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Research points at explosive future growth of electric vehicles in the Netherlands

Rotterdam, 15 augustus 2017

The number of full-electric vehicles is expected to grow explosively in the Netherlands’ Randstad urban conurbation in the years ahead. Plug-in cars will double in number in The Hague , Dordrecht and Rotterdam within two years, ahead of Amersfoort in four. An important factor: better affordability will make electric vehicles unprecedentedly popular. This is the conclusion in a study by grid operator Stedin, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) and knowledge and innovation centre ElaadNL. The emergence of growing numbers of electric cars will force grid operators to make smarter choices to keep the electricity grid reliable and affordable. 

Tesla Model 3 in vogue in Utrecht and Amersfoort

Earlier research by Stedin and RSM showed high incomes to be the major factor in buying all-electric cars. Now that popular car manufacturers are also introducing more affordable cars to the market, high income is less important, creating explosive growth. With the introduction of the Tesla Model 3, the market saw a huge run on the model. Worldwide, some 1,800 Model 3s are sold on a daily basis. Reason enough for RSM to investigate whether this popularity will also impact expectations in the Netherlands. 

The study showed that in The Hague, Rotterdam and Dordrecht, the number of fully-electric cars will at least double within two years (see table). Notable: in the cities of Utrecht and Amersfoort the growth of all-electric cars will be less rapid, but it is expected that almost half of all new all-electric cars will be Tesla Model 3s within the next four years. More incomes matching the average, a relatively large number of drivers who lease, and lower overall age, mean more potential Tesla Model 3 drivers in Utrecht and Amersfoort.


 Current number of all-electric cars


Anticipated annual growth in all-electric cars up to and including 2021

Anticipated annual growth in number of Tesla Model 3s up to and including 2021
Percentage of Tesla Model 3s in annual growth up to and including 2021
 The Hague


Table: anticipated growth in the number of all-electric cars and Tesla Model 3, source: RSM 

Explosive growth of electric cars

The market for electric vehicles is undergoing strong developments. According to automotive-interests association RAI, 80% more all-electric cars were sold in the first half of 2017 than in the entire previous year. Vehicle manufacturers are not holding back. Recently, Volvo announced it will only sell models with an electric motor from 2019. Governments are also expressing their aspirations for making vehicle transportation more sustainable. The Dutch government wants to have a million electric cars on the road by 2025, while Britain and France have said they will halt any further sales of diesel and petrol cars by 2040.

Impact of electric transportation on the electricity grid

Electric cars use a relatively large quantity of electricity to charge, sometimes even comparable to the energy consumption of ten households simultaneously. More electric cars on the road means more demand for charging points. That means the local electricity grids need sufficient capacity to deliver this. So it’s good for grid operators to know where potential e-drivers live, and thus where charging points will be needed in the future. The best way to charge cars is with ‘Smart Charging’. This method permits efficient charging, for instance at times when plenty of solar power is available. For the time being this avoids any expensive investment, so that electricity bills remain affordable.

Smartcharging laadpaal LombokSmart Charging point in Utrecht. PHOTO: ElaadNL

Research into the charging options for electric transportation

The study considered a variety of factors involved in the purchase of electric cars, like age, income, whether private individuals or leasing drivers, and the urbanisation of their places of residence. Stedin places considerable importance on sound research into the energy grid and what role it can play in a more sustainable Netherlands. RSM students, along with Stedin and ElaadNL, have been researching the charging options for electric transportation since 2015.

About Stedin

Sustainable energy for everyone. This is the goal that Stedin works towards every day. To ensure that our more than two million customers can live and work in the most densely populated and industrialised region of the Netherlands: the province of Utrecht and the larger part of the province of Zuid-Holland. A service area with a particularly complex energy infrastructure and a high dependence on energy. With some 3000 employees, we are working on a sustainable energy supply with more and more local production. A future-proof system that will continue to be reliable and affordable and can be passed on from generation to generation.

About RSM

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM), is consistently adjudged to be one of the most authoritative business schools in Europe, and among the top three for research. RSM offers trail-blazing research and programmes for the further promotion of excellence of all aspects of management. RSM is based in the international port city of Rotterdam, a thriving interchange of companies, logistics and trade. RSM focuses on developing corporate leaders with international careers, armed with their innovative thought processes for forging towards a sustainable future thanks to a range of bachelor’s, master’s, MBA, PhD and executive programmes of the very highest standard. RSM support services for executives and alumni are also offered from its offices in Chengdu in China and Taipei in Taiwan.

About ElaadNL

ElaadNL is the knowledge and innovation centre in the field of (Smart) Charging infrastructure in the Netherlands and is owned by the Dutch grid operators. It is our mission to ensure that everyone with an electric vehicle can charge smart in the future. ElaadNL also coordinates the connections of public charging stations to the electricity grid.