China third-largest supplier of plug-in electric vehicles in 2023

© Tineke Dijkstra
The third-largest number of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) in 2023 came from China, after Germany and Belgium. China ranked 12th among suppliers of hybrid and all-electric cars in 2022. Most of those cars arriving in the Netherlands were not meant to be sold on the Dutch market, but were transported onwards to other European countries. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of the latest figures.
The Netherlands imported electric cars (including hybrid vehicles) with a total value of 1.1 billion euros from China in 2023, 13 times more than in 2022. The majority of electric vehicles came from Germany (4.3 billion euros), around 50 percent more than the previous year.

Around two-thirds of electric vehicles imported from China are not destined for the Dutch market. This concerns the quasi-transit trade (foreign-owned transit), which means that goods arrive in the Netherlands but are transported onwards to another country as their final destination. When the transit trade is excluded, the import value was 0.4 billion euros, and China was the fourth supplier to the Netherlands in 2023, after Germany, Belgium and South Korea.

Top ten electric car suppliers (including hybrid vehicles) 1)
 2022 (billion euros)2023 (billion euros)
United Kingdom0.81.0
South Korea0.40.5
1)including quasi-transit trade

16 percent of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) come from China

A total of 16 percent of hybrid and all-electric cars arriving in the Netherlands in 2023 came from China. That was up from 3 percent in 2022. However, the Chinese share of the Dutch car market actually declined, as many of those vehicles were destined for other countries. This share was smaller in terms of import value than the number of vehicles imported, because Chinese vehicles are relatively cheap. The vast majority of the vehicles that China exports to the Netherlands are electric vehicles. The Chinese share of Dutch vehicle imports was 7 percent in 2023, and 3 percent excluding the quasi-transit trade.

Chinese share of Dutch vehicle imports
 2023 (%)2022 (%)
(incl. quasi-transit trade)
(excl. quasi-transit trade)
All vehicles
(incl. quasi-transit trade)
All vehicles
(excl. quasi-transit trade)
(incl. quasi-transit trade)
(excl. quasi-transit trade)
All vehicles
(incl. quasi-transit trade)
All vehicles
(excl. quasi-transit trade)

The majority of vehicles are still non-electric, but electric cars are on the rise

The Netherlands imported over three quarters of a million passenger cars in 2023, of which nearly a quarter of a million were immediately transported onwards due to foreign ownership. Of the remaining over half a million vehicles, 63 percent were petrol or diesel cars, 22 percent all-electric and 15 percent were hybrid vehicles. In 2022, transit of hybrid vehicles (17 percent) outnumbered all-electric cars (16 percent). Five years previously, in 2017, almost all vehicles (94 percent) that were imported into the Netherlands were non-electric. In that year, 5 percent of vehicles were hybrid and 1 percent were all-electric.

There were nearly 1.3 million all-electric and hybrid vehicles in the Netherlands at the beginning of 2024, an increase of 31 percent on January 2023. Now, over 1 in 7 passenger cars in the Netherlands are all-electric or hybrid vehicles. That was over 2 in 3 (68 percent) of all new passenger cars sold in 2023.

Dutch vehicle imports, excluding quasi-transit trade, quantity
 2017 (%)2022 (%)2023 (%)