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Making the Market: The Transformation Pathway to Electric Car Mobility in the Netherlands

Marc Dijk (Maastricht University, Netherlands)

Electrifying Mobility: Realising a Sustainable Future for the Car

ISBN: 978-1-83982-635-1, eISBN: 978-1-83982-634-4

Publication date: 17 October 2022


This chapter explains how electric driving has been transforming car mobility in The Netherlands since 1990, highlighting the role of a specific Dutch policy mix as direct factor, and the conditions through which this policy mix came about as indirect factors. The analysis is based on triangulation of findings from three methods: (1) discourse analysis of national newspapers and online blogs to understand the changing meanings of car mobility as well as changing stakeholder competences; (2) interview analysis with Dutch stakeholders to understand policy effects as well as their changing competences; and (3) analysis of relevant documents that provide the numbers of vehicles sold, implemented infrastructures and policy instruments. The study describes market changes in terms of ‘reconfiguring’ (entangled) practices of Dutch motorists, vehicle manufacturers and policy-makers, constituted by the (changing) relations between meanings, materialities, competences and policy incentives. The analysis finds a gradual reconfiguration of car mobility in three stages: The hegemony of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) mobility (1990–2008), Surge in Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) mobility (2009–2015), and Surge in full-electric mobility (2016–2020). The analysis shows that the specific Dutch policy incentives were critical to orchestrating the co-evolution of ICE-based and electric mobility towards low-carbon alternatives, that is, towards more electrification. The policy mix was adapted in three successive steps, in which inconsistencies towards electric mobility (e-mobility) were solved, entailing three distinct reconfiguration pathways in each period. The relatively strong policy incentives for e-mobility in The Netherlands can be explained by the absence of an established car industry as well as particular air quality challenges in cities (triggering local support for the provision of charging infrastructure). The conclusion includes policy recommendations for countries that seek to promote e-mobility, although further research should clarify how contextual differences require specific elements in the policy mix.



Dijk, M. (2022), "Making the Market: The Transformation Pathway to Electric Car Mobility in the Netherlands", Parkhurst, G. and Clayton, W. (Ed.) Electrifying Mobility: Realising a Sustainable Future for the Car (Transport and Sustainability, Vol. 15), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 71-95.



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