Despite a significant shift in the way the world views climate change, the journey to a net-zero future still seems distant at times. For a lot of people, small steps can be undertaken to reduce their carbon footprint and the adoption of electric vehicles as a primary method of transportation is one of them. The transition away from traditional vehicles can seem difficult at times but we thought we would bring you the successful case of a country that has led the way in terms of EV adoption.
The Netherlands (also known as Holland) is a country that is synonymous with moving away from traditional vehicles. The Dutch have shown how a net zero-emission future is increasingly possible. We have all seen the pictures of the seemingly endless number of bicycles riding down the streets of Dutch cities but those pictures only tell a part of the story. Let’s look at some numbers that make the Dutch one of the most EV-friendly nations in the world.
1) One of the highest number of e-cars per capita
Apart from the known shift to bicycles among the urban commuters across Holland, the country has also assumed a leading role in the shift to electric vehicles in recent years. A study from 2021 that accounted for the number of electric vehicles purchased in relation to the size of a population found that one in every 58 Dutch citizens own an electric car! This puts the Netherlands in certain estimates at the top of the charts when it comes to electric vehicles. By the end of 2021, official Dutch government statistics stated that the number of electric cars doubled with 13 percent of all the vehicles in the country being electric!
2) Has a third of the EU’s charging stations
With the investment into electric vehicles showcased above, it’s no wonder that the Netherlands also spearheads the installation of charging stations and the other infrastructure needed to support the transition from traditional to electric vehicles. Estimated data from 2021 shows that the Netherlands has 75,000 charging stations which account for nearly a third of the European Union’s total charging stations! That is approximately 30 percent of Europe’s vehicle charging points- talk about being ahead of the curve. Five out of every 400,000 cars sold in the Netherlands are now electric with the number predicted to go up as the government continues to invest in EV-friendly infrastructure. If you are an electric car or vehicle user you have the right to a charging station within 200 meters of your residence, a right that we hope to see across the world soon!
3) E-bikes are fast becoming the preferred way to commute
We had to get here eventually with one of the most environmentally friendly modes of transportation that have been widely adopted by the Dutch population in order to commute across their notoriously flat country. Official statistics from the World Health Organization show that roughly 27 percent of trips made in the Netherlands are undertaken using bicycles. 36 percent of residents stated that bicycles were their primary method of transportation. In 2019, the government estimated that the national volume of bicycles was around 23 million units. To go along with the bicycle craze they invested heavily in cycling infrastructure such as parking, pathways, intersections and the list goes on.
We know what you are thinking, how are bicycles related to EV’s! But a recent change in the way the Dutch population commute is quite noteworthy. In Holland in 2020, the country saw an unprecedented increase in the sale of e-bikes. Estimates show that over half of the bicycles sold in 2020 were electric bicycles! If the estimates are accurate that means out of the 1.1 million bicycles purchased in 2020, 550,000 were electric. We hope this trend continues and carries over to the rest of the world.
4) A zero-net emission transport strategy
Finally, the transition from traditional vehicles to electric vehicles would be impossible without a policy from the government and investment into the infrastructure surrounding a greener future. In 2019, well ahead of the global climate agreement in 2021 at the COP26, the Dutch government enacted a National Climate Agreement based on the Paris Agreement on climate change. As previously mentioned, the policy includes aiming for all vehicles sold after 2030 to be net-zero emitters. The government has put forth incentives for buyers and owners of electric vehicles which they hope will reduce the urge to buy traditional vehicles. These include cashback from the government on buying electric-vehicle batteries, waivers on registration and ownership taxes, and comparatively higher taxes on regular vehicles.
So, what more have the Dutch gained in their switch to sustainable commute? The Netherlands continues to advance in terms of EVs and they are seeing amazing benefits! As per the European Environment Agency, the cities in the Netherlands consistently rank in the good to moderate range in terms of air quality. We think that switching to greener modes of transportation which reduce time spent in traffic and stress has something to do with the Dutch ranking as the eighth-most healthy country in the world in 2021 (not to mention all the bike rides!). The Dutch are enjoying the shift away from traditional vehicles to the fullest and we hope the Netherlands story inspires people to hop on the EV revolution taking shape across the world too.