Chevy Volts Built After Feb. 6 to Qualify for California's Coveted HOV Stickers

By · January 23, 2012

Chevy Volt HOV

Chevy Volt's built after Feb. 6th will qualify for California's green High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) sticker.

When General Motors launched the Chevrolet Volt in December 2010, it didn’t meet California's Electric Advanced Technology Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle (eAT-PZEV) status. As a consequence, the plug-in hybrid Volt didn't qualify for the state's High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) sticker. For potential Volt buyers in California, no sticker meant no single-occupant access to HOV lanes. If access to HOV lanes was vital, Californians bought the Nissan LEAF (or a car that runs on compressed natural gas).

The Volt's HOV status is set to change as General Motors will begin to manufacture eAT-PZEV Volts specifically for sales in California. By adding a secondary air-injection pump to clean up the Volt's emissions, Chevy's plug-in will qualify for California's partial zero-emissions green sticker.

But take note: Only Volts produced after February 6 will be available with the eAT-PZEV package and only those vehicles will be eligible for California's HOV-access stickers. Some non-HOV-eligible Volts in California will inevitably sit on lots for some time and buyers could mistakenly purchase one under the false assumption that it's an HOV-eligible Volt. All eAT-PZEV Volts will be identified as such on the vehicle's window sticker, so check the fine print before you buy.


· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

Pure electric vehicles and not hybrids should be the only ones allowed in the carpool lane with this sticker. This would include the volt not getting this access.

· · 5 years ago

Eric, check your facts please. No White sticker every for the Volt. They will get a Green one if they qualify. You need to update story and title.

· · 5 years ago


· · 5 years ago

Eric, The Green sticker is also limited to the first 40,000 vehicles that qualify (GM, Toyota ...). White is unlimited.

· · 5 years ago

@ Turbo3, Thanks for the additional info. The post has been modified and now states that the Volt will qualify for California's partial zero-emissions green sticker.

· CharlesF (not verified) · 5 years ago

Personally I think all cars should be PZEV. The added cost is just not that much, and the benefit to the environment is worth it. Why GM did not make the Volt PZEV form the beginning is a mystery to me. And why as an option package just to CA is also a mystery.

· · 5 years ago

Getting the PZEV certification involves an odyssey through CARB's bureaucratic minefield. If GM had waited until they got that certification, they would not have sold any Volts before 2/6/12.
This way, they've sold quite a few Volts and recovered a little of their investment.
Now, we'll see if GM turns throttles up their factory and starts really producing Volts in large quantities.

· · 5 years ago

@Anonymous, The Volt can go 25-50 miles all electric at 1 to 101 mph so it has a pure electric mode. The difference is after it's 25-50 miles it has a generator/assist that can continue to propel it electrically or electric/ICE assisted depending on speed.

On forums like these we really need to get away from mine is bigger/better than yours and one solution is better than the other. One size does not fit all in the real world.

@ex-EV1 driver - Good point!

· · 5 years ago

@theflew, @Anonymous point was that EVs and not hybrids, such as the Volt, should be given HoV stickers. @Anonymous wasn't disputing the specifications for the Volt hybrid.

· · 5 years ago

Value of HOV stickers. This varies significantly according to your specific situation. A typical example might be: 10 minutes saved / day * 250 work days / year = 41.66 hours / year. 41.66 hours * $30/hour after taxes = $1250 / year. $1250 * 3 years until program expires = $3750.

There's also a chance it will be extended past 3 years.

· · 5 years ago

That was definitely a consideration in getting a Leaf as opposed to a Volt, and I do think the new Volts should qualify. Anyone spending extra for a plug-in hybrid will use it in EV mode as much as possible. If the dealers are smart they should move the non-qualifying Volts out of California.

· · 5 years ago

@Jose G,
While I don't fully support hybrids in the carpool lane, I do support a program where the first X vehicles of a particular emissions improving technology get carpool lane privileges for a short (3 years is probably ok) time period in order to prime the pump and help the fledgling technology to get to commodity production. At the end of those 3 years, those vehicles should no longer get that privilege and the bar should be raised higher.
For example, if the number of 'privileged vehicles' is 70,000 for California, then we previously allowed ZEVs (CARB rated Zero Emissions Vehicles) and AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology - Partial Zero Emissions Vehicles - a smarmy lie to allow fume spitting gas guzzlers to get green points but nonetheless, an improvement over most gas guzzlers) hybrids with greater than 45 mpg EPA rating. They quickly sold out of those 70,000 stickers and 3 years later, the AT-PZEVs were kicked out. The bar was raised to AT-PZEV plug-in hybrids with little restriction on them. These will undoubtedly sell out the 70,000 quickly with ZEVs and AT-PZEVs. In 3 years, they can kick out the AT-PZEVs and possibly the unrestricted ZEVs in favor of higher restrictions. Maybe AT-PZEVs with some reasonable minimum electric range or maybe there will already be over 70,000 ZEVs on the road so gas guzzlers need not apply.
Hopefully at some point there will actually be critical mass of EVs (PHEV and BEV) so that our gasoline consumption is significantly reduced along with their associated emissions and there won't be any need to grant them any special privileges any more at all!
Of course, Gov Brown is moving toward trying to get rid of HOV carpool/clean air decal lanes and start charging money for Diamond Lane access anyway. This will allow him to collect the $3750 that Jose G computed to buy votes instead of letting it go toward the development of technologies that will benefit mankind so this probably is a thing of the past anyway.

· Mike I. (not verified) · 5 years ago

It boggles my mind that Chevy would make this a CA specific option and not make it a complete in-line change. It reduces emissions, so why not let the whole country get the benefit of cleaner air?

· · 5 years ago

Come now, Mike... how much clean air do we really need?

· · 5 years ago

@darelldd, Enjoyed that! My laugh for the day...

· · 5 years ago

I can't take credit. I pirated it from Lee Iococca who was complaining about clean air regs.

Ah... here's the full quote:
"We've got to pause and ask ourselves: How much clean air do we need ?"--Lee Iacocca"

· Mike I (not verified) · 5 years ago

After looking at the CARB site to see the actual rules for these green stickers, I'm really underwhelmed by the Volt.
At the very bottom of that page you can see the requirements:

"In order to be certified as an Enhanced AT PZEV, PHEVs and hydrogen ICE vehicles must:
- Meet California's most stringent tailpipe emission standard
- Have zero evaporative emissions
- Have a 15 yr/150K mile warranty on the emissions system and;
- Have a 10 yr/150K warranty on the zero emission energy storage system."

That's it. "Most stringent" is SULEV. There are MANY conventional ICE vehicles that meet that standard. There are also many that meet the PZEV requirements (SULEV + zero evaporative). Now that I think about it, why isn't the Volt ICE atkinson cycle or direct injection? Either of those would increase the efficiency and GDI would remove the premium fuel requirement.

It makes me wonder if Ford will step up and make their Energi models meet these four basic requirements.

One other note - It was amusing to me to scroll down that web page to see all the obscure and low volume CNG and BEV models from OEMs and converters that have been CARB certified over the years.

· Volt buyer in Cali (not verified) · 5 years ago

I will be ordering a Volt on Friday for one reason and one reason only. HOV access. I fit the profile of the average Volt buyer. It will be my 4th car. It will be less fuel efficient than many other cars I would otherwise buy because of my driving patterns. I will smile and wave at standard Prius owners riding with only a single passenger as I drive by alone in the 3 or more HOV lane.

It is not surprising that the carpool lanes in California are being managed like the Zil Lanes in Soviet Russia. Same political philosophy. Thank goodness the people who voted for crazy schemes like this can't actually afford to get a Volt and slow me down.

I am thinking of getting the personalized plate SUBSIDY for my Volt.

· · 5 years ago

@Volt buyer in Cali,
I think that "SUBSIDY" plate will be well deserved. You could go out and buy an $16,000 Hyundai that you believe gets the same mpg (I don't believe so - if you plug it in) to commute in. Instead, you're putting $40,000 into an American made vehicle that doesn't use very much foreign oil. This will help jumpstart America's PHEV industry and the infant automobile battery business so that they can eventually be priced low enough so all of your fellow citizens who voted for your carpool lane access can also afford these planet saving vehicles.
I humbly thank you for the $22,000 SUBSIDY you are giving to our great country. Its the least we can do to give you 3 years in the carpool lane for your generous contribution.
Please stick around this site and let us know how you like your Volt.

· · 5 years ago

Enjoy it while you can. The government is more interested in fattening up their bank accounts and pensions, than clean air, so everyone is being kicked out of the HOV lanes come Jan. 1, 2015 to make way for the Lexus Lanes. The ousting includes EV's and NGV's, not just hybrids.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

The Volt, Leaf, plug-in Prius, electric BMWs, electic Toyotas, etc. will rule the HOV lane! 2012 is the year the EV and EREV will rock the world. If you do not realize this then you are not paying attention!

The future rocks!

· Magicsteve (not verified) · 5 years ago

Full electrics receive White carpool stickers in California (unlimited). Green carpool stickers have been reserved for plug-in hybrids (40,000).

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

I've been driving Honda Civic GXs since 2002. I bought my 4th one a year ago. Not sure how much of the gasoline I didn't buy would have been OPEC's, but I suspect it's a lot. I do know that I've saved over $3,000 a year by refueling with natural gas at home. By the way, your all-electric vehicles run on power produced from the burning of fossil fuels almost exclusively, unless you are off the grid which of course most folks reading this are not. DRIVE A NATURAL GAS CAR, FILL IT AT HOME, AND CUT OUT THE MIDDLE MAN. Why would you pay the electric company to burn natural gas for you and convert it to electricity so you can charge up a toxic battery system that will only take you 73 miles on a 14-hour charge??? That doesn't seem efficient to me, and efficiency is the goal, isn't it.

· · 5 years ago

@Anonymous, To answer your question: Because it is more efficient to use that natural gas in a combined cycle power plant, even with electricity transmission losses, than it is to compress it and burn it in an ICE.

And that "toxic battery system" stuff is hokum. As is the "14 hour charge"—two the three hours is typical, and five to six hours from low to full, which is rarely needed. You might want to do your homework before slamming EVs in a plug-in cars forum.

· · 5 years ago

@Anonymous - Electricity is choice and electricity is everywhere. You are not limited to a single source of energy, but can use whatever the current electric mix is or make your own with solar.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

This is for darelldd from a few weeks ago who made a comment on "How much clean air do we need"...
I used to feel exactly the same way until I read "Hot, Flat and Crowded" by 2 time Pulitzer prize winner Thomas Friedman....Boy, if you take the time to read or get this book on cd/itunes you would be absolutely shocked at the accumulative effects of what we humans are doing to harm the planet.
Even if 1/10th of what he states is true it's cause for concern...

· · 5 years ago

Anonymous -

Welcome to planet earth. And thank you for becoming more informed. Not only is more than 1/10 of what Friedman claims true, but there are TONS of things he doesn't mention that are serious cause for concern. Keep reading!

· Anonymous (not verified) · 5 years ago

DPGColorado, you really are slinging the bull today, you expect people to believe that a natural gas power plant designed an built ten to thirty years ago (average age) plus energy transmission loss, (huge) is more efficient than a NEW internal combustion engine powered natural gas car, NOT EVEN CLOSE!!!
A natural gas car is the way to go unless you have solar on your house and surplus power over and above what's needed to run the house.
I think Colorado wants to be RIGHT, not correct, because his position is mathamaticly impossible.

· · 5 years ago

Sorry, you're wrong, dgpcolorado is exactly right.
A combined cycle natural gas plant (even 10 years old) is over 60% efficient (and I'm being conservative). The grid is about 90% efficient, EV charging is about 90% efficient, and the EV drivetrain is about 90% efficient.
The natural gas ICE is less than 20% efficient and that doesn't include extraction and transportation losses.
43% beats less than 20% any day with huge margin of error.

· · 5 years ago

Wow, seven weeks later my simple answer to a question from a fly-by anonymous post draws a response! Thanks for that detailed explanation ex-EV1 driver. In addition to the inherent inefficiencies of a natural gas ICE there is also the energy intensive step of running a home compressor.

As a scientist I tend to assume that the numbers are pretty obvious, but perhaps that's because they have been discussed here so often that I take knowledge of them for granted.

I do think that natural gas might be a workable interim solution to heavy transportation needs such as trucking, although trains are more efficient than trucks for long-haul applications. At least natural gas is a domestic resource, despite its many drawbacks. But more efficient than electric cars for light duty transportation? Hardly.

· · 5 years ago

More about the CNG versus EV stuff from a 2010 MIT symposium on "Electrification of the Transportation System":

"While both EVs and NGVs have significant infrastructure requirements, there are major differences in their relative efficiencies. An NGV does not have comparable efficiency gains relative to electrification via natural gas generation. In general, 1,000 cubic feet (cf) of natural gas, converted to electricity, yields 457 miles in an EV. This same 1,000 cf in an NGV would only have a range of around 224 miles." (page 24)

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