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Electric cars, even with just one occupant inside, will now be allowed to drive in the HOV lanes.
Premier Christy Clark announced the news on Wednesday at the 2016 Globe Conference in Vancouver.
“British Columbians are increasingly embracing alternative and greener transportation options,” Premier Clark said.
“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.”
To be eligible, drivers must place a decal on their vehicle. Vehicles that are defined as battery electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles are allowed in the HOV lanes. Vehicles that rely on gas-electric hybrid motors that do not plug in are not eligible for the decal.
“Drivers who make environmentally-friendly decisions like buying an electric vehicle should be rewarded,” Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Todd Stone said. “By choosing electric, drivers will not only benefit from a shorter and more reliable commute that HOV lanes provide, they will save money and help the environment.”
New electric vehicle “tabs” will be posted below highway HOV signs to let drivers know that electric vehicles can drive in the fast lane.
“The New Car Dealers Association is pleased that the provincial government is taking this important initiative to promote the use of clean energy vehicles,” said Blair Qualey, president and CEO of New Car Dealers Association of BC.
“Allowing qualifying electric and fuel cell vehicles to access HOV lanes is a strong incentive to encourage drivers to consider making greener vehicle choices that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”