HOV Lanes and the Green Sticker… AB2013 (another Soap Box)

Regular readers of this blog would know of my intent to migrate from the ActiveE to an i3 for a daily commuter vehicle. The Model S is just too large for this purpose and the Roadster is, as my wife puts it, “like wearing your little black dress to work”.

Since I drive so much, my initial order was for an i3 with REX. However, as the Green Sticker’s initial 40,000 car limit was reached, I switched to the BEV version of the i3. HOV access was the benefit for early adopters of PHEVs. The California legislature allowed the first 40,000 in the state to apply for and receive Green Stickers to access the HOV access.

EV advocate Chelsea Sexton took a position against AB2013 in her blog post. Being a self-interested individual, I supported the early adopters of PHEVs privilege of using a the HOV solo. However, since the 40,000 limit has been reached, I did what the law intended to do, switch to a BEV for solo HOV access. Now, whether I actually get an i3 still holds at the 5% probability that I’ve been giving it lately.

Behind the wheel of an i8, a car that looks great, but it only has 20 miles of range, if that.

So, what does this have to do with AB2013. What is MY position on this. I am against the amendment as it is currently written. After rewarding the 40,000 early adopters of PHEVs, I think that it is ridiculous to give subsequent PHEVs solo HOV access without any minimum limits on all electric range. The Toyota Plug-In Prius gets about 9 miles of all EV range and the upcoming Porsche Plug-In and BMW i8 both have about 20 miles of range, in the best cases. This is just wrong. I propose that PHEVs should have a minimum of sixty (60) miles of all EV range before it is eligible to ride in the HOV lane by itself. Now, how did I come up with 60 miles. I figured, why not provide a stretch goal. If the average commute is 40 miles roundtrip, most EV drivers know that there will be battery degradation with their vehicles and I wanted to ensure that the 40 miles will continue to be reached for the next 5 or so years. Additionally, why settle for average? The BEVx category was created for a reason, let’s actually make it “worth” something.

In fact, I am willing to share the text of what I wrote to my Assemblywoman and State Senator regarding this proposal.

Dear (CA legislator):

I am writing to you about my opposition to AB2013 on the expansion of the “Green Sticker” program for HOV access as it is currently written.

Though it is commendable to provide 40,000 PHEV into the HOV lane for trying to do the proper thing. To do so without limits on a MINIMUM number of kWh of battery capacity / or Electric range is impractical. Thousands of Californians have proven that EVs work and should not be penalized by those that only “partially commit”. I oppose PHEVs for Green Sticker expansion as long as there is not a minimum range required. I would support that a minimum 60 mile EV range be set as the guideline for any further expansion of “Green Sticker” eligibility. Otherwise, let the 40,000 that made it into the HOV lanes under the current law be the maximum for this privilege.

Adding a minimum EV mileage limit would incentivize fellow Californians to do the right thing and pick a vehicle that truly moves the needle. The current release of the Prius Plug In with its 9 mile range and the pending release of 20 mile range vehicles like the Porsche Plug In or the BMW i8 is a mockery of the efforts that we are doing to stop Global Warming/Climate Change.

Thank you,

(Your Name)

If you’re a California voter and want to contact either, do so here.

If you’re an interested party and wish to contact the Assemblymembers’ offices, please click here. If you’re looking for the State Senators, please click here.

What do you think?

Ok off my Soap Box now.

7 thoughts on “HOV Lanes and the Green Sticker… AB2013 (another Soap Box)”

  1. I think that I broadly agree, it certainly makes to push people to ‘proper’ EV range rather than choosing a Hummer with a couple of AA’s installed. My only concern would be that of delaying the addition of more green stickers whilst the decision is made on that battery range – You know that GM will lobby for >30, Ford will lobby for >19 and Toyota will be in the corner sulking.

    1. Michael, considering the fact that the privilege has been issued to the “brave” PHEV early adopters. Any extension of such a privilege is not guaranteed. As opposed to just opposing the expansion of the privilege, I just feel that we need to reward those that are moving toward the proper direction. Considering that the privilege was extended to 2019, I believe that there is ample room for manufacturers to “hit” that record. With the Volt gettting ready for a 2nd generation refresh, I believe that it wouldn’t be much of a stretch for them to hit the 60 mile limit that I propose.

  2. I agree with you that I do not want more green stickers issued but it is for the same reason I want gas prices to increase, so my Prius Plug-in is worth more and even more with my green stickers on it. Currently I have a 3.1 mile (6.2 mile round trip) commute for work. Before I moved I had a 14 mile round trip commute and could make it in EV mode if I didn’t take the freeway. Unfortunately where I currently live I don’t have access to plug in, nor do I have access at work. The tax credit, California rebate, HOV access, and free money, 0% from Toyota were the reasons I upgraded from my 2008 Prius. While I would like to own a Tesla, short of winning the lottery, that isn’t going to happen. The incentives to buy had me leaning towards the Rav4 EV or the Leaf but I couldn’t risk not having anywhere to plug in. This brings me to the only reason I would open up to more HOV green stickers, to force more infrastructure. Currently it is difficult to find places to plug in. I think with more and more EV vehicles, and PHEV vehicles like mine on the road, there will be more pressure for companies and municipalities to put in multiple charging stations.

  3. Had a leaf loved it.. Got a new job only reasonable option was a Prius Plugin with a 120 mile commute most days. What woild the author suggest?
    I use electric for the town and gas for the highway 50mpg is easily achieved on the freeway in a Prius, and 0 in town to and from the freeway on electric… Seems reasonable compared with being in the non HOV in a 20MPG truck..
    Best we can hope for is being reasonable and look at total environmental impact

    1. I would suggest the BMW i3 REX or Chevy Volt if you desire the “green sticker”. Otherwise, the Prius PHEV, Honda Accord Plug-in, Ford C-Max Plug-in, Ford Focus Plug-in, or many of the other Plug-ins with less than 40 miles of range are readily available.

      For that matter, if you’re somewhat handy with cars and electronics, many have hacked the previous generation Prius and added all electric range rivaling the Leaf in its battery range with the convenience of gasoline. However, these hacked solutions do not qualify for the sticker.

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