Originally posted on CleanTechnica
California is the leading purchaser of plug-in vehicles, with cars like the Tesla Model S and Chevy Volt becoming a regular sight on the Golden State’s congested highways. As it turns out though, that very car congestion could be why so many California buyers are going green.
A study by UC Davis claims that between 30% and 60% of electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid car purchases weren’t motivated by some higher cause, but rather access to the HOV lane.
See, California is one of a few states that give EV and plug-in hybrid car owners access to the High-Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, without having a second or third passenger on board. This revelation came after UC Davis interviewed more than 3,500 plug-in car owners, and found that between 79% and 95% of buyers applied for a green or white HOV lane sticker, and about 3,000 of them actually received it. It’s also interesting to note the breakdown of HOV sticker applicants between the brands. From the paper;
“When asked about their primary motivation to buy the car 57% of Plug-in Priuses, 34% of Volts and 38% of Leafs identified it as the HOV decal (a more recent 4Q 2013 analysis shows somewhat lower percentages – 34%, 20%, and 15% respectively.”
The study also found that people of higher incomes tended to apply to the HOV decals, the theory being that for them, saving time means saving money.
Of course Norway already figured this out, which is why electric car sales have taken off in the past year. If other states with congestion issues were to follow California’s lead, then it reasons that plug-in car sales would see a localized boost. The path to mass EV adoption is apparently paved with HOV decals.