The first Chevy Volts tailored to meet California’s stringent emissions standards have just started arriving in the Golden State, and the state is rolling out the welcome mat. In addition to a $1,500 state rebate (which is on top of the federal $7,500 rebate), Volts with just a single driver will be allowed to use the carpool lanes on the state’s famously congested freeways. How big a deal is that? “Commuters who use the HOV carpool lanes in Southern California are estimated to save an average 36 minutes a day, or about a third of their total driving time,” according to a report in USA Today.
The Ford Focus Electric has also qualified for the high-occupancy vehicle lanes in California, as well as incentives totaling $2,500 off through the state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Program.
Why is this good news for Michigan? Both the Ford Focus Electric and the Chevrolet Volt are ‘Built by Michigan,’ assembled here in our region. And California is the state with the largest car market in the country, but one where domestic cars have long been a tough sell. So it looks like a combination of sound public policy out there, and innovation back here means Michigan comes out a winner. Now, if we could just get a few more of those Volts on the road here in Michigan. . .