In Canada, the province of BC has just announced that effective immediately you do not have to have any passengers in an HOV lane if you’re driving an electric vehicle. The HOV changes are part of series of vehicle emission initiatives the government announced, including almost $7 million to fund more electric vehicle charging stations and to encourage people to buy electric vehicles. The government defines electric vehicles as battery-electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Vehicles that rely on gas-electric hybrid motors and do not plug into an external source are not eligible to receive the HOV pass decal, says a government statement.
BC’s Electric Vehicle Program
Of the $6.8 million in the initiative, $6 million goes towards incentives to purchase electric vehicles, with the remaining $890,000 to expand public and residential charging programs.
BC’s Clean Energy Vehicle program includes point-of-sale incentives of up to $5,000 for the purchase or lease of new battery-electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. The potential saving could rise to $8,250 when combined with vehicle scrap incentives.
“British Columbians are increasingly embracing alternative and greener transportation options, and we can encourage even more by making it easier and more efficient, like allowing electric vehicle owners to use HOV lanes regardless of occupancy requirements, We’re also targeting the fund to people who need the support when they buy affordable electric vehicles, those that sell for $77,000 or less.”
Premier of BC
The vehicles will be required to have decals the government will issue. This practice is currently being used in places like California where they set limits on the amount of decals in order to ease into the transition. They had set a limit of 40,000 decals which was increased by 15,000 in the summer of 2014 to 55,000. Six months later they increased it another 15,000 and before December of 2015 had increased it again to 85,000, which was maximized by Christmas. They are now accepting applications for those who wish to form a queue once new decals are approved.
Electric Vehicle Incentives
In Germany, they have set a goal to have at least 1,000,000 electric cars on the road by 2020. They are looking to introduce 5,000 euro worth of purchasing incentives, something that has been mirrored already in many places including Canada, where their credit unions have set up various incentive programs to help purchase electric vehicles such as zero down payments and cash loan rebates exceeding $1,000.
In developed countries the fossil fuel experiment is clearly seeing the beginning of the end. Internal combustion engine demand is falling, and their resale value is dropping with it. Companies like Tesla can barely keep up with the demand for their vehicles and is sure to reach near hysteric proportions once their economy model hits the market by 2017 and is projected to sell for around $35,000. When you factor in rebates, incentives and fuel savings and an average commuter spending $300 per month on gas, it could amount to as much as $10,000 in savings in the first year alone and pay for itself within 8 years.
As they become increasingly common we can expect to see more exclusive domains for electric vehicles. Anyone who remembers when people could smoke anywhere and then as time went on were increasingly restricted to where they could only practice their dirty habits in dark and secluded corners will see the same scenario play itself out with internal combustion engines.