Nearly 200 thousand plug-in electric vehicles

© Hollandse Hoogte / Marc van der Stelt - MS Fotografie
The number of fully electric vehicles in the Netherlands has passed the 100 thousand mark for the first time. On 1 January 2020, there were 107 thousand registered fully electric vehicles (FEVs), which is 62 thousand (140 percent) more than in 2019. The number of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) declined by 3 percent to 91 thousand. This is reported by Statistics Netherlands (CBS) on the basis of vehicle licence registration data from the Netherlands’ Vehicle Authority (RDW).

On 1 January 2020, there were nearly 198 thousand plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles, i.e. 43 percent up on the previous year. Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are all passenger cars with an electric motor and a battery that can be recharged by plugging it into an external power source. They comprise (zero-emissions) fully electric vehicles (FEVs) with an electric motor as the sole source of propulsion and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The latter has a conventional fuel engine aside from the electric motor. At the beginning of this year, 2.3 percent of the total passenger car fleet in the Netherlands were plug-in cars. This was still 1.6 percent in 2019.

Fewer plug-in hybrids

Plug-in electric vehicles have seen a steady rise for years. In 2019, the increase was entirely on account of the FEVs: from 45 thousand in January 2019 to 107 thousand in January 2020. PHEVs declined in number: from 94 to 91 thousand. Substantial growth was recorded in the plug-in hybrid segment as of 2015, but this levelled off in 2017. As of January 2017, the additional tax liability for PHEVs was raised to 22 percent.

Plug-in electric vehicles as at 1 January
 Fully electric (FEV) (x 1,000)Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) (x 1,000)
Source: CBS, RDW

Peak in new sales in December 2019

Over 82 percent of FEVs are driven for business purposes, against 12 percent of all passenger cars. Electric company cars are subject to lower additional tax rates than conventional company cars. In 2019, the additional tax liability amounted to 4 percent. This went up to 8 percent as of 1 January 2020. In December 2019, just before the new regulations took effect, the sale of new electric cars peaked at 22.9 thousand. December sales were higher than in the five preceding months combined. Altogether nearly 63 thousand new FEVs were sold in 2019. This amounted to nearly 25 thousand in 2018.

New fully electric vehicles (FEVs), 2019
 New FEVs (x 1,000)
Source: CBS, RDW

Many less expensive FEVs sold

Until 2019, zero-emissions vehicles had a lower additional tax rate regardless of the price of the car. However, the 4-percent tax rate started to apply as of 2019 to all cars with a catalogue price below 50 thousand euros. The additional tax liability went up to 22 percent for all cars worth over 50 thousand euros. In 2018, the top 5 best sold FEVs included three models with a catalogue price exceeding 50 thousand euros. One year later, the top 5 no longer included any expensive FEVs.