When most people think about the state of California, several things come to mind. Things like good weather, beaches, and traffic to name a few. California also has a significant problem with air pollution leading the state to have some of the country's most stringent requirements for zero emissions and low emissions vehicles.
Ford has announced that its plug-in hybrid Fusion Energi has been approved for use in California HOV lanes. To qualify to use the California HOV lanes, the vehicle has qualify for tax rebates through the California Clean Vehicle Rebate Program overseen by CARB. The Fusion Energi is eligible for $1500 in tax rebates through that program in addition to the $3750 federal tax rebate.
The Fusion Energi is the third Ford vehicle to qualify for those incentives. The California rebate program also stipulates that the vehicle has to offer at least 45 mpg on the highway and be certified as a super ultra-low emissions vehicle by the US EPA. Ford says that having access to the carpool lanes can reduce the time spent behind the wheel and emissions released into the atmosphere.
The Fusion Energi also has an electric only mode allowing the user to drive up to 21 miles without using gasoline. Buyers of these vehicles in California do have to have the HOV lane sticker applied. Presumably, the draw that having a vehicle such as this that can access the HOV lanes comes in the fact that you can do it without having passengers that would be required in a normal vehicle. Ford isn't clear on that aspect, so anyone who lives in California and is familiar with this rule let us know if that's accurate.