The Dutch are disappointed. After years of forcing and spending billions on others, electric cars are a negligible share of the car fleet
11 hours ago | Peter Miller
Photo: Škoda Auto
We are not surprised at all as we have quoted similar numbers from the data we have obtained many times, but after years of massive push for car electrification in the country, key automotive associations in the country are surprised to find that the country is virtually nowhere in this regard.
I have the urge to throw in some vulgarity, because one must necessarily scratch one’s head when one sees how those who should be better versed in some field than he is, come to their own surprise at conclusions that have been obvious for years. For the sake of decency, I replaced the foul word with a twisted sentence, but the pronunciation is probably similar. And even in this case, it will concern electric cars.
It was clear a long time ago that electrifying the entire fleet of cars on the road would be a really long way off, even if everything for electric cars developed perfectly. That is, if they were without a doubt a better and more usable solution than internal combustion cars, they would last longer, they were cheaper to operate in all senses of these words, and it was also possible to buy them cheaper. Even at such a moment it would take decades.
But electric cars are none of the above, and combustion cars blow them out like a candle in the vast majority of key aspects in a direct comparison. So they flourish only at the cost of tremendous redistribution, regulations, orders, prohibitions, pressures and other restrictions. What can be expected in such a case? The whole road will only get thornier.
So I was quite surprised by the latest statement from the representatives of the traditional Dutch car associations RAI (Rijwiel- en Automobiel-Industrie, Association of the Bicycle and Automobile Industry) and BOVAG (BOnd Van Automobielhandelaren en Garagehouders, Association of Automobile Dealers and Garage Owners), who are disappointed by how slowly the electrification of the local car park is progressing.
On the one hand, sales are going well, as, for example, in October, 29 percent of the 28,262 new cars sold in the Netherlands had an electric drive. That’s enough, and the share of electric cars in sales varies between 25 and 30 percent all year. Of the 315,013 new cars delivered to customers this year, 93,229 of them are electric cars. That is really relatively much, but two things still apply. On the one hand, the fact that this situation occurred at the cost of a huge artificial increase in the price of internal combustion cars on the one hand (mainly through registration, road and consumption taxes) and an artificial favoring of electric cars on the other. And on the one hand, the fact that more than 70 percent of newly sold cars are still internal combustion cars (either purely internal combustion or some form of hybrids). In such a situation, the electric revolution is difficult to make.
Even though this situation has been going on for years, for more than five years the Netherlands has been forcing electric cars on people up and down, punishing everyone who doesn’t want them and spending countless billions from their pockets to push them anyway, the share of these cars in the total fleet is only increasing very slowly. RAI and Bovag state that in 2015 it was 0.51% of cars in traffic, i.e. 45,066 cars. At the moment, there are 340,583 cars, which is significantly more, but it is still only a 3.69% share of the 9,233,107 examples of all cars on the road. This is not enough and we know it well, but it causes disappointment in representatives of RAI and Bovag.
It is noteworthy that the total number of registered electric cars is significantly lower than the amount of such cars that have historically been sold in the Netherlands. Associations attribute this to their more frequent exports (will have to do with subsidy buying) as well as more frequent early decommissioning (more total loss accidents, generally shorter lifespan). In any case, the result is one – even in a country so committed to electromobility, these cars are far from the state where they would represent even a substantial part (let alone the majority, let alone all) of cars in operation. So how far is the Netherlands from the point where such a thing happens?
The associations don’t even dare to estimate this, given that gasoline cars in particular still dominate new car sales and almost 100% dominate used car imports, but there are almost no fewer of them in the entire fleet (7,224,730 gasoline cars in use is practically the same number as last year ). So there are more than 20 times as many, and although electric cars are slowly increasing, a few good sales months for internal combustion cars can easily reverse the whole trend.
The mentioned can be viewed in many ways, but above all it is a good reminder of how difficult it will be to change the fleet of cars used by people from a position of strength. As you can see, even after many years of using quite drastic instruments and relatively high sales of electric cars, the Netherlands is practically nowhere.
Is anyone surprised that cars like the Škoda Enyaq are not starting to dominate the roads? With their prices and parameters, it is perhaps not even possible. And it’s not going well in the Netherlands either, which is doing the first last for it. Photo: Škoda Auto
Sources: RAI, Bovag
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