Dutch plug-in car sales up 170% in April

2018 Nissan Leaf photo
© Nissan

It seems electric cars are finally catching on.

The Netherlands plans to ban gas cars by 2030. To do that, they are going to have to rapidly grow alternatives. While its famous bike culture and growing fleet of electric buses are TreeHugger preferences, it's likely that plug-in cars are also going to play a role.

That's why it's encouraging to hear, via Jose Pontes over at Cleantechnica, that Dutch plug-in car sales were up a whopping 170% in April, compared to the same month the year before. True, that's still only 973 cars, and plug-in models make up only 3.2% of the new car market in 2018 so far, but growth rates of well over 100%—if they can be sustained—have a habit of fairly rapidly transforming a market. (Just ask telephone utilities, or gas/diesel car proponents in Norway.)

Granted, over a quarter of the new sales were the new Nissan Leaf, so it's possible this is a somewhat unrepresentative spike in sales. But nevertheless, it seems clear to me—both from similar headlines around the world, and from anecdotal conversations with my own social connections—that there's a significant chunk of the population who are becoming aware of, and interested in, the significant benefits of driving electric. What I'm now looking for are those inflection points where the growth to come tips from simply impressive to transformational.

Once consumers start questioning the future resale value of diesel/gas cars, once gas stations start being fewer and farther between, once gas and diesel cars become socially (and even legally!) unacceptable in cities, and once charging stations at home, workplaces and along highways are ubiquitous, I suspect we may see another step change in the rate of adoption.

With 20% of Americans saying their next car will be electric, we'll likely see similar growth rates over here too.

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