PEV fleet keeps growing

A man charging his Tesla at a charging station.
As of 1 January 2021, the total passenger car fleet in the Netherlands stood at nearly 8.8 million. This is over 1 percent up on the previous year. At the same time, the number of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) rose by 38 percent. Although most PEVs are business-owned, the number of private owners is increasing as well. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on new figures on the Dutch motor vehicle fleet.

Developments in passenger car fleet, 1 January 2021
BrandstofDevelopment (y-o-y % change)
Other fuels¹⁾22.2
Source: CBS, RDW
1) Hybrid electric (HEV, non plug-in), CNG, LNG, ethanol, hydrogen, fuel unknown

As at 1 January 2021, the number of passenger cars registered in the Netherlands stood at nearly 156 thousand, representing a year-on-year increase of 1.3 percent. Eight out of ten passenger cars run on petrol. The number of petrol cars rose by 1.5 percent on the previous year while the number of diesel cars dropped by 9.1 percent.

76 thousand PEVs added in 2020

In a span of twelve months, the number of PEVs rose by 38 percent (76 thousand) to over 273 thousand by 1 January 2021. Especially the fully electric vehicle (FEV) fleet grew substantially over the past year: by 63 percent. Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are passenger cars with an electric motor and a battery that can be recharged by plugging it into an external power source. They comprise both fully electric vehicles (FEVs), solely driven by an electric motor (and emission-free), and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The latter type contains a conventional fuel engine in addition to the electric motor. At the beginning of 2021, 3.1 percent of the total passenger car fleet in the Netherlands were plug-in cars.

Plug-in electric vehicles, 1 January
jaarFEVs (x 1,000)PHEVs (x 1,000)
Source: CBS, RDW

More and more private owners of PEVs

Last year, plug-in electric vehicles gained popularity among private car owners. The privately owned share of PEVs rose from 27 percent at the beginning of 2020 to 36 percent at the beginning of 2021. Nevertheless, the majority of PEVs are still in company ownership (64 percent). At the start of 2021, the business-owned share of FEVs even amounted to 78 percent. The number of private owners doubled while the number of business-owned cars grew by 55 percent.

In the plug-in hybrid segment, as of January 2021 private ownership even exceeded business ownership for the first time. The number of privately owned plug-in hybrids rose by 78 percent over a span of twelve months while the business-owned fleet shrank by 32 percent.
Through the Subsidy Scheme for Electric Cars for Private Individuals (SEPP), private individuals can receive a subsidy for the purchase of a new or used electric car. There are also schemes for business drivers that make electric driving attractive. For example, business drivers with a fully electric car will pay an additional tax liability of 8 percent, compared to 22 percent for a petrol or diesel car, and they are exempt from motor vehicle tax.

PEVs by type of ownership, 1 January
Categorie2021 (x 1,000)2020 (x 1,000)
PEVs (total)
Source: CBS, RDW

Increasing share of plug-in cars in new car sales

In 2020, almost 90 thousand new plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) were sold, 32 percent more than in 2019. The majority of them, more than 73 thousand, were fully electric. This represents a growth of 17 percent compared to one year previously. Overall, fewer new cars (all fuel types) were sold in 2020 than in 2019. The share of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in new sales rose from 15 percent in 2019 to 24 percent in 2020.
New sales of FEVs to business owners peaked in December 2020. As of 1 January 2021, the additional tax liability for FEVs was raised from 8 to 12 percent. Of the FEVs sold to private individuals, two-thirds were sold in the second half of 2020, after the SEPP subsidy scheme took effect on 1 July.
In addition to fully electric cars, over 16 thousand plug-in hybrids were sold, three times as many as in 2019. Of the plug-in hybrids sold, 43 percent were purchased by a private individual.

New sales of fully electric passenger cars, 2020
maandBusiness (x 1,000)Private (x 1,000)
Source: CBS, RDW