In The Netherlands, considered one of Europe’s most advanced countries in EV adoption, the enthusiasm to switch to an electric car seems lower than expected. After nine months, the subsidy pot of 100 million euros still has 43 million left. In former years, that subsidy pot was generally plundered by the end of May.
Only private buyers can apply for a subsidy of €2 950 for a new, fully electric car with at least 120 km range and a list price between €12 000 and €45 000. Or €2 000 for a second-hand EV. That also counts for a private lease, where the subsidy is paid monthly. There is still enough money to subsidize some 20 000 electric cars.
Reputation to stretch one’s budget
So what’s the problem for the Dutch, who tend to have the reputation to stretch one’s budget? The subsidy for EVs has existed in the Netherlands since 2020 but used to be € 4 000. In France and Germany, that’s still up to €5 000, and in Greece, even € 8 000. In Belgium, there is no subsidy at all for private EVs.
Apparently, 2 950 euros is considered too ‘meager’, and the maximum list price of €45 000 is too low, as the most popular EV in the Netherlands today, the Tesla Y, starts at €47 993. In 2024, the subsidy will even go further down to €2 550 to vanish in 2025, along with the exemption on road tax still valid today.
Quite a bit of choice
The Dutch RVO agency has published a list of new and second-hand EVs that are eligible for subsidies, and that list still leaves quite a bit of choice. That goes from Chinese new offerings like Aiways U5, BYD Atto 3 or Dolphin, MG 4, 5, and ZS over European cars like a Citroën e-C4, Peugeot e-2008 or e- 308, a Cupra Bron, VW ID.3 or ID.4, Skoda Enyaq iV, Fiat 500 and 600-e, or MINI electric and a Volvo EX30 or XC40, to Koreans like Hyundai Kona or Ioniq 6 and Kia EV6.
Even the Tesla Model 3 figures on the list, both new and second-hand, but as that list price is VAT and BPM tax included, these are often the very base models. For second-hand cars, a maximum list price of €45 000 at initial registration is considered.
There are still 43 million left
The Dutch government put aside 67 million for new cars, and €34,98 million is still available today. For used EVs, the original budget of €32,4 million, only € 8,34 million is left. There is still time to apply until December 29 or until the pot is empty.
What causes the cool enthusiasm of Dutch car buyers to grab the subsidy, the RVO agency doesn’t want to speculate on. Nevertheless, with already 110 000 EVs registered in the first eight months of this year, there were never more sold in the Netherlands.
But these are mostly company cars; as for them, favorable tax benefits count, and most of the time, it is the boss who’s paying. It might be partly explained by the significant number of EVs ordered in 2022, still waiting to arrive and being delivered, as waiting times grew exponentially after the pandemic.
High list price and range anxiety
According to the Dutch EV-drivers association Vereniging Elektrische Rijders (VER), higher prices have increased uncertainty among private buyers, who are reluctant to jump. As seen in most other EU countries, private buyers are scared away by the high initial purchase cost and the ineradicable range anxiety. And most are not ready to give up ownership for leasing or subscription yet.
The majority is probably unaware that most EVs today can compete in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) with comparable ICE cars or are even cheaper. There is still some ‘evangelism’ work for European carmakers if they want to transition in time.