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29 July 2019

Tom van Dort, Province of Limburg, on e-cars

"Shared e-cars are a dream for flexible mobility"

Luckily, we are seeing more and more e-cars on the road. You can now travel further by e-car, there are more charging points, and manufacturers are producing more new models. According to Tom van Dort, who works as a policy officer at the Province of Limburg, the future looks bright for the e-car. ‘Once the prejudices about e-cars have disappeared, the number of people who want an e-car in Limburg will grow enormously. That's reason enough for us to start preparing.’

A million sustainable kilometres

The e-car is a champion of good air quality. ‘Years ago, this was already a reason for the Province of Limburg to promote the use of the e-car and to include it in its own business operations,’ says Tom. ‘People from the Limburg Electric Foundation saw the potential and managed to get a foothold for the e-car with our support. The chair of the foundation, Edward Bongers, has achieved a great deal. The goal was to realize one million sustainable kilometres, and we have already passed that marker.’ 

Total concept

However, Tom believes that they can achieve much more. ‘Eight municipalities in North Limburg are now putting a mobility concept on the market that links e-cars, e-bikes, and public transport. Market players will probably come up with a concept in which e-cars are used during the week for business trips and on weekends for other things. This will create a climate that makes it feasible for people to get rid of their own cars. Such an enormous boost in sustainability is only possible if you are on the same wavelength in terms of management. That this momentous task has been achieved there shows me that a change is taking place.'  

Prejudices

The developments that we are witnessing with the car manufacturers also inspire hope. ‘Nearly all brands are developing e-cars and plug-in hybrid models. I'm convinced that we are going to see an enormous growth in the market for electric vehicles. I also understand that policymakers often have too rosy a picture of e-cars. There are still many prejudices about the purchasing price, range, charging options, and other issues. Introduction projects therefore remain essential if people are going to consider driving e-cars. The Limburg Electric Foundation promotes e-cars for employers who want to make a change to using e-cars.’ 

Strategically placed charging points

‘Staff who tried the e-cars find them comfortable to use. But you always need to plan your trip if you can't make it there and back with one full battery. Charging takes longer than filling up your car with petrol or diesel. Most of the locations that our employees often visit are now also equipped with charging stations, which means that the car can be fully recharged during the meeting. There are actually very few issues, as most of our business trips in Limburg can be reached by e-car even though Maastricht isn't centrally located in the province. The provincial government has made an effort to assist municipalities in placing charging stations. Initially, charging points were installed mainly in response to demand, but recently more attention has been paid to the strategic installation of charging points. Because, if the e-car is going to take off as I think it will, the infrastructure has to be ready for it!’