Amsterdam launches ambitious electric cars scheme

By Radio Netherlands Worldwide

Amsterdam wants all cars in the city to be electric by 2040.

The 'Amsterdam Electric' scheme was launched on Wednesday by the city's environment alderman Marijke Vos, in a bid to cut exhaust emissions. The goal is to have 200,000 battery-driven vehicles in Amsterdam in 30 years' time.

The city council plans to open 200 electric charging stations by 2012, with the first of them ready by the summer of this year. It proposes to introduce financial incentives for people to buy electric cars. Special parking spaces will also be reserved for electric vehicles.

Owners of electric cars will also be able to park at a reduced fee, and they will be given priority when applying for residents' parking permits. At present there is a five-year waiting list for a resident's parking permit in the centre of Amsterdam; without one, motorists pay up to five euros an hour to park.

According to Vos' plan, the tourist boats that ply Amsterdam's 17th-century canals will also switch to electricity in the coming years. The council promises to set an example by purchasing more electric vehicles for its own fleet.

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