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Amsterdam plans transition to electric vehicles

Within the last year, Amsterdam has begun a process to eliminate vehicles with polluting emissions from the city. Residents are encouraged to switch to electric vehicles through a combination of government incentives and energy upgrades, with the hope of eliminating all gas and diesel vehicles by 2030. While this leaves the city with limited time to come up with the infrastructure needed to support a city of electric cars, they have a variety of plans ready to meet the goals. The government plans to deter the sale of polluting vehicles, and will provide accessible charging stations to support increased electric vehicle use. With climate change mitigation and health goals serving as the motivation for this plan, the city-wide switch to electric vehicles will foster resilience not only for local residents, but on a global scale, as it will help in the weakening of global warming affects. 

Electric vehicle in Amsterdam (source Ludovic Hirlimann/wikimedia)
Electric vehicle in Amsterdam (source Ludovic Hirlimann/wikimedia)

Amsterdam plans to expand upon the five existing low emissions zones and tighten regulations on gas and diesel vehicles. Starting in 2022, buses will only be permitted to enter the city center if they have emission free engines, and by 2030 all gasoline and diesel vehicles will be banned. In order to fulfill these goals, ambitious infrastructure changes are needed. European energy company Vantefall, in partnership with the City of Amsterdam, has launched a new public charging network for electric vehicles called Flexpower. With 456 charging stations and 912 charging points connected to the new system, Flexpower aims to provide a more efficient use of the electric grid and faster charging for vehicles. Some of the energy behind the charging stations comes from renewable sources generated by local households. This further enhances the cities goal of lowering emissions and use of polluting energy sources. In addition to infrastructure changes, the City of Amsterdam has provided incentives for citizens to make the switch to zero-emission transportation. Anyone who purchases an electric car will be able to apply for a charging port in their neighborhood or in a location of their choosing, as long as it is publicly accessible. These citizens will also receive a parking permit to use in the city. 

The push to regulate vehicle emissions in cities not limited to Amsterdam. Other European cities, including Paris, Madrid, and Athens have pledged to ban diesel vehicles by 2025. London has created an Ultra Low Emission Zone, which operates all hours of the day, every day. Vehicles that do not meet the strict ultra low emission standards will be charged daily to drive through the area. Throughout Norway, zero-emission vehicles will be exempt from taxes imposed on other cars for polluting emissions, and will not have to pay a 25 percent value added tax. These incentives and regulations have already shown some results, as electric vehicles were the top selling vehicle model in Norway in March of this year.

The adoption of electric vehicles throughout Amsterdam and other cities will strengthen resilience through support of public health and climate change preparation and mitigation. Government incentives and regulations in support of clean vehicles help a transition towards energy sources that produce significantly less pollution and reduce long-term risks. 

Sources and Further Reading

How Amsterdam plans to power a city of electric cars – CNN

Amsterdam launches ‘largest smart electric vehicle charging network’ – Robotics and Automation News

Amsterdam is using freebies to help ban polluting cars by 2030 – CNN

Ultra Low Emission Zone – Mayor of London

For the first time ever, electric cars outsold gas and diesel vehicles in Norway – CNN

Electric Vehicles – Union of Concerned Scientists