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article imageElectric cars given green light to travel in HOV lanes in B.C.

By Karen Graham     Mar 3, 2016 in Environment
Vancouver - Speaking at the 2016 Globe Conference on Sustainability and Innovation on Wednesday, B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced incentives for buyers of electric vehicles, one being a green light to travel the HOV lanes, even with no passengers.
Currently, the HOV lanes are open to cars with a driver and, at least, one passenger in an effort to reduce congestion on the highway. But effective immediately, drivers of electric cars with any number of passengers and an official decal are eligible to travel the HOV lanes.
Eligible vehicles include Battery electric vehicles (BEV), Fuel cell vehicles (FCV), Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), and Extended range electric vehicles (EREV). According to the province's website, your vehicle make, model, year, and fuel type will be checked against the eligible vehicle list maintained by British Columbia’s Clean Energy Vehicle Program to confirm eligibility.
CTV News Canada is reporting that in a statement, Premier Clark said: "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."
The HOV lane requirement changes are only part of a series of vehicle emission initiatives Clark announced that included almost $7 million in funding to add more electric vehicle charging stations and to encourage more people to purchase electric vehicles.
Out of the $6.8 million initiative, most of it — $6 million — will be in initiatives to buyers of electric vehicles and the rest, amounting to $890,000 is to be used to expand public and residential charging programs. B.C.'s Clean Energy Vehicle program will give up to $5,000 as a point-of-sale initiative to buyers or lessors of new battery-electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Clark also announced she has put a cap on the price of electric vehicles in the province, capping the cost at $77,000 to encourage more people to convert to electric vehicles. "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," says Clark's statement.
To add power to her announcement on Wednesday, the premier arrived in a blue Chevrolet Volt, an electric sedan that retails for around $40,000. That is a more reasonable price than the lowest-priced Tesla vehicle that sells for about $80,000 U.S. while other Tesla models list for about $130,000 U.S.
British Columbia has spent $31 million in the past five years on its Clean Energy Vehicle program. The province boasts about 2,300 electric vehicles, the highest per capita number for a province in Canada, according to BC Business, and last year, B.C. joined a global alliance to reduce vehicle emissions by 40 percent over the next 35 years.
More about Electric cars, hov lanes, free pass, British columbia, greener technologies
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