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The Netherlands Debates Ban on Non-Electric Car Sales

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The Netherlands is one of the most environmentally-friendly places on Earth. Back in 2014 it opened the world’s first solar road, a 230-foot span of bike path embedded with solar cells, which so far has exceeded developers’ expectations by producing 3,000 kilowatt-hours in its first 6 months of operation—enough energy to power a small Dutch household for a full year. In addition, bike culture in the Netherlands is a huge deal, with almost a third of all Dutch residents saying that riding a bike is their main mode of transportation and with more bikes than residents, as of 2013. Then on top of all that, the country has announced a goal of generating 14% of its total power from renewable resources by 2020, rising to 16% by 2023.

Now the country is considering its most ambitious green initiative yet, in a motion that recently passed in the lower house of the Dutch parliament, which would entirely ban the sale of non-electric cars in the country by 2025. Anyone looking to buy a new car would have to buy electric.

The country is already very friendly to electric cars—last year, residents bought over 43,000 EVs, with nearly 10% of the country’s entire car market made up of electric cars (in the US, that number is 0.66%), putting the country at second in the world when it comes to electric vehicle market share. However, this EV market in the Netherlands has been dominated by hybrid vehicles, the best-selling of which has been the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which made up more than a quarter of all EV sales.

However, despite this environmental friendliness, the measure still needs to pass the upper house of the Dutch parliament, and the opposing party to the Dutch Labour Party (which introduced the bill) called it “overambitious and unrealistic.” It seems somewhat likely that the measure won’t pass, especially since the bill would ban vehicles like the Outlander PHEV as well as all-gas vehicles, and while EVs make up 10% of the nation’s car sales, that still means 90% of new cars are gas-powered. If it passed, though, the Netherlands would undoubtedly be the most automotive-ly green country in the world.

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