Europe’s developing market in on-street charging points and hydrogen fuelling stations will be given a boost if the Dutch parliament passes a law that would ban the sale of non-electric cars by 2025.
The bill was initiated by the Labour party, and has attracted sufficient support in the lower house of the Dutch parliament. It will become law if it gains the approval of the Dutch senate.
If introduced, the law would give a regulatory push to the market for electric vehicles. At present, consumers are deterred from buying non-petrol or diesel vehicles because of the lack of charging infrastructure, and companies are deterred from installing the infrastructure because of the lack of cars to use it.
There are signs that this chicken-and-egg problem is beginning to be overcome in the battery car market, particularly in the Netherlands. Last year, 43,000 new electric vehicles were purchased in the country, giving them a 10% share of the market. In Norway, the leader in electric vehicle adoption, that figure is 22%. By contrast, electric vehicles make up only 1% of UK sales and 0.35% of Canadian sales.
Howerver, hydrogen fuelled cars still face barriers. At present there are few ways to refuel a fuel-cell-powered car.
Shell has made a start on installing hydrogen stations, having set up a partnership in Germany with industrial gas manufacturers Air Liquide and Linde, car maker Daimler and energy companies Total and OMV, to develop a network of 400 hydrogen refuelling stations by 2023. However, only three stations have been set up.
The UK government last year made £6.6m ($9.5m) available to set up 12 hydrogen refuelling stations across the UK, including new Brentford and Croydon outside London, and a mobile station that will be used across the south of England.
Despite the lack of a fuel network, production model hydrogen cars are beginnign to appear. Yesterday, 21 April, Toyota annouced that it would introduce the Mirai to the UK. The £66,000 ($95,000) four-door Mirai (it means "future" in Japanese) is part of the car maker’s plan to shift to alternative fuels as soon as possible – a decision that will be vindicated if the Netherlands enacts its law, and other countries follow suit.
So far, the city of Oslo is looking to ban private cars by 2019 and the mayor of Paris has announced that the city will be rid of diesel cars by 2020.
The process of building a hydrogen refuelling station is shown here.
Toyota’s take on the rapidly changing car industry is shown here.
Image: Toyota president Akio Toyoda and his latest product (Toyota)