HOV lane access is a hot commodity in California. In order to gain access, most people are forced to make friends and car pool to and from work. Others buy zero emission vehicles like the Nissan Leaf or Honda Civic GX, slap a white sticker on the bumper and enjoy their daily commutes alone. Until recently, one vehicle not eligible for single occupancy HOV lane access in California was the Chevrolet Volt. That changes for the 2012 Volt, which thanks to fine tuning by Chevy engineers is now eligible for an HOV access sticker and an additional $1500 state rebate.
According to Chevrolet, the 2012 Volt qualifies for HOV lane access because its engineers modified the Volt’s catalytic converters to make them more efficient at scrubbing the exhaust. More specifically, Chevy engineers added a secondary air-injection pump “that streams ambient air into the exhaust stream to increase its ability to remove pollutants.” According the Chevy, the additional oxygen helps the Volt’s catalytic converters remove more pollution from its exhaust emissions, making it cleaner.
In addition to the coveted HOV lane access and newly-minted green sticker, 2012 Volts are now eligible for $1500 state rebate, in addition to the $7500 federal tax credit. That brings the entry price for Volt ownership in California down to just $30,995.
It makes sense for Chevy to tune the Volt for HOV access. In California HOV access is the driving force behind drivers buying green cars like the Leaf and natural gas-powered Civic GX. Prior to today, the Volt wasn’t eligible for the HOV privilege, something that may have held it back from selling as well as it could have if it were HOV eligible from day one.
HOV access and the additional California rebates make the Volt a much more enticing option to Californians because it becomes one of the only HOV lane solo-driver eligible vehicles that can travel long distances across the state, utilizing gasoline as a fuel, as public charging stations, natural gas and hydrogen fueling stations are still relatively rare. Will HOV access and additional state rebates be enough to increase the Volt’s popularity? Only time will tell, but it sure can’t hurt.
The Low Emissions Package will be standard on all 2012 Chevy Volts sold in California and there are 40,000 HOV lane stickers still available to Californians through the program.
Source: Chevrolet, California Air Resources Board