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.