There’s no denying it — the Dutch electric vehicle market is an interesting one. There was a surge in plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) sales at the end of 2013 because of an expiring incentive for PHEVs. Nonetheless, PHEVs continue to dominate Dutch EV sales.
One of the odd things about this is that the Netherlands is a geographically small and densely populated country. However, there are some cultural reasons why I think sales might be so atypical here. For one, the Netherlands has a tremendous bicycle culture. A huge percentage of resident bike for transportation. Primarily, of course, that’s for short-distance trips. However, rates of car ownership are quite high, not surprising given that the Netherlands is a fairly rich country. But what that means is that a much larger portion of automobile owners don’t use their cars for short-distance trips as much. What they tend to use them for are longer trips, in which a lower range EV like the Leaf or Zoe may not be ideal.
Another thing that crosses my mind is that the initial surge of PHEV sales has simply created a larger market for those vehicles (especially the high-quality Volvo V60 PHEV and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV). And another possibility is that maybe some people decided to buy these vehicles but simply didn’t make the purchase by the December 31, 2013 deadline. Though, I think that’s not as likely an explanation.
I know we have several Dutch readers. I’m curious to hear if there are other explanations for the continued success of PHEVs.
Getting back to February sales, I’ll add that sales were up considerably in February — more than twice January sales. The BMW i3 didn’t compare with the Volvo V60 PHEV or the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, but it still clocked in a respectable 72 sales.
I’m very curious to see what sales look like in March.
Here are static images of the two charts above: