This is good news for Nissan, which plans to release the all-electric Nissan Leaf later this year. The fact that commuters driving a Leaf will be able to drive in California's 1,300 miles of HOV lanes will certainly be a selling point.
A separate California bill, SB 535, would allow plug-in hybrids such as a possible 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid and electric cars with range-extending gasoline engines (such as the 2011 Chevrolet Volt) to access the HOV lanes regardless of passengers. That bill has not yet passed.
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John Corcoran is an Associate with Plastiras & Terrizzi law firm in San Rafael, California (Marin County). He advises clients on various small business matters including clean tech and renewable energy, real estate, and general civil litigation. He may be reached at email@example.com or (415) 472-8100 x211.