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The Netherlands - Policies and Legislation

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Action Plan for Electric Driving

The National Action Plan for Electric Driving was launched in mid-2009. The central objective of this leading plan is to make the Netherlands a guide and international laboratory for electric driving in 2009–2011. The plan’s implementation is based on past learning experience and can lead to wide-scale market introduction. The central government's monetary contribution will total up to 65 M€.

Additionally, the central government supports efforts by market parties, social organizations, and local and regional authorities resulting in a much larger overall funding that multiplies the initial government investment. The government expects the combined contributions will stimulate around 500 M€ in expenditures for electric driving.

The central government’s contribution consists of three main parts:

  1. The establishment of a Formula-E team with a robust and authoritative chairperson and members from all industries who are indispensable for the successful introduction and roll-out of electric driving. The team's primary task is to spur market development and remove obstacles.
  2. Initiating the following activities in 2009–2011: (a) practical testing and demonstration projects; (b) acting as a launching customer; (c) charging, energy, and other infrastructure; (d) research, development, and production of electric vehicles and/or components; (e) formation of consortiums and coalitions; and (f) ancillary (mostly fiscal) policy.
  3. A market introduction facilitated, coordinated, and phased in by the Formula-E team plan based on the central government Action Plan and other pertinent studies.

Complementary policies

Government-supported transport programs focus on the principal environmental policy objectives of reducing CO2 emissions and improving air quality. Electric vehicles (EVs) are one important aspect for transport, while other programs support the production of biofuels for transportation and investment in filling stations for alternative fuels, such as compressed natural gas (CNG).

There are also dedicated communication programs sponsored by the Dutch Government to promote the concept of “eco-driving” for drivers of all vehicle types. The principles that underlie this fuel-efficient driving behavior are incorporated in a training course required to earn a car operator’s license. Fuel economy can be improved by 10 to 20%, mostly by behavioral measures at an initially low program cost. Eco-driving can play a role in extending the range of EVs as well.

Legislation

Special tax rules are in place for EVs and hybrid vehicles. EVs are exempt from the yearly road tax. Since mid-2006, hybrid vehicles have qualified for a substantial bonus/registration tax reduction to encourage their sales. The bonus is dependent on the energy efficiency label of the car which reflects the fuel economy of the car (i.e., for the highest fuel-economy label A: €5,000; label B: €2,500). Conventional cars that are very energy-efficient can also earn a registration tax reduction depending on their CO2 emissions in grams per km. FCEVs follow the EV ruling.

For leased cars, an income tax measure makes EVs and HEVs attractive. A normal tariff of 20% of the new car value that is added to the yearly income tax is lowered to 0% for zero-emission vehicles or 14% for low-CO2 vehicles like many hybrids. Although tax regulations usually are subject to change, these privileges will be effective until 2018.

The effort to improve air quality in cities has led to the introduction of “environmental zones” in urban areas with specific entry rules. Some of the largest cities in the Netherlands have already designated environmental zones with more stringent entry rules for vehicles on the basis of their emission characteristics. Greater restrictions are imposed on vehicles not classified as “environmentally friendly”.