How a visit to Amsterdam offers a glimpse into the future of electrification
Last month, Adamas Intelligence managing director, Ryan Castilloux, was in Amsterdam – our former European hub. Amsterdam, with its densely populated neighborhoods, narrow streets, limited parking and big appetite for urban convenience, is a European testbed for innovation at the frontier of electrification and as such offers a glimpse into the future of what other cities may expect in time.
With EVs capturing 50% of the Dutch market last year, it’s not surprising that electric vehicles are literally everywhere. If you ride in three taxis or Ubers during your time in Amsterdam, there’s a good chance you’ll ride in three different EVs.
Chinese OEMs are making a mark. For years, it’s been common to see China-made electric buses (lots of BYD) cruising the highways and byways of the Netherlands. Today, however, it’s becoming increasingly common to see China-made passenger cars as well. And not just cars – Chinese OEMs are setting up stores as well. Nio in particular is opening a flagship store on Amsterdam’s Leidsestraat – a main pedestrian artery that virtually every tourist that visits the city (and many locals) will frequent.
Low speed EVs may have died in China but they are thriving in Amsterdam. Tiny electric two-seaters that drive on the city’s bike paths, don’t need license plates, and can park on the sidewalk are scattered throughout the city – and sensibly so. With a roof over your head for the inevitable rain and ease to get around and park, low speed EVs are a great option for some cities.
Innovative last-mile EVs are also everywhere. In the highly touristed squares and alleys of Amsterdam, it’s extremely challenging for delivery vehicles to reach the restaurants and cafes they need to service daily. This has led to the development and adoption of a wide range of ‘last-mile’ focused EVs (picture an electric scooter pulling a scaled down shipping container) that can better navigate the foot traffic and efficiently reach their destinations.
While Amsterdam offers a rich glimpse into the widespread possibilities that electrification offers, not everything would be as applicable or practical in other regions, like the U.S., Australia or Canada.
That said – Amsterdam is evidence that electrified solutions can be tailored for just about any specific need – be it the tight confines of European streets, or the long spreads of North America, and perhaps that is the most poignant takeaway of the trip.
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