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The 2012 Chevrolet Volt with a Low Emissions Package will be eligible to drive in the HOV lane  (Source: inhabitat.com)

GM's Tracking Solar Tree in Warren, Michigan  (Source: media.gm.com)
California 2012 Volt drivers with the Low Emissions Package can receive the rebate and HOV access in early 2012

General Motors Co. is making renewable energy a top priority with new ventures that include a Low Emissions Package for Chevrolet Volt drivers in California and a Tracking Solar Tree for EV charging in Michigan.

Californians who have purchased a 2012 Volt will be eligible for a Low Emissions Package starting early 2012. One perk associated with the package is access to California's High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) traffic lane, which allows drivers to bypass congested traffic by using this lane.

Originally, the HOV lane was only for vehicles with two or more people onboard. This was later changed to allow single occupancy use for those with a low-emissions vehicle. There are currently over 1,400 miles of HOV lanes in California.

"HOV lane access is a coveted perk in California," said Chris Perry, vice president of Global Chevrolet Marketing. "The low-emissions Volt will be a strong draw for drivers who commute daily in the most congested driving environments in the United States."

2012 Volt drivers with the Low Emissions Package can apply for one of the 40,000 available HOV lane stickers.

In addition to HOV lane stickers, California Volt drivers with the Low Emissions Package are eligible to receive $1,500 in state rebates via the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project. Volt drivers will also receive the $7,500 tax credit from the federal government.

But California isn't the only state receiving some clean perks. Michigan has a solar charging canopy called the Tracking Solar Tree, which moves with the sun and helps to charge GM's EVs.

The Tracking Solar Tree was built by Envision Solar in America, and consists of a hybrid multi-axis tracking design. This particular design allows the canopy to move with the sun, collecting more energy from sunlight throughout the day.

"We are constantly looking for places where we can add a renewable focus," said Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of renewable energy. "This solar tree is an ideal addition because not only does it provide a space to charge our electric vehicles, but it's another step in our journey toward cleaner energy use."

According to GM, the Tracking Solar Tree is able to increase renewable energy production by about 25 percent due to its movable parts. In addition, the tree will produce up to 30,000-kilowatt hours per year and generate enough solar energy to charge six EVs daily.

The Tracking Solar Tree is currently located at the GM Company Vehicle Operations in Warren, Michigan.

Sources: GM, GM



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not really...
By kattanna on 11/17/2011 11:26:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
"HOV lane access is a coveted perk in California,"


not really.. as most times you will have someone doing 55 in the lane and once in your stuck in it until the next exit as it is illegal to enter/exit the lane unless at designated places which is silly.

more often then not i can go faster in the slower lanes here in los angeles then i can in the "fast" lanes




RE: not really...
By Solandri on 11/17/2011 6:30:51 PM , Rating: 2
That's a "bug" in California's HOV lanes (called "carpool lanes" there). In most states, you can merge into and out of HOV lanes at any time. In California, someone had the bright idea of only allowing entry/exit for short stretches every few miles. This causes you to get stuck behind slow cars, and miss exits. I'm not sure what the benefit is supposed to be. Fortunately, they've been slowly fixing it and more and more carpool lanes are being switched to enter/exit any time you want.

The bigger issue has to do with the percentage of HOV lanes vs. percentage of carpooling drivers. If you have a 2-lane highway and add a HOV lane, 33% of the road capacity is reserved for carpoolers. But most of California's freeways are 4-lane, and adding a carpool lane means only 20% of the road capacity is reserved for carpoolers. If the percentage of cars with 2+ people exceeds 20%, the HOV lane is pretty useless as it can have just as much traffic as the regular lanes.

This is also the problem with granting HOV lane access to single drivers in eco-friendly vehicles. While it does encourage people to buy those vehicles, it further dilutes the usefulness of the lane. Now if just 20% of the cars have 2+ people or are HOV approved, the HOV lane is effectively useless.


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