Number of all-electric cars increasing rapidly

© CBS / Alrik Swagerman
On 1 January 2018, there were nearly 22 thousand fully electric vehicles (FEVs) in the Netherlands, up almost 60 percent on one year previously. Sales of these vehicles accelerated last year. The total fleet of FEVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) increased by nearly 9 percent in 2017, according to new figures released by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

Plug-in electric cars, 1 January
 Fully electric vehicles (FEVs) ( x 1,000)Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) ( x 1,000)
Source: CBS, RDW

On 1 January 2018, there were slightly under 120 thousand so-called plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in the Netherlands. The number of FEVs rose from nearly 14 thousand on 1 January 2017 to nearly 22 thousand at the beginning of this year. Over the same period, the number of PHEVs increased by 1.6 percent to 97 thousand.

Despite this growth, currently only 1.4 percent of all passenger cars in the Netherlands are fully electric vehicles or plug-in hybrids. Last year, the expansion of the total electric vehicle fleet was less substantial than in previous years.

On 1 January 2018, there were over 150 thousand regular hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) without plug-in capability; an increase of 12 percent year-on-year.

New sales of plug-in electric cars
 Fully electric vehicles (FEVs) ( x 1,000)Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) ( x 1,000)
Source: CBS, RDW

FEV sales doubled

In 2017, 8.2 thousand new FEVs were sold, almost twice as many as in the previous year. For the first time, this also exceeded the number of new plug-in hybrids, of which 1.8 thousand were sold. In 2016, this number was still ten times as high.

The sharp drop in sales of this type of vehicle is related to the amended tax measures for zero or low-emission vehicles, e.g. more stringent rules regarding additional tax liability. In 2015, the announcement of these amendments led to situations where the purchase of a new car by consumers was pulled forward in order to derive maximum benefit from the (old) favourable arrangement.

The additional tax liability did not apply to FEVs until 2014, after which it was set at 4 percent. The addition for PHEVs rose from 7 percent in 2015 to 15 percent in 2016; as of 1 January 2017, it is at the same level as for petrol or diesel-driven cars, namely 22 percent.

New sales of plug-in electric cars
 2017 (% of total new car sales)2016 (% of total new car sales)2015 (% of total new car sales)2014 (% of total new car sales)
United Kingdom1.861.381.090.59
Source: CBS, ACEA

Relatively high share of PEVs

Out of all new car sales in the Netherlands in 2017, 2.7 percent concerned plug-in electric vehicles (FEVs or PHEVs). The Netherlands maintains its top position in the EU in this respect; only Sweden has a higher share. In 2014 and 2015, the absolute number of FEVs and PHEVs sold in the Netherlands was the highest in the EU.