is a $50,000 bet for a smaller return. It would make for better resale values to have a special “Electronaut Edition” of the i3 with REX AND a sticker. After 2019, it might not matter.

As of 2:45 pm Pacific on January 10, 2014. I still don’t know. Ask me later. (and oh yeah, I have a week left to decide whether we’re continuing with BMW i or not.)

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Dennis

rEVolutionary armed with a Tesla Model S S85 and a Tesla Roadster, when his wife let's him borrow it. Formerly driving a BMW Active E (2012-Feb to 2014-Feb). Dennis has been driving EVs since he found himself on the BMW Active E trials on February 2012. As a result of his involvement in the Active E program, he became Accidentally Environmental. Aside from this blog, he often tweets @dennis_p. When not driving, he can be found on the following Tesla/EV forums - teslamotorsclub.com, teslamotors.com, and model3ownersclub.com as AEdennis or on speakev.com as Dennis. In the interest of full disclosure, Dennis has an inherent bias toward electric vehicles and has an investment in and is LONG Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA).

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