What can Edinburgh learn from Amsterdam with electric car rollout?

Electric Car charging points
Electric Car charging points
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Despite plans for the Edinburgh’s charging network to dramatically improve over the next five years – the Scottish capital still lags behind European cities including Amsterdam.

The city council’s own report points to the Dutch capital for its pioneering expansion of its network which is now powered by a wind farm on the outskirts of the city. Amsterdam introduced its first public charging points in 2009, and had already hit the 1,000 mark in 2011.

By the end of 2018, there will be around 4,000 public charging points across Amsterdam. Two years ago, 18,844 drivers took advantage of the public charging points in Amsterdam – while hundreds of private points are in place across the city.

Amsterdam’s extensive public network of electric vehicle charging points is regarded as the backbone for the city’s ambition to focus on electric transport, with high visibility throughout the city and providing guaranteed charging facilities to electric drivers.

The most polluting taxis have been banned from the city centre as part of the local authority in Amsterdam pushing forward with an ‘Electric City’ plan.

In the future, motorists could be offered incentives so they don’t charge their vehicles at peak times in order to keep the power supply on across the city. Businesses in Amsterdam are also offered subsidies for switching to electric vehicles – with the scheme already taken up by hundreds of firms.

Amsterdam is pushing forward with its “smart charging network”. Improved technology in temporary storage of energy will lead to a more efficient use of solar energy – meaning smart charging will play a big part in the city’s future charging infrastructure.

Of course, Amsterdam’s mission is helped by attitudes and policies put forward at national level.

Data from 2015 shows that approximately 10 per cent of all new cars sold in the Netherlands were plug-in electrics. This puts the Dutch second only to Norway, who are the clear world leaders with more than 20 per cent of all cars sold being electric models.