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Electric-car proponents want access to HOV lanes

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – What would it take to get you into an electric car?

The Vancouver Electric Vehicle Association thinks policy changes might be enough for British Columbians to start shopping for that new zero-gas-guzzling car.

The association says fewer people have opted to buy an electric car in BC than it had hoped.

To that end, it’s proposing 11 strategies to try to reverse the trend.

For example, it wants the province to require new homes be wired with appropriate outlets.

It’s advocating transferable vehicle insurance, to allow electric-car owners, who most likely own a second car, to be able to transfer insurance to the other car.

It’s also in favour of electric cars having full access to HOV lanes.

“If you look back to the original purpose of HOV lanes, it was to reduce congestion and to reduce pollution. Electric cars don’t produce pollution,” says the association’s Don Chandler.

He says while Washington State is looking at providing free rides on ferries and tolled highways for EVs, he says the association made a point of looking at strategies that wouldn’t cost a lot of money for the province.

“You’re not losing money with HOV lanes. There are a number of different policies that could be considered. The ones we’ve recommended are ones that we think are the lowest cost with the biggest impact.”

And why have electric car sales in BC not met expectations?

Chandler says consumers here have few cars to choose from, since automakers send most of their products to places like California, where auto lots are required to sell a minimum number of electric cars.

He’s also looking for the province to re-instate the $5,000 rebate once offered to people buying electric cars. Electric vehicles cost significantly higher than their gas-consuming counterparts.

It’s also believed that electric car sales will lag as long as gas prices remain low.