However, it may not have been such a "big loss" as the new "green" stickers for the California HOV lane were only available beginning in January of 2012. There are only 40,000 total stickers available.
Volts with a newly redesigned exhaust system that will meet California's standards for the HOV lane were scheduled to begin being built on Feb. 6 --- tomorrow --- at GM’s Detroit Hamtramck facility. As of the last time we checked with our local dealer, that date was still on-track.
How long it will take for those vehicles to reach California dealers is still a question.
Meanwhile, Toyota began taking reservations for its Prius Plug-in mid-November. The latest information we have is that those vehicles alloted to the earliest registrants will be built in March or April. Yes, pretty vague.
It's a race for the first to California's HOV lane. Many of those who pre-ordered the Prius Plug-in did so specifically to get back into the HOV lane.
While the Prius Plug-in is much cheaper, remember there are only 40,000 green HOV lane stickers. The Volt also has a much longer range on all-electric power. Ignoring the price difference, which admittedly will be a deal-breaker for some, first to market might mean some who pre-ordered the Prius Plug-in --- a non-binding reservation --- may change their minds.