BEV Losing Access to HOV Lanes
tl;dr. Ontario is removing HOV access to those with green vehicle plates, and that is a bad thing for EV adoption.
Traffic in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) sucks. Anyone who lives in the area knows it, and anyone unfortunate enough to have accidentally driven through the area during rush hour knows it. Driving between Oshawa and Markham takes me just under 40 minutes when there's no traffic. But during rush hour, this takes up to 80 minutes on a normal day. If there's a crash, snow, rain, sun glare, maintenance closure, construction, special event in the city, parade, protest, or holiday then that number can rise quite a bit. The longest drive I've had is 160 minute drive during a snow storm.
The point is, HOV lane access is much loved by all who've used it, and resented by all who haven't. There is a clear and strong interest for drivers to be in that lane. Ontario currently has a program allowing anyone with a green license plate to drive in the HOV lane with only one occupant instead of the normal two occupant minimum. These plates look like the one below and all start with "GV" for Green Vehicle as far as I know, despite the image on the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario's (MTO) website showing one that starts with "GR".
The current plan is to revoke this access on June 30, 2016 which was extended from the previous end date of July 1, 2015. I am hoping that MTO will extend this again, and for much longer. Of the people who are not in it for the environment, almost all of those considering electric vehicles are interested in access to the HOV lanes. This is a HUGE plus for the electric vehicle market. Of vehicles currently being sold, very few are plug-in and even fewer are BEVs. There is no reason from a traffic perspective that BEVs and PHEVs should not be allowed to use the HOV lane. Ontario has announced several initiatives to try to increase access to electric vehicles, but there are still several hurdles that these incentives don't address. Removing one will only delay EV adoption and make it harder for Ontario to meet it's unattainable goal of 1 in 20 vehicles on the province's roads being electric by 2020 set in 2009. In 2015 approximately 1,915 plug-ins were sold for a total of 5,297 EVs sold in the province. This, of course, does not take into account any vehicles which may have been taken off the road. Compare that to the 778,364 vehicles sold in the province or the total 7,497,141 vehicles registered in Ontario.
That means right now we're at 1 in 406 vehicles sold in 2015 were plug in and 1 in 1,415 on the road in Ontario are plug in.
We have a long way to go. Let's not make it any more difficult than it already is.