Plug in. Charge up. Go!
Owners of electric vehicles (EVs) can get a boost to their travel times thanks to recent legislation allowing them to use High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) lanes in BC (regardless of the number of passengers being carried). HOV lanes were created to move more people in fewer vehicles, reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. HOV lanes are in place on several provincial highways and urban corridors in the Lower Mainland and Kelowna. Allowing EVs to use HOV lanes is a great step toward greener transportation and a great incentive to encourage more people to purchase electric vehicles today.
First, determine if your EV qualifies. There are many types of EVs out there, and not all of them are eligible. Once you’ve confirmed your vehicle qualifies, you can apply for a decal and a permit. If you are looking for more information on EVs, like incentives, frequently asked questions, charging guidelines or benefits, our friends at BC Hydro, and Clean Energy Vehicles for BC have great resources you should check out.
EV/HOV FAQs Answered:
Why are we allowing single occupant electric vehicles to use HOV lanes?
What is an eligible electric vehicle under this program?
Are conventional hybrid electric (gas-hybrid) vehicles eligible?
Why are conventional hybrid electric (gas-hybrid) vehicles not eligible?
I live outside of B.C. (e.g in Washington) but frequently visit B.C. with my electric vehicle. Am I eligible to apply for this program?
How can I get a decal for my electric vehicle?
Is there a charge to participate in the program and obtain a decal?
Why is an electric vehicle HOV OK decal required?
How long does it take to receive a decal once an application has been submitted?
I have applied for my decal but have not received it yet. Can I start driving in the HOV lanes without it?
Where do I place the decal on my vehicle?
My decal was damaged. How do I get a new one?
What happens to the EV HOV decal if I sell my electric vehicle or return it from lease?
Where can I drive my electric vehicle with a decal?
Can I drive in a bus lane or vanpool lane with my EV HOV decal?
Can electric vehicles with a decal access every HOV lane in the province?
Can I drive on HOV lanes in a municipality?
Where are all of the HOV lanes located in B.C.?
What other vehicles are exempt from the occupancy requirements for an HOV lane?
Are there plans for more HOV lanes in B.C.?
What will happen if too many electric vehicles use the HOV lane?
What are the different types of electric vehicles (EVs)?
Are there any other incentives in B.C. for electric vehicle drivers?
- Why are we allowing single occupant electric vehicles to use HOV lanes?
Allowing electric vehicles in lanes reserved for high occupancy vehicles promotes the adoption of clean energy vehicles and supports B.C.’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- What is an eligible electric vehicle under this program?
- Electric vehicles that can be charged from an external electric charging station are eligible for the program.
- Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are also eligible.
- An eligible vehicle list may be found here: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/driving-and-transportation/driving/hov/-pdfs/hov-eligible-vehicles.pdf
- For an electric vehicle to be eligible to operate in a HOV lane, the vehicle must display a decal issued by the ministry.
- Are conventional hybrid electric (gas-hybrid) vehicles eligible?
No. Gas-hybrid vehicles that use the vehicle’s engine to charge the battery and do not plug in to an external outlet are not eligible for the program.
- Why are conventional hybrid electric (gas-hybrid) vehicles not eligible?
Gas-hybrid vehicles offer a more fuel-efficient technology than pure gas vehicles but still produce more emissions than an electric vehicle. In addition, due to the high number of gas-hybrid vehicles in the province including them in the program could result in too many vehicles using HOV lanes, which will decrease their effectiveness.
- I live outside of B.C. (e.g in Washington) but frequently visit B.C. with my electric vehicle. Am I eligible to apply for this program?
Yes. Out-of-province vehicles are eligible for the program. The vehicle must be on the eligible vehicle list and a copy of the vehicle registration must be provided with the application.
- How can I get a decal for my electric vehicle?
- Decals will be issued to eligible electric vehicle owners through an application process. Details on the application process can be found here.
- Drivers can apply online with their registration number and Vehicle Registration Number (VIN), which checks eligibility using the ICBC database. The registration number and VIN can be found on your ICBC vehicle registration form.
- Is there a charge to participate in the program and obtain a decal?
- Why is an electric vehicle HOV OK decal required?
- Many electric vehicles are hard to distinguish from gas vehicles as manufacturers use similar body frames for both types of vehicles.
- The decal helps police and other drivers identify vehicles that are in the program. This assists police in enforcing HOV lane use.
- How long does it take to receive a decal once an application has been submitted?
Please allow up to four weeks for processing once your completed application (including vehicle registration) has been received.
- I have applied for my decal but have not received it yet. Can I start driving in the HOV lanes without it?
If you do not have a decal on your vehicle than you are unable to use the HOV lane and if pulled over by a police officer, you risk getting a ticket.
- Where do I place the decal on my vehicle?
The decal must be displayed from the rear bumper or rear window of your vehicle and needs to be visible to other drivers and law enforcement.
- My decal was damaged. How do I get a new one?
Apply for another decal on our automated application system on the EV HOV Program website. If you are already registered for a decal in the system, the system will prompt you for a reason for a replacement decal.
- What happens to the EV HOV decal if I sell my electric vehicle or return it from lease?
The EV HOV decal stays with the vehicle. If you sell or return a leased electric vehicle with the decal, the decal may remain with the vehicle and the new owner can use the vehicle with the decal, without requiring a new application. If the former owner obtains a new electric vehicle, they are required to submit a new application for an EV HOV decal.
- Where can I drive my electric vehicle with a decal?
You can drive your electric vehicle (with decal) in HOV lanes. Click on graphic below for additional information on HOV lane symbols and what they mean.
- Can I drive in a bus lane or vanpool lane with my EV HOV decal?
There are two types of reserved lanes in B.C. – HOV lanes and bus lanes. EVs with a decal may only drive in HOV lanes. Bus lanes are reserved for buses only. Therefore, EVs with decals cannot drive in bus lanes. A vanpool lane is a type of bus lane. EVs with decals cannot drive in vanpool lanes without meeting the posted minimum occupancy requirement. *Municipal exceptions may apply. See your municipal website for more information.
- Can electric vehicles with a decal access every HOV lane in the province?
Yes. EVs with a decal can drive in all HOV lanes in B.C. without meeting passenger number requirements (but not bus or vanpool lanes), unless a sign is posted indicating otherwise.
- Can I drive on HOV lanes in a municipality?
Yes. You can drive in HOV lanes on municipal roads, unless there is a sign indicating otherwise.
- Where are all of the HOV lanes located in B.C.?
A map of provincial (ministry-operated) HOV lanes is available under the Benefits tab here. There may be additional HOV lanes under the jurisdiction of municipalities. Please contact the individual municipality for more information on their HOV lanes.
- What other vehicles are exempt from the occupancy requirements for an HOV lane?
Other types of vehicles that do not have to meet the occupancy requirements include.
- emergency vehicles;
- marked vehicles that are aiding a disabled vehicle in the HOV lane;
- peace officers while on duty;
- HandyDART vehicles; and
- blood services vehicles, when transporting blood.
- Are there plans for more HOV lanes in B.C.?
Whenever we upgrade or construct a new highway, the Province considers the best way to move vehicles and this includes research, analysis and possible addition of HOV lanes.
- What will happen if too many electric vehicles use the HOV lane?
- The ministry will continue to monitor HOV lane traffic volumes. If a lane becomes congested, and the level of service decreases, the ministry could consider prohibiting use of the lane by electric vehicles, and post a sign indicating as such.
- This can be done on a case by case or a highway by highway basis.
- What are the different types of electric vehicles (EVs)?
- Battery electric vehicles (BEVs): These vehicles have an electric motor and are powered exclusively by electricity, unlike a hybrid car, which is fueled by gasoline and uses a battery and motor to improve efficiency. They plug-in to charge and produce zero tailpipe emissions. A Nissan Leaf is an example of a battery electric vehicle.
- Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV): These vehicles have both an electric motor and internal combustion engine (for back-up/complimentary power). An extended range electric vehicle (EREV) is a type of PHEV. As with driving a conventional vehicle, air pollutants and greenhouse gas emissions are produced when PHEV is running on gasoline. However, zero emissions are produced when PHEV is running in electric mode. These vehicles plug-in to recharge. A Chevrolet Volt is an example of a plug-in hybrid.
- Fuel-cell vehicle (FCV): Unlike a battery that stores and releases energy, this type of vehicle generates electricity from hydrogen and oxygen. FCVs fill up with hydrogen in a similar manner as a gas pump and emit only water vapour.A Hyundai Tuscon FCV is an example of a fuel cell vehicle.
- Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs): Also called “conventional hybrids.” Although this type of EV is similar to BEV and PHEV (has two types of energy storage units – electricity and fuel), the energy comes entirely from gasoline and regenerative braking. The main function of the electric motor component is to increase efficiency of the combustion engine; HEVs cannot be plugged in to be recharged. HEVs also produce emissions at all times. Compared to traditional non-hybrid gasoline powered vehicles, HEVs produce fewer emissions due to improved efficiency of the electric motor. A Toyota Prius is an example of a conventional hybrid vehicle. Hybrid vehicles are not eligible for the EV decal program.
Energy, consumption, and emissions from different vehicle types
- Are there any other incentives in B.C. for electric vehicle drivers?
The Province of B.C. has an incentive program that offers purchase rebates for battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. See: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/electricity-alternative-energy/transportation-energies/clean-transportation-policies-programs/clean-energy-vehicle-program/cev-for-bc.
You can also contact the EV HOV Program, folks directly:
Telephone: 778 974-5470
Fax: 250 356-0897
Mailing Address: PO Box 9850 STN PROV GOVT Victoria BC V8W 9T5
Happy (and greener) trails!
Do you have a question about this or any other transportation topic? Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments below and we will be happy to help.
Page 1 of 120 comments on “How You (and your EV) Can Get Moving in BC”
Burnaby currently has two areas of high density apartment dwellers. We will need hundreds or thousands of charging stations in this one city. Tell us the specific date you will be announcing the program to install all these charging stations in Burnaby.
Thanks for connecting with us here. We work in collaboration with local municipalities and utilities companies to deliver charging stations on BC highways. Unfortunately, you will need to reach out directly to the City of Burnaby as they would be responsible for this sort of infrastructure in their municipality.
I have emailed or left message for almost 3weeks, still no response. Can someone help me?
Thanks for your message. Did you email this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org?
yes long time ago. I’m going to send again may you please help me? Thank you
Your best bet is to send a follow up email to that email address as it will go directly to the folks responsible for the program. Thanks!
I had applied for the decal but recently changed license plate. The insurance broker said I don’t need to reapply for the decal since it is tied to the VIN, but I don’t see that in the FAQ. Could you please clarify whether I need to reapply?
Hi Meg – thanks for connecting with us here. Please send your question directly to the EV in HOV Lanes program at email@example.com
The administrator can see what the issue is and respond directly. We hope that this is helpful! Thanks!
iI am trying to register my vehicle, as it is on the approved list, but in the application portion it shows that my vehicle is not eligible. It is a 2021 jeep Sahara.
If you have attempted to apply on our site and have received an error message of some sort, there are three possible reasons why this might have happened:
– If you have just purchased your vehicle and registered it with ICBC. It can take up to 10 days for all systems to be updated with your information.
– If ICBC made an error on your vehicle registration form and put “Gasoline” as the fuel type, instead of “Gasoline-Electric” or “Electric” than this would prevent you from being able to apply yourself.
– Information was entered incorrectly
If none of these are the case, then we suggest sending a copy of your vehicle registration form – found on your ICBC Owner’s Certificate of Insurance and Vehicle License to firstname.lastname@example.org (they require a full-page picture)
Once they have this, they will submit an application on your behalf. Hope that this is helpful.
“15. Can I drive in a bus lane or vanpool lane with my EV HOV decal?
“There are two types of reserved lanes in B.C. – HOV lanes and bus lanes. EVs with a decal may only drive in HOV lanes. Bus lanes are reserved for buses only. Therefore, EVs with decals cannot drive in bus lanes. A vanpool lane is a type of bus lane. EVs with decals cannot drive in vanpool lanes without meeting the posted minimum occupancy requirement.”
This paragraph is correct in some municipalities and not correct in others. One way to make it more accurate (less misleading) would be to add the following: “Municipal exceptions may apply. See your municipal website for more information.” (Example: Burnaby allows EVs in the Willingdon bus lanes—OK / Decal Required signs are posted there and “Bus Lane” is clearly visible on the roadway. More example from other places can be found in the comments here).
Updated with your suggested note, Richard. Thank you for this.
Why are HOV lanes allowing Electric vehicles with 1 driver. I understand the incentive for people to drive electric cars. I am for electric cars, but it does not make sense that the HOV lanes are getting more traffic and moving less people. Unfortunately there are gas powered cars also sitting in traffic with 2+ persons in a car. Is the HOV lane for the wealthy? I suggest you take another look at this policy. Drive Hwy 1 and count the electric cars driving in the HOV lane with one driver.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes move more people in fewer vehicles than normal lanes, which reduces congestion and greenhouse gas emissions for everyone. Passenger vehicles and buses may use HOV lanes if they are carrying the number of persons specified on the highway sign for the lane. Signs indicate usually 2 or 3 people or more. In your example, if that gas powered car was sitting in traffic and the highway sign said “2 or more people” could use the HOV lane, then they absolutely can move to that lane.
Electrical vehicles also support the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and are given the benefit of using the HOV lanes. As more people purchase EV vehicles and use the HOV lane, the ministry will continue to monitor and assess.
I agree, Paddy! Or check the Massey tunnel during rush hour. My hybrid runs at 4.3 L/100km which is pretty much the same as a motorcycle (which IS allowed in the HOV lanes), and yet I have at least an additional 45 minutes tacked on to my evening commute everyday, sitting in stop and go traffic, simply because I’m a teacher and don’t make enough money to be able to afford an electric car. This incentive is sadly only for the wealthy. Not cool, BC.
What is the best way to take off the OK decal from your car without damaging the paint?
Hi Ty. We aren’t experts on removing decals, but searching online reveals several tips, tricks and adhesive removal products.
I would be great if you came up with an EV license plate. You could charge extra for these. We wouldn’t need to clutter our vehicles with decals and the plates would be visible from both the front and the rear of the vehicle. ICBC could ensure that the EV plates could not be purchased nor transferred to a non-eligible vehicle.
Hi there Eric – thanks for connecting with us here. We have shared your feedback directly with the program staff for their consideration. Thank you!
HOv lanes are stupid and result in unsafe conditions.
Hi Chris – we are sorry to hear you feel that way. Is there a particular HOV lane you are concerned with? What sort of unsafe conditions are you concerned about there?
This whole display a sticker is useless and a waste of time and resources. I went to submit the application, the website responded with “the server timed out please try again”, after retrying it said “there is already an application with the registration”, but I’ve gotten no confirmation that I’ve submitted the application. What a useless program this is.
Hello Travis – thanks for connecting with us here. We are sorry to hear your frustration. We reached out to our EV staff and they asked me to communicate to you the contact information for any issues you might be encountering. You can call or email with any issues you are having. We hope that this is helpful.
Electric Vehicles in HOV Lanes Program
Hi there. Trying to get ok decal. Once I put all my details in there is a place to upload registration document. What upload document are you requiring.
Please help. Thanks
Hi there Bran – thanks for your question. We assume this means your insurance registration document, but you might want to email the folks at the EV branch just to be sure. Here’s their email: EVHOV@gov.bc.ca
Hope that this is helpful.
This decal and associated registration should be handled by the car dealer (paying provincial sales tax) or ICBC agent (registration and insurance) at the same time the vehicle is sold or registered. Both of these process involves giving owner and vehicle info such VIN to the provincial government.
No need for an additional process here.
Thanks for your message King – we will share it with our staff in the EV program area for their consideration. Safe travels.
I just purchased a Kia Niro PHEV and wanted to know if it can be used in the HOV lane at the bottom of Nordel way. The sign shows a BUS sign, A 6 passenger sign and also has Motorcycles OK sign with the diamond sign. I have called BC roads and have been told they are on clear of this location. I have spoken to Officers both in Delta and Vancouver which also say they are not clear on this location as it is not clear signage. I looked up on the internet and it states – EV’s displaying an official decal are allowed in provincial and municipal hwy high occupancy lanes (HOV) in BC regardless of the number of passengers in the car, UNLESS A SIGN IS POSTED INDICATING OTHERWISE. Which tells me I should be able to use this lane with my PHEV? but it also not clear as this area does have motorcycle ok which usually means EV’s are ok it doesn’t clearly state that EV’s are ok? It seems that no one really as the answer to this location. Can you clarify it for me please or point me into the right direction to get a proper more clear answer. I have seen cars be pulled over using this lane but I’m unclear if it’s because they are not a Ev car or if you can not use it?
any clarity would be appreciated
Hi Stan – thanks for connecting with us here. We have sent your question to our EV/HOV program area staff and will let you know what we hear back. Stay tuned.
Good morning Stan –
The diamond symbol indicates that the lane is reserved for a specific type of vehicle. The type of vehicle allowed in the reserved lane will be indicated by additional signage. In this case, since there is a diamond, it is reserved – except for the bus, carpool van and motorcycle.
If it is not reserved, then you can drive with your ok decal even when there is only one person in the car.
Hope that this information is helpful!
We just bought at 2020 Nissan Leaf. We entered our registration number and VIN on March 14, 2020 and it said the vehicle wasn’t eligible. We entered the information in multiple times with no errors. Still the same rejection message. Our car is 100% electric. Is is not eligible or is there a system error?
Hi there Paul – thanks for your question. We have sent your comment to our EV area staff and will let you know what we hear back.
We need ev license plates and not the Ok Decal. Please and thank you!
Thanks for your message Katie – we will share it with the EV program group for their consideration.
I would much rather NOT have a decal on my car. Everyone knows a Tesla is fully electric, so why do I need a decal?
Absolutely agree! Can’t fake a plate as easily as one can fake a sticker.
Do you get a confirmation when you apply for hov decal?
how long are the wait time to get the decal?
Hi there Pepito,
Please allow three to six weeks for processing once your complete application (including vehicle registration) has been received. If you would like to confirm that your application has been received, please contact:
Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure
Climate Action Program Policy Analyst
PO Box 9850 STN PROV GOVT
Victoria BC V8W 9T5
I am curious as to why the E OK sticker is afixed to the rear of the vehicle. The premise behind this sticker is to allow law enforcement to identify EV’s. If there is enforcement sitting on the shoulder checking vehicles, this person will NOT see the sticker until they pull the car over and check the rear bumper. Doesnt this defeat the purpose of an expedited travel lane?
PS. I would prefer not to put a “sticker” on my brand new vehicle, let alone put it on the front bumper.. was just curious to the rationale.
Hi there Dave – we are looking into an answer for you on this – stay tuned!
Hello again Dave,
Our apologies for the delay in getting this response for you. When the program was developed, we consulted with law enforcement on the location of the decal. From a law enforcement perspective, we were advised that it makes sense to affix the decal on the back of the vehicle. The officer will first note if there is only one driver in the car in the HOV lane, then the officer will look at the back of the passing vehicle to see if there is a decal. We hope that this helps.
Am wondering if there was a time when one person could be in the HOV lane on the weekends. Can you please let me know where I might have gotten this idea.
We are looking into this for you. Stay tuned.
Hello again Lorraine!
It looks like operation hours for HOV Lanes in Kelowna is 7 AM to 7 PM Mon-Fri, which means outside of these times (including weekends) all vehicles are permitted to use these lanes:
It looks like vehicles were able to use HOV Lanes on the weekends back in February 2012, between the Grandview Highway in Burnaby and Port Mann Bridge on Highway 1, but it returned to being a 24 hour HOV Lane on August 1st, 2015.
HOV Lanes open on weekends: https://www.bctrucking.com/bulletin/2012/02/02/port-mannhwy-1-hov-lanes-open-all-vehicles-weekends
HOV Lanes back to 24 hours a day: https://www.tricitynews.com/news/hov-restrictions-will-be-24-7-starting-aug-1-1.2017265
Hopefully this helps!
The bumper of my car was damaged in a rear end accident, unfortunately my decal was on the bumper. How do I get a decal replacement?
Hi Juan. FAQ answer #12 reads: Contact the EV HOV Program office. You will be asked to explain your situation and to provide your application information and mailing address. Once your information is confirmed, a replacement decal will be mailed to you.
Mailing Address:PO Box 9850 STN PROV GOVT Victoria BC V8W 9T5
I agree with Chris Baxter about these big ugly decals. In US states like California, they have a much smaller and nicely styled decals to indicate clean air status called a CAV decal which gives you HOV lane privileges. You would think the program would have consulted other jurisdictions. I support clean air reduction and want to do my part to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels but do you really expect me to stick on this big ugly decal on the trunk of my new BEV?
My vehicle is owned by the company I work for and they reside outside of B.C. When I am filling out the registration form for the sticker, do I need to put the company information as they own the vehicle or my information as I reside in B.C.? My company is listed on the ownership. If I put my company address on the registration form, will the sticker be sent to them and not me?
Thank you for your questions about electrical vehicle registration and stickers.
When you apply for an Electric Vehicle in High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes (EV in HOV Lanes) decal, the name of the business goes in “B. Application Information-Business”. The name of the person who is requesting the decal (an admin person at the business, usually) goes in the “Contact Name” section of B. In your email to the EV in HOV Lanes program, you can request that the decal be mailed to a home address instead of the address on the form.
This is baloney. Theres hardly anyone in th hov lane anyway. They should make more exceptions or get rid of hov lanes entirely. If these lanes were allowed to be used more effectively, traffic would build up so much.My hybrid pickup should be allowed to get one of these stickers. Who cares if the engine charges the battery. Alot of the engery people use to charge their E.V.s affects the envirement much more harshly than what comes out of my pickups tailpipe.
Just bought an EV today… I can’t believe how much bureaucracy is required for what should be a simple transaction. Here is how a capitalist business owner would deal with this:
When registering and receiving plates, the plates are “green” plates, just like other jurisdictions (Ontario, Quebec…). Nobody wants to put an ugly sticker on their brand new car AND wait 6 weeks for that privilege (after filling out yet more forms).
At the very least, the sticker should be available at the dealership with car pick-up. The dealer can claim the CEV credit for us, why can’t they also provide the sticker.
The sticker should also be small enough to fit on the plates… we have tiny stickers for date and year of insurance validity, so we have a precedent for small stickers already…
Hi Chris and thanks for your comments. We have sent your message to the EV folks for review. I believe that the EV stickers are made larger to help with visual identification of allowed vehicles vs. vehicles which are using the lanes illegally.
Thanks for your feedback, Chris. We’ve passed along your comments to our transportation branch responsible. We are always reviewing our processes and looking to improve and we’ll continue to do so for this. Again, we really appreciate your specific comments. It always helps.
It seems like an unnecessary level of bureaucracy has been created….. Would it not be easier for the ICBC approved Insurance agents to issue these decals when they issue the licence plates? The agents would check the list of approved vehicles and place the decal on the vehicle immediately versus having to complete a form and wait 3-6 weeks, thereby expediting the process for everyone.
Thanks for your suggestion Sharon! We have shared your comment forward for consideration. There are a number of complexities to consider to ensure smooth and fair program delivery however, we are continuously exploring ways to make the EV HOV decal program more efficient, including looking at options to work with partners. Thanks again!
Iv noticed that on Grandville south of 12th we now have a Bus and bicycling Lane and in one day it has doubled the congestion as the majority understand its bus and bicycle only but with what’s wrong with making it HOV ? The same with the one towards the tunnel what a waste while people line up spuing extra pollutants while instead of flowing and getting to their destination sooner
Good morning Rory – thanks for your comment. If you have concerns about this section, we encourage you to reach out directly to the City of Vancouver. Here is their contact info:
I am looking to purchase a vehicle that currently is on the HOV approaved list. (2013 Ford C-Max) as the list of approaved vehicles is updated will older vehicles be dropped from the list. If I already have a sticker and the vehicle is dropped from the list can I still use the ec sticker?
Hi Cam – great question – we have sent to our EV/HOV expert for review. Stay tuned.
Hi again Cam,
Here’s what we heard back:
To date, no vehicles have been dropped from the EV HOV eligibility list. As long as the vehicle is eligible and has a valid decal displayed, it can drive in the HOV lane regardless of passenger count (unless a sign is posted otherwise).
Thanks for connecting with us here!
How do I get EV plates (as opposed to the decal)?
Unfortunately, B.C. does not currently have EV plates. In order to access benefits from an EV decal, including driving in HOV lanes without meeting passenger requirements, drivers must have a valid decal displayed on their vehicle.
Its long overdue to allow EVs with a decal to use the Bus labeled lanes on either side of the Lions Gate bridge.
Why can’t TranBC work with the City of Vancouver to include Northbound Georgia Street into Stanley Park and West Vancouver to include Marine Drive between 11th Street eastbound through the Park Royal stretch and Capilano Road Westbound to the Lions Gate Bridge? These Bus lanes are empty most of the time and allowing Electric vehicles will not increase bus travel times in either direction.
Allowing EVs to use Bus lanes in these two “Green” Municipalities is a smart transportation decision and a great incentive to encourage more people to purchase electric vehicles.
Hi Scott and thank you for your comment. Approaches to Lions Gate are Bus Lane only – not HOV lanes. Permitting EVs to use Bus/queue jumper lane would mean more vehicles in the reserved lanes and thereby increases in bus travel times and delays. We hope that this makes sense. We encourage you to connect with the City of Vancouver directly at http://vancouver.ca/
Hi. For the available HOV lanes for EVs, it only shows hwy 17 to 17A on northbound Hwy99. Is the HOV lanes between 17A and Messey tunnel also okay to drive with EEv decal? Thabk you.
Yes, drivers with the EV decal can use the HOV lane on Hwy 99 northbound between Hwy 17A and the Massey Tunnel.
Sorry if this has been asked already. Can EVs use HOVs on the Barnett Highway?
The HOV lane on the Barnet is under the jurisdiction of the Cities of Port Moody and Burnaby. Please connect directly with them to confirm that they will allow EV travel in this lane. Here’s a list of provincial HOV /EV lanes for EV use.
Highway 1 – westbound from east of 202 Street to Gilmore Way overpass
Highway 1 – eastbound from Gilmore Way overpass to 208 Street overpass
Highway 7 – westbound only east of Golden Ears Way to east of Old Dewdney Trunk Road
Highway 17A – northbound only Ladner Trunk Road to Highway 99
Highway 97 – northbound Pandosy Street to Highway 33
Highway 97 – southbound Highway 33 to Pandosy Street
Highway 99 – northbound south of Highway 17 to north of Highway 17A
Highway 99 – southbound south of Westminster Highway to north of Steveston Highway
What about enforcement? I saw in the FAQ that if the lanes become too congested the program could stop and we could lose our access to these lanes, access we’ve spent a tremendous amount of money for.
I have a long commute daily into Vancouver via the HOV lane and I see, many, MANY vehicles in there that shouldn’t be in there every single day. As long as you don’t take an HOV only exit you can use the lanes daily with little or no risk.
It would be nice if there was more or improved enforcement (cameras, or better patrols etc.) so the freeloaders who are in there don’t mess it up for the rest of us who paid for the privilege. Thanks!
Thanks for connecting with us here to share your concern. The goal of the program is to encourage people to travel in environmentally friendly ways, such as using electric cars. The perhaps understated end goal of HOV lane use and EVs is to have the majority of travel done in an environmental way, thereby eliminating the need for the special HOV lanes. Unfortunately, while we are responsible for the regulation, we aren’t responsible for the enforcement of the regulation. Depending on which HOV you are using (provincial/RCMP or municipal/police) would dictate the local authority responsible for enforcing the rule. Local authorities are aware of the issue and try to monitor and enforce illegal use of these lanes whenever they can.
Hello, was looking for clarification on whether I could use the HOV lane on Hastings and based on what I see here it appears that my E-OK approved vehicle is not allowed in this lane. That said, it would be great if TranBC work with the CIty of Vancouver to have E-OK approved vehicles allowed in this lane.
Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, the City of Vancouver is wholly responsible for which vehicles they deem acceptable to use the HOV lanes within their jurisdiction. Here is their contact information, if you would like to share this feedback with them as well, we are sure they would welcome it!
Can an EV use the HOV lane before they receive the sticker? If they get stopped then the officer would just check the vehicle is on their database and allow them to move on? Or would the driver get the fine? Asking because I’m buying an EV this week and I drive from Vancouver to Langley every day and I can’t bear the thought of waiting 6 weeks for my sticker before using the HOV lane.
We have good and bad news for you. We spoke with the program area folks who informed us that you have to wait for your sticker, but they told us that the processing times right now are generally much less than six weeks, so it should be less of a wait once you apply. Hope that this helps.
Thank you for the fast response. Let’s hope the sticker comes quick!
Sending in the application as we speak. Will report back when I receive the sticker as a reference for others.
Sent in the application Friday Nov 3, got the decal Tuesday Nov 7. Well done guys.
Nice! Have fun in your new car Matt. 🙂
Are vehicles with the decal allowed in HOV lanes that state for bicycles and buses only? Are we allowed to drive in the HOV lane off McGill street and renfrew heading west towards highway 1? I Recently had a road rage incident where someone tried to drive me out of the HOV lane. If we’re allowed to drive here, I suggest putting up signs indicating that those driving with decal are okay to use HOV lane. People are not aware of this and this makes driving in HOV lanes super uncomfortable and stressful.
If an HOV lane indicates bus and bicycle it is bus lane specifically which means that HOVs, including EVs are not allowed. McGill and Renfrew belong to the municipality of Vancouver and we encourage you to connect with them regarding EV use of these lanes.
We have shared your concern with our HOV/EV program area and they confirmed that they are working on making allowable vehicles more clear via signage etc.
Hope that this helps.
Hi, I clicked on this link below in the FAQs section to find more info re the incentive and can’t find, can you advise please?
The B.C. government has an incentive program that offers up to $5,000 for battery electric or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Thanks for letting us know. Here’s the link to more information: https://www.bchydro.com/powersmart/electric-vehicles/owning-an-electric-vehicle/rebates-and-incentives.html and we will update the link in the blog with this as well. Let us know if you have any other questions.
We asked the local area manager who informed us that The RCMP used to put a sticker on the driver side mirror indicating it was cleared for towing. It also confirmed with us that it had been sitting for longer than 72 hours, thus allowing us to act.
However, somebody complained about the sticker and so it was replaced with a glass wax pencil. That lasted a very short time.
He has not seen them mark a vehicle as abandoned for quite some time and believes they discontinued the practice. However, he did confirm that they do put All Clear tape on a vehicle that has been inspected so they don’t continue to receive calls about a vehicle off the road.
Hope that this helps!
The Port Mann Bridge offers a discount to high occupancy vehicles travelling in the HOV lane. Will registered EV cars with only one passenger also be able to receive this discount?
If you purchase a vehicle that is eligible for the Electric Vehicles in HOV Lanes program, and receive a decal allowing you to travel in HOV lanes, you would be eligible for the Port Mann Bridge HOV lane discounts. Hope that this helps!
I am totally confused and let down by the lack of approval for “converted” electric cars to be allowed to use HOV lanes. The folks who drive converted electric cars (IE 100% Battery or BEV) are the original pioneers of this green effort, desiring to eliminate CO spewing cars from the road long before the major manufacturers took notice. The owners of these cars, myself included, went to enormous brute force effort to do these conversions, and are more conscientious and promoting as to the benefits of this technology. Some proudly emblazoning their vehicles with giant “ELECTRIC POWERED” logos and such, and sometimes even painting them green. What better promotion for the Government and fledging EV industry to have such a vehicle zipping past polluting cars in the HOV lane ?
I believe the BC government should allow HOV lane applications for converted vehicles – as long as the vehicle registration fuel code indicates an “E” for electric shouldn’t that be enough ?
Even though the web site states its about reward EV drivers for their sustainable Eco practices, in this case its more like a punishment.
I look forward to hearing back about this. Thanks for your assistance !
Thanks for connecting with us here. We have sent your question forward to the program manager for review and hope to have a response for you very soon. Stay tuned!
At this time, the electric vehicle in HOV lanes designation is available to the same vehicles that are on the Clean Energy Vehicle Program list (https://www.cevforbc.ca/eligible-cevforbc%E2%84%A2-vehicles). As you note, these are all original equipment manufacturer electric vehicles, and do not include conversions. While we recognize the pioneering efforts of those who have converted vehicles to electric, it is challenging to verify that conversions are maintained to be electric throughout the vehicle’s registered life. However, your comment will be considered as we move forward with the electric vehicles in HOV lanes program.
Why aren’t gas-hybrids cars (not trucks/SUVs) allowed in HOV lane with decal? Government pushes people to purchase them but restricts them ! It’s like wear your seat belt it saves lives ! But make a killing on taxes by selling cigarettes ! Double standard ??
Hi Ken. The blog explains that gas-hybrids offer a more fuel-efficient technology than pure gas vehicles, but due to the high number of gas-hybrid vehicles currently registered in the province, our analysis indicates that allowing them to use HOV lanes would have a negative impact on the HOV lane’s level of service.
I was pulled over by police on Hastings street. I was heading west in the HOV lane and was just two blocks into Vancouver. This is not a bus lane but is an HOV lane. They said my EV was not allowed in this HOV lane. The police guy told me that there are two kinds of HOV lanes; provincial and municipal. he said I was not allowed on municipal HOV lanes, only provincial like Highway One. he let me off with a warning thankfully, but it was a shock as I never knew this. I’m still not sure I believe it. Is it true?
Hi Steven. For those HOV lanes under the jurisdiction of a municipality, the local government will determine if electric vehicles can use the lanes. If not authorized, a sign will be posted.
Hastings street restricted lane is for Bus/Cycle only. Diamond does not equal HOV, this does not appear to be an HOV lane. Unlike Willingdon Ave which is Bus/6+/Cycle (which is referred to as HOV on several signs)
can somebody clarify is Willingdon Ave. allowed for EV or not.
As posted above:
“Willingdon Ave which is Bus/6+/Cycle (which is referred to as HOV on several signs)”. I read this that is allowed, but police still ticket if you drive in it.
Is there any website from Burnaby that clearly define this case?
Hi Vladimir, you might want to connect with the City of Burnaby directly on this. Here’s their EV page with contact info: https://www.burnaby.ca/City-Services/Policies–Projects—Initiatives/Environment/Environmental-Sustainability-Strategy/ESS-and-CEEP-In-Action/Electric-Vehicles-in-Burnaby.html
Are EVs with the decal allowed to use the HOV labeled lanes on either side of the Lions Gate bridge?
There are two types of High Capacity Vehicle Lanes in BC: HOV Lanes and Bus Lanes. A person driving an electric vehicle that does not meet the passenger number requirements but displays an official “EV OK” decal is permitted to use HOV Lanes. They are not permitted to use Bus Only Lanes. It is important that EV drivers examine the signs closely to ensure they are using HOV Lanes and not Bus Lanes. Hope that this helps.
I can understand allowing EVs access to HOV lanes, but don’t quite understand the rationale in allowing Hybrid vehicles access, given that they still burn hydrocarbons. But let’s leave that aside for now.
Reviewing your rationale for allowing these types of vehicles on HOV lanes regardless of number of passengers, I’m wondering why motorcycles are allowed on some bus HOV lanes…more specifically, the north end of the Lions Gate bridge? Can you explain your rationale? They burn hydrocarbons and while it may be less than a not hybrid or EV vehicle, they still take up a car length when moving on to the bridge. Please, explain?
Thanks for your question. We have sent it forward to our HOV experts and will get back to you with an answer as soon as we have it.
Motorcycles are allowed to use some bus lanes because they do not make up a large proportion of vehicles on our road system and take up less space in the lane than passenger vehicles. Motorcycles also have less crash protection than passenger vehicles so are allowed in HOV and some bus lanes as a way to increase motorcycle operator safety.
Electric vehicles are not permitted in bus lanes because the increase in the number of vehicles in these lanes would increase bus travel times.
Hope that this helps!
I have BMW I3 with appropriate EV OK decal. My question is can I drive on HOV lanes that I only for buses.
Specifically, I am wondering about the stretch on Hastings, west of Boundary Rd to Downtown area.
Thanks for connecting with us here. The Hastings Street corridor, including signage, is a municipal street and under the jurisdiction of the City of Vancouver. We encourage you to contact them directly about this question. Here is a link to their contact info: http://vancouver.ca/your-government/contact-the-city-of-vancouver.aspx
Hope that this helps!
Can someone please confirm or update the response to a previous question about HOV lane access for electric vehicles along Hastings street? I would be wondering if HOV lane access is permitted going East or West along Hastings from exiting Barnett Highway at Inlet Dr. and Hastings, to Hastings and Nanaimo St. in Vancouver.
Hastings Street is under the jurisdiction of the cities it runs through. Please connect with the City of Burnaby regarding the portion of Hastings Street near Barnet and the City of Vancouver for the portion near Nanaimo street. Hope that this helps.
I am an american living in BC from November through Aprl as a Tourist. My car is registered in Massachusetts. It is a Tesla and Mass license plates for Electric Vehicles start with EV and have the EV symbol on the license plate. Is this enough to drive in the HOV lane? If not can a US registered EV car drive in the HOV lane?
Thanks for any info!
Sorry that last question was suppose to be:
Can a US registered car apply for a EV decal?
We are looking into this for you. Stay tuned!
You are more than welcome to apply for an HOV decal. We have sent them as far as Arizona. If you need assistance, please contact EVHOV@gov.bc.ca (contact updated January 12, 2018)
I have an EV with the appropriate decal.
May I legally use the restricted bus/van pool/ motorcycle lane entering both ends of the Lions Gate Bridge???
I have seen many Taxi’s, Medical vehicles and Testas doing so, but I would like clarification.
Thank-you for your assistance with this…
Can I drive in the bus lane/van pool lane with my EV while displaying a sticker
Good question! We asked the folks responsible for this program and, unfortunately, bus/van lanes are restricted to buses and vans only. Thanks for connecting with us here and if you have any other questions, let us know.
Tesla cars by definition are 100% electric: could you consider allowing this brand HOV access without the sticker? Teslas are distinctive enough and I imagine our officers are trained to recognize cars on sight. While the access is a welcome benefit, I’m sorry to say the sticker is unfortunately quite ugly.
I’m checking in with our folks about your proposal of not using the electronic vehicle sticker, while driving in the HOV lane. (Sorry you find it visually unappealing).
Regulations state that all vehicles in the HOV lane that qualify for this program must have a decal on the vehicle’s rear window or rear bumper. The decal provides law enforcement personnel with a consistent marker to distinguish between vehicles that are eligible for the EV-HOV program and those that are not eligible.
I believe for most of them who are buying the EVs, they really need to drive for a long way as daily uses.
Just confusing why the process is taking this long time to be completed. Since some EVs need to be ordered and waited for 2-3 months to be delivered, and then we need to wait for an other six weeks or more to apply for the decal and actually get it, which means EV owners need to figure out by themselves how to drive on the packed highways everyday in at least two months…either use GAS (as an EREV, I am glad I got this type of EV) or charge on the way to work/home for half hours or longer…
We are a little regret to support green environment and get an EV because we have been waiting for 2 months for decal even we applied it two weeks before we actually get the car……..
Still have not received yet.
Thanks for letting us know about your concern with getting your electric vehicle sticker. I checked with the program administrator about the status of your application. It has been approved and the sticker has been put in the mail, so you should be receiving it shortly. Thanks for your patience.
will that be possible using H.O.V entrance or exit ? How long it will takes to get DECAL.I want to make sure.
Hi Ken, Thanks for your questions about HOV decals. I am checking into this and will get back to you.
It takes between three and six weeks to provide the HOV decal, after we have received a complete application.
I am not sure what you are asking in the first part of your post, “will that be possible using H.O.V entrance or exit?” Could you please explain?