Ah, the ongoing joys of observing California legislators bestow economic advantages on companies that are marketing the green flavor du jour.
The state that brought you the ill-fated Electric Vehicle mandate that cost automakers billions upon billions of dollars developing what turned out to be non-saleable EVs is again intervening in the market for other alternative fuel vehicles that are now in favor.
Once again it is electric vehicles and some latter day variants that have caught the fancy of lawmakers.
The root problem here is that politicians keep trying to set design standards – favoring one type of technology over another – rather than performance standards, which simply set the goals desired and let companies fight for customers in the marketplace. This results in faster development times and economically feasible results– not that politicians care if anyone will buy the things they are mandating – just look at the whole sorry history of the previous California EV mandate of the 1990s.
In the latest example of this ongoing folly, the recently passed California Assembly Bill 1500 extends HOV lane access to “Inherently Low Emission Vehicles” (ILEV), which includes cars that are certified as zero emission and CNG vehicles. In addition, new HOV stickers will be available for those driving pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs, such as the Tesla Roadster.
California drivers of compressed natural gas (CNG) powered Civic GXs, and the “zero-emissions” FCX Clarity fuel cell electric vehicle will continue to have access to coveted High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) highway lanes until January 2015.