Early adopters of electric vehicles will be red listed next year as they are losing an early privilege in California. The state will replace the green and white stickers that permitted access to HOV lanes with red ones, only those will not be available to all.
The sticker policy of California was an early measure of electric car privileges and worked well. Too well for some as it has led to the high-occupancy vehicle, or HOV lane, usually reserved for multi-occupant vehicles and buses, to become crowded with plug-in hybrid and electric cars.
Now the state has come up with a new measure as they seek to replace all white and green stickers with red ones for clean energy vehicles. That would not be a problem if not for another restriction attached to it. The red stickers can only be acquired by owners of an electric car that was bought in 2017 or later.
This means effectively shutting out earlier adopters of electric and low emission cars and there are plenty, 230,000 to be precise. While this high number of low emission vehicles on the road is good news, the new policy may turn out to set a wrong incentive on top. That is if some electric car owners decide to buy a new EV or PHEV before really necessary just to keep their privilege.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles is issuing new red HOV lanes decals as you speak. After January, 1st, 2019 only drivers whose electric car sports a red sticker may ride in the so-called diamond lane. The new decal will expire in 2022.
This example reminds us of Oslo. There the privilege for electric cars to ride on bus lanes had led to protests from bus drivers. At an earlier stage is the UK market. Great Britain is only just considering to designate low emission vehicles with green number plates reportedly.