The Netherlands has joined a host of nations looking to pass forward-thinking green energy legislation, as Europe takes serious steps to cut fossil fuel use.
The Dutch government has confirmed a date for the country’s parliament to participate in a round-table discussion that could see the sale of conventionally-fuelled vehicles banned by 2025. This will be followed by a debate scheduled for October 13th.
If the suggestions put forward by the country’s Labour Party are adopted in March, Holland will join Norway and Denmark in making a concerted move to develop its electric car industry.
This follows news from Germany, which saw all of its power supplied by renewable energy, specifically solar and wind power on one day in May last year as part of the economic powerhouse’s plan to phase out nuclear energy and fossil fuels.
Outside of Europe, countries like India and China have demanded the use of cars on alternate days in an attempt to lower exhaust fumes which cause serious health problems for the populations of both countries.
Richard Smokers, the principal adviser for sustainable transport at Dutch renewable energy technology company TNO, said the Dutch government is committed to achieving the objectives set in the Paris climate change agreement to reduce greenhouse emissions to 80% less than 1990 levels.
The plan necessitates that the majority of passenger cars be CO2-free energy by 2050.
"Dutch cities still have some problems to meet existing EU air quality standards and have formulated ambitions to improve air quality beyond these standards," noting that the government had also been reluctant to implement strict policies on the environment.
"The current government embraces long term targets and strives at meeting EU requirements, but is hesitant about proposing 'strong' policy measures.
"Instead it prefers to facilitate and stimulate initiatives from stakeholders in society."
If the law to ban the sale of new fossil-fuel cars by 2025 passes, a significant move will have been made towards phasing out all petrol and diesel cars, added Dr Smokers.
Jan Vos, a member of Holland’s Labour Party, hailed the passing of the proposed ban in through the Netherland's lower parliament.
"We need to phase out CO2 emissions and we need to change our pattern of using fossil fuels if we want to save the Earth," adding that affordability of electric vehicles is also an important factor to be considered.
"Transportation with your own car shouldn't be something that only rich people can afford."
A spokesperson for the Netherlands Department for Climate, Air and Energy cautioned that the law was not guaranteed to pass.
"The proposal is being considered, but there is still opposition to it," commented the spokesperson.
EV sales have reportedly surged in the country, which enjoys the status of having one of the lowest levels of CO2 emissions from new cars in the European Union.
In the scandics, Norway has already reached its objective to sell 50 000 electric cars three years ahead of its own target, in part due to financial incentives offered to adopt clean technology. EV’s are exempted from VAT and purchase tax in Norway, thus reducing the potential cost by 50% under new Norwegian laws.
Of possible concern for the Netherlands is ensuring that the current design of electric cars can be scaled to meet the needs and limitations of densely populated urban settings, warned Dr Smokers.
"I think that living labs and other large scale experiments in the coming two decades will be needed to find out how we can tackle this challenge," he said.