I successfully registered my 2001 Passat as electric in California.
I had to have it inspected at a CARB certified repair facility (Las Positas junior college auto shop in Livermore CA). They checked to make sure there was no ICE and I got a smog exemption certificate, they even waived the registration fee if I remember correctly.
Once I had the smog exemption, I took the car to the DMV where some lady with a clip board inspected it. There was no check sheet, the DMV didn't have a clue what they were looking at, and it took a few days for them to figure out how to register it as "E" code. They had to call sacramento a few times. After about 8 weeks I got my white HOV stickers.
I dealt with the Fremont DMV, and have sent my co-worker there to register his EV. They should have the routine down by now.
I tried to make my hacked up VFD look as much like the picture in the manual as possible. I'm sure if something really stood out as being unsafe, you may not pass the CARB inspection, but it was pretty painless for me.
Does anyone know what components are inspected when you get an electric conversion project check-out before registering a car here in California? Specifically, I'm looking for a list of things I need to have in order to pass inspection?