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8 October 2020

Switching to an electric car: are you sure?!

50% of car traffic on roads is work-related. In total, these traffic and transport journeys combined produce 21% of all CO2 emissions. These emissions can be reduced to be more sustainable. For example, we can choose to use modes of transport that produce less emissions such as e-bike and electric cars. People who do so are ready for the future. However, there is still some pushback against owning electric cars such as ‘it is (currently) too expensive’, ‘I would need to continually charge my car’, and ‘are there enough charging points nearby?’. Are these claims well founded?

Significant progress

The number of electric vehicles is on the rise in the Netherlands, for both personal and business use. There are currently 107,000 fully electric cars and 91,000 plug-in hybrids driving around on Dutch roads. In the coming years, the number of electric vehicles is expected to rise sharply. More and more new electric cars, including more affordable models, will be launched on the market in the next few years. There are currently around 23 models for sale in the Netherlands, with prices ranging up to a maximum of €50,000.

The range (the distance you can travel on a full battery) is increasing all the time and is currently about 307 kilometres on average (Source: EV Database, 2020 [only available in Dutch]). That is more than enough for most journeys: nine out of ten car journeys in the Netherlands are shorter than 100 kilometres. This means that you can get to your destination and back without having to recharge.

Charging an electric car (and using the charging points) requires a different approach and mindset than refuelling a conventional car. Charging also takes longer than refuelling. The exact charging time depends on a number of factors, such as the charging speed of the car and its battery capacity, as well as weather conditions.

As the number of electric cars is increasing, so too is the need for charging points. The Netherlands is a world leader when it comes to products and services related to charging infrastructure and has around 52,000 public charging points and almost 1000 fast chargers (Source: ANWB [Royal Dutch Touring Club], 2020[only available in Dutch]). The aim is to have 1.7 million charging points in the Netherlands by 2030. By that time, there should be approximately 1.9 million electric passenger vehicles on Dutch roads (Source: RVO [Netherlands Enterprise Agency], 2020 [only available in Dutch]).

Financial considerations

Electric cars remain more expensive to purchase than comparable fuel cars. With electric cars making such progress and more models being created, the prices for electric cars will drop in the years to come. Electric vehicles are cheaper than fuel cars if they are driven more than 15,000 kilometres per year after four years of ownership (Source: Natuur & Milieu, Road to Zero). Here are some of the major benefits:

  • Electric cars retain their value. After five years, an electric vehicle is still worth almost half of the purchase price. A petrol car is worth about 40% and a diesel car 30% (Source: ANWB [Royal Dutch Touring Club], 2020).
  • The maintenance costs for an electric car are considerably lower than those for a fuel car. This is because an electric vehicle consists of fewer moving parts than a car fitted with an internal combustion engine.
  • The major beneficial factor is the difference between fuel and charging. In this respect, electric cars are 40 to 50 percent cheaper compared with fuel cars.

Want to try it for yourself? Now's your chance!

If you are considering purchasing an electric car, you may want to know if an electric vehicle suits you first. People who work for companies affiliated with Zuid-Limburg Bereikbaar (ZLB) can test drive an electric car for a week and can choose from the Renault Zoë, BMW I3, Nissan Leaf, and the Mini Electric. Participants must pay a €50 personal contribution test drive an electric car for a week up to a distance of 2,000 km. You can make a reservation on the following website: www.ontdek-de-ecar.nl. If you do not work for a company affiliated with ZLB, then consider asking at a car dealer about the options for a test drive.

‘Discover the e-car’ helped me choose

Bart signed up to try an electric car via Discover the e-car and then decided to purchase one: ‘Discover the e-car was a decisive factor in our choice to go electric. It's part of our lifestyle: we can see how much energy we're using and try to limit our CO2 emissions where possible. We have already installed solar panels on our roof and a heat pump in our house. With us switching to an electric vehicle, we will soon purchase extra solar panels to ensure that we are at least partially powering our own car. After all, most of your travel is local. That annual long-distance trip during the summer holidays should not keep you from switching to an electric car, in my opinion.

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