For over a decade, the Netherlands has been investing in electric vehicles, charging infrastructure, and new technologies and connectivity according to the national climate strategy. Compared to the average Dutch vehicle fleet, car-sharing vehicles are approximately 3 times more likely to be electric, with 6% fully electric and a further 2.2% hybrid, out of almost 65 thousand car share vehicles in the country. All free-floating car-sharing vehicles are electric. In 2021, there were almost 328 thousand electric vehicles, including privately owned, company lease and private lease cars on Dutch roads, or 3.73% of all cars (battery - 2.3%, plug-in hybrid - 1.4%, and hydrogen) .
The transition towards electric mobility is also taking place in the popular Dutch bicycle culture. Never before have so many e-bikes been purchased in the Netherlands as in 2020. Half of all new bicycles last year had electrical assistance, compared to less than 42 per cent a year in 2019 and only 15 per cent in 2011. In 2019 e-bikes accounted for approximately 18% of all bicycle trips and for more than one-quarter of the total distance cycled. In 2013, e-bikes accounted for 8% of all bicycle trips and 12% of the total distance cycled. The sharp increase in e-bike use is seen to enhance accessibility, especially among people over the age of 65 and women. In addition, the e-bike is becoming increasingly popular for commuting to and from work.
Utrecht is the fourth most populous municipality in the Netherlands with about 360,000 inhabitants and is expected to reach 400,000 inhabitants in 2025. In 2015, the city adopted the clean Transport Action Plan to make Utrecht a healthy, attractive and accessible city and encourage clean transport among residents, companies, and the public sector. The city has the ambition to make electric mobility available on a large scale, in the city, in the neighbourhoods, and across all modes of transport. The municipality is stimulating the development of electric mobility in the city consistent with its strategic energy plan (SEAP) to transform Utrecht into a climate-neutral city.
Actions include programmes to increase the use of clean energy, deployment of charging infrastructure, electric buses and shared electric mobility services for cars, mopeds and bicycles. Utrecht is the Dutch central mobility hub, with its high level of accessibility and variety of modes of transport distinguishing it from other cities. In 2020, Utrecht had the highest proportion of available vehicles for car-sharing in the Netherlards, with 1,461 vehicles per 100,000 inhabitants. The municipality is also expanding the already extensive semi-public and public charging station network (more than 3,000 charge points installed). Utrecht is also a leading city in the Netherlands and worldwide regarding bicycle infrastructure deployment (e.g. bicycle paths and parking space) and usage. In 2021, micro-mobility services were launched in Utrecht, including 125 e-bikes, 300 e-mopeds and 100 e-cargo-bikes. In the coming months, it will be expanded to 500 e-bikes and 300 shared e-mopeds.
The city of Utrecht is also involved in various projects and services accelerating the transition to electric mobility:
- It is one of the three pioneers within the international H2020 project IRIS Smart Cities to address the urgent need to deliver urban energy and mobility services that are cheaper, more accessible, reliable, and contribute to a more sustainable urban quality of life.
- An environmental zone was established in the city centre, where only low emission vehicles or public transport could enter. In 2025 all new buses in Utrecht will be emission-free and there is an ambition to create a zero-emission zone for passenger traffic in the city centre from 2030.
- Supporting car-sharing services in the city with electric vehicles, including:
- We Drive Solar (100% electric, renewable energy)
- Green wheels (partly electric fleet)
- My wheels (partly electric fleet)
- Hely (shared mobility from different suppliers and different modes available in one app)
- Aber (Electric driving)
- It also supports shared electric-micromobility services, including:
- Tier Mobility (e-bikes and e-mopeds)
- Cargoroo (e-cargobikes)