All cars emission-free by 2030, is that feasible?

Will 2022 be the year in which the electric car will finally break through? You still mainly see cars with an exhaust on the street, but new buyers are increasingly opting for a plug. All new cars must be emission-free by 2030, is the aim of the Dutch government. Is that feasible?

The share of plug-in cars in the Dutch vehicle fleet is still minimal at the moment. Of the nearly 9 million passenger cars in the Netherlands, 273 thousand are electric, of which 174 thousand are emission-free. Then there are just under 100 thousand plug-in hybrid cars, which can continue on petrol when the battery is empty.

With a total of only 3 percent electric drivers, 100 percent emission-free new cars in eight years still seems a long way off, but the picture is very different for newly sold cars. More than 1 in 4 car buyers opted for an electric car in 2021. Almost 15 percent of the total was emission-free. This mainly concerns fully electric cars with a battery and a single electric fuel cell car.

Electric driving is a lot better for the environment, even if gray electricity is used. Environment Centraal investigated the emissions of electric and petrol cars. Completely without CO2Emissions are the use of the car only if the power comes from, for example, solar panels. But with gray electricity, the emission is 900 kilos of CO2 per year, still a lot lower than the average petrol car, which emits 2,300 kilos of CO2 per year into the atmosphere. The production of an electric car is more harmful to the climate than that of a petrol car, especially making the battery produces a lot of CO2 up, more than five thousand kilos. But all in all, according to Milieu Centraal, an electric car is more environmentally friendly over its lifespan, the total emissions in 2018 were already about 40 percent lower than those of a car with an exhaust. This difference increases as more green energy is used.

And the costs? Electric drivers receive a subsidy to compensate for the price difference with petrol cars. Business drivers are compensated via the lower addition. Private individuals can request a refund of EUR 3,350 when purchasing a new electric car. If the buyer is quick, that is: there are 71 million available and it’s gone. In the first two weeks of January, more than 22 million of this pot has already been consumed.

Even car buyers who fish behind the subsidy network can save money by driving electrically. Until last year, electric driving was still somewhat more expensive, but in 2021, even if the purchase subsidy is not included in petrol, driving was the more expensive choice, the ANWB calculated. On average, a petrol driver loses 59.1 cents per kilometer, this includes depreciation for a middle class car, and someone who drives electrically 56.7 cents.

Cheaper and better for the environment, it seems as if the choice is easy. However, there are still barriers. The higher purchase price can deter potential buyers, especially if the subsidy pot is empty. Research by the ANWB also shows that people who have their own driveway and who can charge at home are significantly more enthusiastic. The fear of many drivers is standing still with an empty battery. The range – how far you go without charging – increases, but is still a lot lower than with petrol cars. The average electric car can now travel 333 kilometers from Groningen to Maastricht. With a petrol car, Paris is within reach without refueling.

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