Holland has become a bellwether for electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure development. The numbers certainly are not staggering – about 7,500 on the roads throughout the Netherlands – but they did increase eightfold last year and charging posts are showing up in cities everywhere. Change is happening in this small country – about 100 miles east to west – where gasoline process hover around $8.50 a gallon and there's a long tradition of environmental activism.
Netherlands resident Patrick Langevoort was issued a company car – an electric vehicle – two years ago. The early days of EV driving didn't go so well, including driving far away from Amsterdam with only a 25-percent charge remaining and was then unable to find a charging point listed on a map. He also discovered the unpleasant truth about the effects of temperature and speed on range capacity – cold weather decreases driving range.
Now that EVs are getting more popular in Holland, drivers are getting more experienced and are changing driving habits as the network of charging stations expands around the country. "I used to be a real petrol head," Langevoort told The New York Times. "Now, I've sold my petrol car."
Like other European countries (like Denmark, for example), Holland is aggressively incentivizing EV adoption in various ways. The national government is developing an expanding grid of charging stations in cities and along highways. Tax breaks are being offered to EV owners. The city of Amsterdam offers EV owners free street parking and charging. Car shoppers are also attracted to promotional leases and cheaper operating costs, making EVs very competitive conventional cars in terms of lifecycle ownership costs. Add is all up, and Holland has become an important European EV market – as Tesla would probably agree.