Electric cars in Amsterdam get free parking space

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This is what we call bringing electric cars to the masses. In a city like Amsterdam, which has virtually no parking whatsoever in the town centre, residents buying an electric car get a free parking space and a recharge station to go with it. The European car initiative started back in 2009 but has really gained ground only recently, having reached its target of 200 recharge stations by 2012, a year earlier than expected.

In the future the plan will probably provide some logistical problems as the city finds extra space for these free spots (near where the resident who bought the electric car lives), but the plan is to add another 1,000 recharge spaces in the next few years. By 2015, Amsterdam city wants five percent of its cars to be electric, which would be a total figure of about 10,000 vehicles.

The free parking initiative runs through 2012 and could be extended if the success continues. It’s a significant investment for the city which is spending €5 million on recharge stations and another €3 million on assisting companies build up fleets of electric vehicles. The initiative was part of the attractiveness of Amsterdam for Nissan, who chose the city as its official launch location for the Leaf on the European car market.

It seems that the Amsterdam city council has already lead the way with 40 electric vehicles in its fleet, and plans to increase that number to 400 by 2014. It’s got five Nissan Leafs in its fleet and has been using the Norwegian Think brand of electric cars since 2009.

Hybrid vehicles are not included in the free parking scheme and won’t be until the electric-only range of hybrids reaches more than 60 km. The green city plan is being extended to Amsterdam’s canals as well, with subsidies for passenger boat companies who go electric. The one flipside to the enthusiastic adoption of electricity across the city is that many citizens are upgrading to electric bicycles, replacing their pedal-powered units, and are apparently undermining the pollution savings while they’re at it.

Source | SmartPlanet

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