A Solution to Pollution: Free Parking
The plan originally started in 2009 but is just now starting to catch on. Residents who own an electric car are given a parking space which includes a charging station, installed by the city, and the electricity to charge the car, all free of charge. Amsterdam even insists that all the charging posts are fed by green sources including solar, wind and waste-based biomass, giving the program an extra green touch. The free parking (and charging) runs through at least 2012 but could be extended.
Amsterdam’s original plan to have 200 charging posts by 2012 has already been realized, partly due to the Dutch government’s abolishment of road tax on electric cars and some hybrid cars. Now, the city plans to add another 1,000 charging posts. By 2015, Amsterdam wants 5% (10,000 cars) in its city to be electric. The city’s incentive program covers electric cars only. Hybrids will have to wait until their range reaches 60 kilometers or above.
According to Pieter Swinkels, the city’s air quality department spokesman, Amsterdam is spending $7.2 million on the program. For every electric car sold, it adds two electric charging posts in the city. In addition, Amsterdam is providing $4.3 million to companies to help them produce more electric vehicles.
Nissan took notice of the city’s financial commitment to the electric car program and made Amsterdam its European location to unveil its own electric vehicle, the Leaf. Since then, 100 of the cars have sold in Amsterdam. Mitsubishi and Peugeot have followed their lead and began selling electric cars there as well.
Owning 40 electric vehicles themselves, the city has plans to build their fleet to 400 (25% of their vehicles) by 2014.
Primarily an incentive to reduce pollution, Amsterdam also wants to cut back on CO2 in the city center. They have even provided some subsidies to boat operators to convert to electric.
And now the merchants are getting in the spirit of a cleaner Amsterdam. The shops lining Utrecht Street, rebranded as “Climate Street,” have implemented a program called Smart Amsterdam. Where newly installed smart meters display the CO2 emissions from their electric delivery trucks.