Dutch double dipping: EVs save taxes at home, and then again abroad


Europe’s Netherlands used to be famous for a libertine approach to sex and drugs, recently, the country became Europe’s showcase for electric vehicles. Plugins hold a market share of around 5 percent in the country, EV Sales says. The true rate is a little lower. A lot of the (always imported) electric cars leave the low-country right after they are bought.

When first news of the brisk business with plug-ins emerged, websites like EVobsession thought “there are some cultural reasons why sales might be so atypical here. For one, the Netherlands has a tremendous bicycle culture. A huge percentage of resident bike for transportation.” The reason is much simpler: Money.

The high rate of EVs in the Netherlands is due to generous tax breaks and subsidies. The Dutch government makes electric car ownership tax-advantageous. Cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam pay up to 5000 euros in subsidies per purchase.

However, about twelve percent of the highly subsidized electric cars leave the country, data provided by VWE (a Dutch datahouse) to the Financieele Dagblad show. The primary purchasers are Norwegians. In Norway, EVs again are subsidized. Owners of plug-in electric cars in Norway also are exempted from paying road tolls. Besides Norwegians, Russians and German are also major buyers of the Dutch-subsidized electric cars.