The acceptance of the Volts on these lanes will not come before 2012 however and the measure will, so far, limit to the roads in California. The move was made possible by the adoption of the bill which extends permits to travel in High Occupancy Vehicle lanes on electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles as well.
According to the bill signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, 40,000 such vehicles will receive the permits starting 2012. In the case of Volt's competitor, Nissan Leaf, the permits to use the fast lanes will be awarded as soon as the car becomes available.
In addition, the new bill extend access for 85,000 hybrids to the fast lanes. Their permits, which would normally have expired at the end of this year, will now be valid for an additional six months.
The bill was modified as an additional measure to help boost sales of eco-friendly vehicles in the state. This statement was made by one supporter of the bill, state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, who needed to clarify the fact that the piece of legislation is not intended to give one carmaker advantage over another.
"Even though the Volt won't immediately gain access, it should be a great additional benefit for owners," GM's spokesman Rob Peterson was quoted as saying by DetNews.