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The Netherlands and Electric Vehicles: A Policy Model for the World

This post is the second in a series being published in advance of State-City Collaboration on Clean Energy Transformations, taking place from May 29–30, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia in parallel with Clean Energy Ministerial 2019.

Written by Sonja Munnix, Senior Advisor, Netherlands Enterprise Agency

Since 2010, the Netherlands has been a European leader in successfully rolling out electric vehicles, with a fleet already in excess of 200,000 vehicles. The country has one of the densest networks of charging infrastructure. All new passenger vehicles will have to be zero-emission by 2030, whether they are battery-electric or hydrogen-electric vehicles, they will all have to make use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar.

The Dutch polder model is synonymous with a government that works via partnerships, where well-considered and supported policy is created through consultation with private parties and local governments. This fact also applies to electric transport. The Netherlands has had the Formula E-Team public-private partnership since 2010, which has formed the groundwork for various Green Deals (voluntary agreements) that accelerated the roll-out of electric transport and placed the Netherlands in the international vanguard, among other things. The key success factors are cooperation, knowledge development, and regional anchoring.

Since the start, regional governments, provinces and municipalities have played an important role in the realisation of charging infrastructure. Over time more and more collaboration has developed because of economies of scale – eg jointly tendering charging infrastructure and sharing knowledge.

Provinces and municipalities are drawing up tenders for public charging infrastructure in which innovations such as smart charging, open protocols, and cyber security are the norm. Within the Netherlands, the concession model is the main type of contract. Here, one or more parties are given the right to install and operate charging stations in public spaces at no cost to government agencies. Some municipalities also issue permits to install and operate charging stations in public spaces.

Provinces organised large-scale tenders in recent years together with municipalities. Municipalities often choose to accelerate the installation of charging stations in conjunction with the number of electric cars in a district. The roll-out and operation of public charging stations are now increasingly taking place without additional government investment.

The first Dutch charge points were primarily rolled out strategically at prominent popular locations, such as supermarkets, car parks, and shopping centres. This practice gradually changed to installation at the request of EV drivers. When residents buy an electric car and do not have their own parking space, they can submit a request to have a charge point installed in a public space, at no cost to the EV driver. The approach is increasingly data-driven, where charging infrastructure is installed on the basis of predictions about where electric cars will be charged in the future.

A number of Dutch cities and regions are deploying initiatives and operating policies to accelerate the roll-out of electric transport. For instance, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Rotterdam and The Hague have or had purchase subsidies for electric passenger vehicles, lorries and taxis for commercial use. Moreover, there are demolition grants for old vehicles with an internal combustion engine. In recent years, a number of Dutch cities already introduced environmental zones to support the roll-out of clean modes of transport.

The Dutch provinces are also responsible for the public transport concessions. Since electric buses are a standard part of these concessions, all public bus transport must be totally zero-emission by 2030 and all new buses entering service from 2025 must be totally zero-emission from the onset.

Supplementary to the international Climate Agreement, the Netherlands is working on a National Climate Agreement. This agreement includes measures to reduce CO2 emissions within the Netherlands in the period leading up to 2030, with the aim of a 49% carbon reduction compared to 1990. The National Charging Infrastructure Agenda will be part of the Climate Agreement. This Agenda has been developed together with stakeholders from different levels of  government and industry. In the years ahead, this agenda should ensure that the charging infrastructure is not an impediment to the roll-out of electric transport. To this end, agreements have been made on accelerating the process and specification of the basic conditions for the roll-out of public charging infrastructure, among other things.

The Netherlands provides a lot of lessons and innovative policies for other jurisdictions in accelerating the transition to zero emission vehicles.

Sonja will be speaking at the Renewable Cities Conference on State-City Collaboration on Clean Energy Transformation in Vancouver, Canada (May 29–30, 2019). 

Sonja Munnix works as a senior advisor at Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland). Sonja is the secretary-general of a Dutch steering committee on the internationalization of electric mobility, working towards facilitating Dutch companies in their international activities. She is active as the Dutch representative in international networks such as the Electric Vehicle Initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM-EVI) and the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle Technology Collaboration Programme of the International Energy Agency (IEA HEV-TCP).

Interested in collaborative clean energy governance? Join us at State-City Collaboration on Clean Energy Transformations in Vancouver.

Featured image courtesy of Agefotostock

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  1. Pingback: Which Comes First? The Charging Station or the EV?

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