The Netherlands: National Test Case For Electric Vehicles?

Driving one comes with incentives such as free street parking, free charging, and a nice tax break. Yet several barriers stand in the way of increased EV adoption.

What's the Latest Development?

Last year, sales of plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) jumped eightfold as the Netherlands continued to make good on its commitment to discourage gas-fueled driving. By expanding the number of charging stations nationwide, providing free street parking and charging for EVs in Amsterdam, and offering tax breaks and other incentives, a "small country...with gas prices of about $8.50 a gallon and a long tradition of environmental activism" may end up serving as "the ultimate feasibility test" for national adoption of EVs.

What's the Big Idea?

Despite the leap in EV sales, the numbers still aren't where automakers and Dutch politicians would like them to be. Also, universal business and technology standards have yet to be developed. Then there's the simple matter of adjusting to a different type of planning: Some drivers say they have to figure out how long and how far a charge will get them, as well as learn where to find charging stations on their routes. Still, a 2012 survey found that most Dutch EV owners use them as their family's primary vehicle, contrary to analysts' predictions that they would be relegated to second-car status.

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Read it at The New York Times

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