Car Pool Stickers

Can You See the East Bay?

Can You See the East Bay?

California has always been the state leading the way to keep the air clean.  Before car emissions were strictly regulated, there were many more days like in the photo. This photo taken on Christmas day 2013 is from the San Francisco Peninsula looking across the bay when you could not see the East Bay.

Last fall, California’s state legislature approved a bill that extended the HOV carpool lane green stickers for plug-in hybrids (e.g. Chevy Volt) and white lane stickers (e.g. Tesla Model S) for another three years.  All the stickers will now be valid for driving solo in the carpool lane till 2019.

I am not terribly fond of the looks of the carpool stickers, so I delayed putting mine on until a bill passed to extend the privileges.  I don’t have a regular need for the carpool lane as I do not commute.  But with the passage of the bill, I took my $8 stickers that I had ordered from the DMV many months ago and put them on my car.

Since eventually I want to take the stickers off the car once they expire, I went through the trouble to install them using a paint protection film underneath.  I did the same method with the Roadster, but “back in the day” Tesla mechanics were not very busy and they installed them for me.  My Roadster now is in another state and I presume the carpool stickers were easily removed.

The rest of this post will describe in some detail how to put these stickers on using this film.  There are several videos available on the web on how to put paint protection film on a car in general.  I will simply describe the relatively easy process of putting the film on for the purpose of removing stickers at a later date.

First you need to find some film.  The film is typically sold in very large sheets to cover portions of the car.  From time to time, some ebay sellers have small quantities available.   I found a piece of 6″x30″ 3M Scotchgard Paint Protection Film for under $14 including shipping.

Tools for Carpool Application

Tools for Carpool Application

You will also need the following:

  1. Two spray bottles
  2. Johnson’s baby shampoo
  3. Isopropyl alcohol
  4. A squeegee of some kind (piece of plastic will suffice)
  5. Drying cloth
  6. Level (optional)


Preparation steps:

  1. Clean the areas of the car where you are going to place the stickers.
  2. In one spray bottle mix a few drops of the baby shampoo with water.
  3. In the second bottle should mix the isopropyl alcohol with the water to around a 30% concentration.
  4. Cut the film to the sizes of the stickers.  I made mine comfortably larger than each of the stickers.
Film With Soap Before Using the Squeegee

Film With Soap Before Using the Squeegee

Now you are ready to begin the simple process.  Peel the film off from the paper and spray the soapy solution on the sticky side.  Place the film where you want it on the car.  You will have plenty of time to adjust the location of the film.  Once you are satisfied with the placement of the film, use the squeegee to remove all the water and soap bubbles between the car and the film.

Once you are satisfied that all the bubbles are removed, wipe off the film and car with your cloth.  Then spray the area with the diluted alcohol solution.

Repeat the process for each piece of film.

Once you are satisfied with the location of each piece of film and that they are all dry, you can put the actual carpool stickers on them.  I used a level in order not to be confused by the lines of the car.

I went ahead and put all three stickers on the car in their proper place.

Carpool Stickers on Left, Back and Right Bumpers

Carpool Stickers on Left, Back and Right Bumpers


California Paperwork

Outside of the normal sales paperwork, electric cars have additional paperwork in California.  The federal tax credit is part of the annual tax program, but Californians can get $2,500 from the state very quickly along with access to the carpool lane.

The Center for Sustainable Energy in California, requires four documents in order to issue a check.  The application form, proof of vehicle registration, a copy of the sales or lease contract with full itemization, and a copy of a California utility or cable bill within the last three months.

The center currently has plenty of funds.  I found them to be very friendly and helpful.  They quickly processed my information and issued a check in a reasonable amount of time.

With the carpool stickers on an EV, you can drive in the carpool lanes with only one person.  With a new car, you need to wait till you get your license plates, which in California takes less than two weeks.  The process to get the stickers is simply to fill out a form, and send in a $8 check.  I have my stickers but I am avoiding putting them on until I will be driving on at least a somewhat routine basis where they could be useful.

Right now, the white carpool stickers will expire in Jan 2015, but they will likely be extended to a further date.

California Clean Air Sticker for EVs

California Clean Air Sticker for EVs

Carpool Sticker Benefit

After two years of driving the Roadster, I finally decided to put on my Clean Air Vehicle stickers.  In California, they are only eight dollars and enable you to drive in the carpool lanes solo until Jan 1, 2015.

California Clean Air Vehicle Sticker

I am fortunate in that I rarely need to drive in traffic, but just started a weekly trip during afternoon rush hour.  This trip without traffic takes one hour, but during the afternoon commute takes an hour and a half.  The worst part of that drive has a carpool lane, so hopefully my trip will be faster now with the clean air stickers.

I avoided putting them on the Roadster because they are not easy to take off.  I had read on the web that there is a 3M film you can put between the sticker and the car, which allows you to remove the sticker a lot easier.  Unfortunately that film is only sold in giant quantities on the web.

The local dealership has something called Star Shield, probably similar to the 3M film, that they kindly put between the sticker and my car.  The removal will require heat but the dealer will be happy to do that when and if the time comes.