We will weep for the BMW i3 REx owner with ticket #40,001 for California's green HOV stickers. While the standard-issue battery-electric i3 has been deemed eligible for the state's white stickers, which allow for owners to drive in HOV lanes solo, the proverbial jury of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) is still out on the BMW i3 REx, which will have a little-bitty range-extender on board, Transport Evolved says.
The issue is that, while there is an unlimited number of white stickers for pure EVs such as the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S, the state has limited the number of green stickers, which grant solo-HOV access to plug-in hybrids and extended-range plug-ins, to 40,000. And with almost 29,000 green stickers given out as of the end of last year to cars such as the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius Plug In, they may run out within two months. The other key point is that the waiting list for the i3 with a range extender is running at about six months as of January, that could cause a bit of hand-wringing among folks looking to buy the REx.
BMW said earlier this year that the extended-range version of the i3 would qualify for white stickers because the car is a so-called BEVx, meaning that its range-extender's full-tank range is less than the electric motor's single-charge range. BMW designed the i3 with a small range-extender tank of just 2.4 gallons, but the automaker estimated that California's green stickers wouldn't run out until the end of 2014.