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German State Piloting “Umweltstreifen” Program — Lane For Low-Emissions Vehicles

Drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) and other types of low-emissions vehicles in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg will soon have access to “Umweltstreifen,” which are, to put a rough translation to it, “eco lanes” — in other words, lanes that are reserved for use by low-emissions vehicles (amongst other qualifiers).

For the time being, though, this access will come as part of a feasibility study, rather than a full-out immediate change. But hey, that’s the German way, right? Cautious and arguably over-organized? Still, it is certainly better than nothing — it’s nice to see support coming along, despite the many “good” reasons that German automakers might have for wanting to slow down the rate of EV adoption by the wider public there.



Californian residents, Norway residents, and those in some other places should recognize the approach, as similar programs are already in use, and have been for some time. The predecessor of EV lanes — carpool lanes — date back several decades, and have long proven their worth.

Green Car Reports provides some more information:

In the German test, however, the lanes would be open to electric cars, plug-in hybrids, and any vehicle that met the latest Euro 6 emissions regulations that went into effect last year — and carpools too, of course.

The Euro 6 rules had their greatest effect on the diesel vehicles that comprise roughly half of Europe’s new car sales, bringing them up to the standard in effect for US sales since 2008.

The study will attempt to ascertain the effect of the “eco lane” on air quality as well as looking at ways to limit access to qualifying vehicles. In general, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and electric cars usually have at least a few exterior features — badges and labels, if nothing else — that distinguish them from gasoline vehicles. But it could prove almost impossible to determine just by looking whether a vehicle meets the Euro 6 rules. And model year is usually not reflected by a car’s registration number.

It’s probably worth noting here that one similar proposal for electric vehicles by the country’s transport ministry (in 2013) ended up not being approved. Considering that the new proposal is open to any vehicles that qualify as low-emissions, though, even “conventional” ones, perhaps this one will get broader support?

The pilot study is currently expected to last for 6 months.

Image by Zachary Shahan | CleanTechnica | EV Obsession (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.


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