A public electric vehilce charging point right in front of your house and on request? – A reality in Amsterdam

A charging pole for your electric car or motorcycle right in front of your house, upon request and installed for free by the city? Sounds like a fairy tale invented by an electric vehicle fan in favour of electrifying all urban mobility? Well no, this is exactly what Amsterdam city is already doing since several years to push the city’s transition to electric driving and get it emission free by 2030.  

This good practice, which brought Amsterdam a big step forward in the electrification of the private and goods transport in the city, served the Barcelona City Council as inspiration for its own electric mobility strategy. As a start, the city intends to enhance the public charging infrastructure for electric motorcycles applying a similar demand-driven approach.

This measure is based in the assumption that a publicly available network of electric vehicle charging points is necessary to raise confidence in electric driving and increase its demand and usage. Cities therefore need to take a pro-active approach to overcome the “chicken-egg situation” between the presence of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

In Barcelona, there are already 247 public charging points for motorcycles; 174 located in public parkings and 108 located on public roads. The Electric Mobility Strategy of the Barcelona City Council foresees to further reinforce the charging infrastructure for electric motorcycles (and cars likewise) with the objective to increase the number of electric motorcycles in the city up to 24.000 by 2024. This would correspond to a share of 8% of the total number of motorcycles currently present.

One concern related to the further development of charging infrastructure is always where to install new charging poles, especially to ensure that they are used to their full potential by e-drivers and don’t end up as abandoned plugs in some hidden city corner. Amsterdam in this regard has developed a very innovative and user-centered system to enlarge its charging network.

Through an innovative long-term procurement process the city has achieved a very rapid expansion at low cost while ensuring interoperability and a maximum charging price the supplier is allowed to charge. (New) EV owners can make an online request for the installation of a charging pole, close to their home, which following an analysis and approval process by the implicated parties (City Council, grid operator, charging pole installer and operator) is set up after a maximum period of 2 months. Under this system, charging points are only installed for EV drivers who cannot park on their own premises and if already existing close-by charging poles show high occupancy rates. At the same time, the city follows the policy to not issue any additional parking permits for non-EVs. This puts additional pressure on vehicle owner to switch to electric.

This approach is applied by the Dutch capital since 2011 and has proved extremely successful. By today, Amsterdam disposes of one of the world’s most dense networks of public charging infrastructure (2.800 public charging points in 2018).

The whole system guarantees the availability of charging facilities without delays for all electric drivers at affordable rates and according to the real demand.