Not to be outdone by “Plugged In”, the Ford and Yahoo reality television union, or the “2012 Electric Car Challenge”, the Ford (again!) and Men’s Health cross country road trip contest, the great Bay State of Massachusetts is trying to reap some extra revenue out of electric (and hybrid!) vehicles.
Last week, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation announced it was making special license plates for electric and hybrid cars. The design of the license plate seems inspired by the live more efficiently ethos of the more efficient car industry. Check it:
The new plate is exactly like current regular Massachusetts plates except for that simplistic green car on the left, using all of an electric plug contorted into the shape of an automobile, and the words “ELECTRIC VEHICLE” at the bottom. The design matches the idea! Form matches function! Curtains match the drapes!
These plates are really expensive, costing $20 with no annual fee. But it’s really not about the revenue for the Massachusetts DOT; these plates are meant to alert first responders that they’re dealing with a car that may need to be unplugged or treated differently in certain situations. Rachel Kaprelian, registrar of Motor Vehicles at the Transportation Department, puts it this way:
“And then there’s the incentive that, should you get into an accident, emergency responders will know you have a special car.”
Uhm… two issues with this statement. Not needing to tell emergency responders that your car is electric is a safety precaution rather than an incentive. Second, no one walks around saying, “I have a special car.”
The cars aren’t lepers.
Despite Kaprelian’s strange remark, there are real potential benefits of having these assigned plates (should the state or private establishments in Massachusetts deem these cars worthy of “special” treatment). Preferred parking, free valet parking, access of car pool lanes during rush hour, discounted bills at the local roller skating diner and free beach parking come to mind.