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Electric Vehicles in the Netherlands

Despite its small size, the Netherlands is rich in culture, history, and beautiful sights. The country is famous for its canals, colorful tulip fields, picturesque windmills, traditional wooden shoes, a wide variety of cheeses, and its cycling culture, among others. It is also one of the main markets for electric vehicles, both in Europe and around the world. In 2020, 21% of all newly registered vehicles were battery electric vehicles (BEV) and 4% were plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV). This acquisition, especially of BEV, is evidence of the progressive electric vehicle policies that have been implemented in the Netherlands over the past few years.

In order to accelerate the electrification of national vehicles, the Dutch government is providing strong, cost-cutting incentives to buyers and owners of electric vehicles; which is the core of the government's zero-emission transportation strategy. Individuals purchasing or leasing a new battery-electric passenger car can then claim reimbursement of €4,000 from the government. In the case of a second-hand battery-electric car, the amount is €2,000. In addition, BEV holders benefit from waivers on the one-time registration tax and annual ownership taxes, or receive a reduction in the case of PHEVs. On the other hand, buyers and owners of conventional vehicles with internal combustion engines have to pay vehicle taxes, which are particularly high compared to other European markets (1).

As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the Dutch government has confirmed the planned purchase of subsidies for privately used e-cars, and has since provided additional details. Hybrid cars and vehicles above a list price of €45,000 will not be considered. However, secondhand used electric vehicles are eligible. Those wanting to purchase an electric vehicle in the Netherlands will now be enticed by a subsidy of €4,000 for the purchase of new electric cars with a list price of between €12,000-45,000, and a minimum range of 120 kilometers. The new subsidy rates include a bonus of €2,000 for used electric cars. The following applies to lease contracts: if the leasing contract is terminated within four years, the subsidy will also be discontinued and will be paid out in monthly installments. Owners who buy another car within three years will have to repay part of the subsidy. To prevent misuse, the subsidy is only available when buying or leasing through an approved dealer. Each person can also apply for the subsidy only once. Since the purchase prices for e-cars are expected to decrease in the long run, the subsidy amount for new cars will likely also decrease in the coming years; while the €2,000 for used cars will remain constant.

The Netherlands is among the first countries in Europe to introduce a subsidy for the purchase or leasing of used electric cars. “An electric car must be accessible to many more people than just business people,” Van Veldhoven comments on the political initiative. “There are more and more electric cars on the market and fortunately, they are becoming cheaper and cheaper. But a lot of people have a stomachache about the purchase price.” With the new regulation, the government wants to lower this threshold, both for people who want a new car and for those who choose a used electric car. “Especially for the latter category, it is also important that there is now more safety about the battery.” The planned subsidy is part of what is called the “Klimaatakoord” (climate agreement), with which the Netherlands aims to reduce its CO2 emissions by 49% by 2030 compared to 1990. Against this background, electric mobility is to be promoted with around 250 million euros by the end of 2025.

The idea of boosting the purchase of electric cars via reduced-price loans was rejected, in favor of the subsidy, because the overall implementation was less complicated. It is important to mention that some Dutch city and local governments such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Hague offer free public charging points on the request of private individuals and businesses where home and workplace charging is not feasible. Moreover, cities like Amsterdam want all traffic in the city to be emission-free by 2030. The government is also aiming for at least 30 cities to introduce zero-emission zones for urban logistics by 2025. Furthermore, consumers can also choose from a growing number of electric car models. If you only look at BEV, more than 60 new models were registered in the entire country in 2020. Overall, the Netherlands has proved that national and local policies play a key role in driving electrification, particularly the transition to BEVs. As a result, the country is on a good course to reach its 2030 target of only selling zero-emission cars as the new vehicles purchased (2).

In 2020, the Netherlands briefly became Tesla's largest market in Europe, supplying many Model 3 vehicles in the country. The three best-selling vehicles in 2020 for the Netherlands were as follows;

  1. VW ID.3: 10,954 units,

  2. Tesla Model 3: 8,374 units,

  3. Hyundai Kona EV: 7,761 units.

Even more significant, is how the marketplace closed out the year for EV adoption. In December, the Netherlands accomplished a 69% all-electric vehicle market share, with a large extent from the latter two models, and the start of VW ID.4 deliveries. Volkswagen managed to supply over 2,000 units of their new electric SUV in the same month. With deliveries continuing this year, and several new electric vehicles launching in the market in the coming months, 2021 will be a big year for the shift to electric vehicles in the Netherlands (3).

Finally, a point that should not be ignored, is that the Dutch market is still small, and automotive sales is a global industry (4) . Therefore, hard work, in addition to taking an international approach, will be needed to ensure a successful future for this country that has been one of the pioneers of the European movement in Smart Mobility.


1), The International Council on Clean Transportation

2), The Netherlands goes for EV purchase subsidies


4) Artificial Intelligence Magazine Web


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