Carpool Stickers Are Losing Their Usefulness - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Carpool Stickers Are Losing Their Usefulness

February 7, 2014

2013 Tesla Model S

When the carpool stickers for our 2013 Tesla Model S finally arrived last summer I was thrilled. With a 35-mile commute each way down one of the busiest freeways in L.A., I saw myself shaving a nice chunk off of it each night as I breezed by in the far left lane.

The reality has been completely different.

I'm not sure whether it's the sheer number of "carpool exempt" cars (Tesla, Prius, Volt, etc.) or an increased number of real carpoolers, but the far left lane is now nearly as crowded as every other lane on the 405, at least during rush hour. In fact, a fellow editor with the same commute even passed me the other night while driving in the standard lanes.

Now, I still like the fact that I can use the carpool lane while driving the Tesla and the fact that it's about hundred times better than a Prius doesn't hurt either. But the days of carpool sticker nirvana are over in L.A. and I don't see it going back anytime soon.

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor


  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    that may be true--but you are still making all traffic move better--all those cars would be crammed into the standard lanes. I don't know how you guys can stand that kind of traffic

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Coming soon...backups at the EV charging stations.

  • drcomputer drcomputer Posts:

    At 265 miles of charge why would any Telsa owner stop at a charging station in-town? More like lines at gas stations when oil runs out.

  • cjasis cjasis Posts:

    It's the number of carpool exempt cars. My daily commute is littered with plug in prius, leaf, volt and teslas.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    @noburgers: That's why I was initially confused about why the New Jersey traffic scandal was such a big deal. Apparently in the rest of the US a traffic jam counts as major news. In Los Angeles its called Tuesday.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    Sounds like it's time to return the carpool lane to the purpose for which it was intended. If CA wants to provide incentives for EV and hybrid purchases, they should keep them monetary. The carpool lane is not merely an environmental concern as it is also about congestion.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @legacygt, That assumes that LA represents the situation in all of California, and thankfully it does not (in more ways than one). Here in the Bay Area the carpool lanes still move right along (usually) and my Tesla's carpool sticker is a tremendous boon.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    drcomputer, I was referring to Superchargers, not in-town. And with over 18,000 miles on it, Edmunds' Tesla S has never gone 265 miles on a charge.

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    So you're buying access to a lane that's equally as congested as every other lane. I'm all for having options, but geez.

  • carchatter1 carchatter1 Posts:

    Here in Atlanta they took away the entire HOV lane (2+ people, or motorcycles only) and turned it into a HOT lane (must have transponder, and pay to use it unless you have 3+ people, motorcycle, or EV). It costs $8 just to drive 15 miles on the I-85 now if you want to drive it by yourself. That's $320 month in tolls to commute if you drove it every M-F. My Leaf allows me to drive it free, so it's cheaper to pay for the car than the tolls. So I guess it's just one benefit of driving an EV, but I wonder how long before they take that away.

  • awd_ownz_u awd_ownz_u Posts:

    Toll lanes are definitely the wave of the future. In a way it makes sense because people who are willing to pay a bunch to bypass traffic can do so and it makes it a little better for the people in the regular lanes as well. Of course the toll lanes in the LA area aren't in the best of locations. The 110 toll lane always makes me laugh as it dump you right into a snarl of traffic in downtown. Make it go through downtown and you might be on to something! I'll stick with my bike and lane splitting for now.

  • actualsize actualsize Posts:

    I was the one that passed Ed while driving in the standard lanes. I left work about 4 minutes after he did. After that the "lead" swapped back and forth a few times over the next 30 miles at the 30 mph or so we were travelling. I was a few car lengths in front when he finally exited the HOV lane in preparation for his freeway exit. That said, the carpool lane is usually the winning way unless you are at the very peak of rush hour. But I absolutely love it when I beat or at least keep pace with the carpool lane, and it's happening more and more often.

  • d_w d_w Posts:

    Stickers are still big benefit on 110 to downtown since can drive solo and not pay toll.

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