In imitation of the success of carpool lanes in some parts of the world, the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg is currently aiming to try out a pilot program for "Umweltstreifen" -- or, to put it in English, "eco lanes." These would be used by the drivers of low-emissions vehicles.
While the lanes will (if this pilot continues) certainly be available for use by drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), the plan is actually inclusive of all "low-emissions vehicles." This includes conventional models with low enough emissions ratings (those meeting the latest Euro 6 emissions regulations), such as some conventional hybrids. Those carpooling will also reportedly be able to use the lanes.
This is quite an interesting decision by the authorities there. As carpool lanes have over the last few decades proven themselves to be useful in cities around the world, and places like California and Norway have allowed access by low-emissions vehicles, it'll be interesting to see what comes of this in Germany. The pilot program will, amongst other things, seek to ascertain the effect of the pilot on air quality.
It's probably worth noting here, though, that a very similar proposal by the transport ministry in 2013 essentially went nowhere -- so until this pilot program is actually underway, don't hold your breath... or hold your breath, as the case may be.
Image by Michael Patrick (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)