The Dutch discovered that they need an extra one and a half million (1,500,000) chargers by the end of this decade. They decided to get them all installed.

In 2019, the Dutch government, political parties, and about 100 stakeholders signed the “National Climate Agreement.” Fourteen months of negotiations resulted in over 600 goals to realize, goals they needed to accomplish in order to meet what was agreed upon in Paris. One paragraph is called “National Charging Infrastructure Agenda” (translated from Dutch). It contains five goals about charging infrastructure to support the transition to emission-free transport.

To realize what is in this paragraph, a national working group was formed that spawned regional working groups that monitor local initiatives by municipalities and other parties. Of those extra chargers needed, over half a million are private chargers. Installing them is mostly a concern for private parties. Nearly a million are public or semi-public chargers.

Tesla Model 3 in Amsterdam charging via on-street public charging. Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica.

The Dutch have created this world’s charging paradise. They did this by looking at what was needed to support the transition to zero-emission transport. The vehicles are to be made by the carmakers. Charging is an infrastructure challenge. Some ZEV owners will be able to charge in their own driveway. Most owners will need publicly available chargers. For the market, there is a chicken and egg problem. Without demand from car owners, it is not profitable to build a charging network. Without a charging network, only those who can charge in their own driveway will buy a ZEV. The solution was to coordinate the placing of the public chargers by the municipalities. When ordering a BEV at a dealer, a new driver could request a public curbside charger to be placed near her or his house. With luck, it would arrive at the same time as the car.

The municipality asked its charging network provider to place a curbside charger close to the house. Red tape and paperwork were taken care of by the municipality. The charging company placed chargers near customers, and drivers got a charger close to their home, mostly within 100 meters.

What was accomplished in the last decade has to be repeated tenfold in the next decade. At the same time, the industry has to switch to using renewable energy and all homes need to be disconnected from the natural gas network. Supplying the BEVs with electricity for their batteries is not even the biggest increase in demand on the national grid. On the supply side, we are going from a handful of large powerplants to thousands of smaller solar and wind energy collectors.

These are the numbers that are in the plan.

People installing a private charger in their driveway do not need much urging from the working groups. Homeowner associations and real estate investors manage the parking spaces of their condo dwellers. Some need just a little convincing, others need a big kick in their behinds. They must realize they should start installing before there is an uprising from frustrated residents. And they must plan to convert 100% of their parking spaces in the next 20–30 years.

In the semi-public sphere, the parking providers need to install chargers at 10% of the parking spaces for new facilities. Existing parking must start installing chargers, again planning to extend the charging infrastructure in 20–30 years. The parking lots at shopping malls, sports and recreation facilities, and other publicly accessible private properties are targeted for half a million chargers.

The mostly curbside public chargers are perhaps the easiest part of the plan to realize.

The huge numbers are only a part of the challenge. Simple chargers are a lot cheaper to install than chargers that are prepared for smart charging, V2G, V2H, and new protocols. Convincing people that it is better to spend a bit more money now than being stuck with outdated hardware in a couple of years is another part of the challenge. And how many chargers are needed for a 5,000 person community in a sparsely populated part of the country that grows to 100,000 people in the summer months? These are people who drive more than the WLTP range of their too-small electric car to enjoy a day at the beach. They probably arrive with a nearly flat battery. The challenge is not just installing a huge number of chargers. It is installing the right number at the right places of the right type.

The working groups coordinate, initiate, stimulate, convince, pressure, and do everything needed — except installing and financing the chargers. It is a free market with many charging providers that have to win the tenders and get the permits. There is money to be made in charging, just like there is now in the case of gas.

For all the readers in the USA, the Netherlands is about twice the size of New Jersey geographically with about twice the population. Translate the Dutch numbers to your country, which is very much larger with 20 times the population, 30 times the number of private vehicles, and no public transport to speak of.

There is a lot of work to be done.

 

 


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