How The New Motion is making Amsterdam a city of electric cars?
My son said the other day, “Daddy, what’s that sound the camera on your phone makes when you take a picture?” He’s never seen a normal camera. Our dream is that our kids don’t even know what it is to drive with petrol.’ So says Sander Ouwerkerk, CEO of The New Motion and evangelising advocate of electric vehicles, or EVs.
His ideal sounds like a 1960s comic-book vision of the future, with electric cars quietly humming along the streets. And in Amsterdam, that vision is coming true. In 2013, 5.3% of all new vehicle registrations in the Netherlands were electric or electric and petrol hybrids, the second highest proportion in the world, narrowly behind Norway.The New Motion has 10,000 charging points across the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany that keep the electric fleet running. It provides a scheme for using public charging points and also sells personal chargers for the home. A green certification plan means that any money you pay for electricity goes to sustainable-energy providers. Within the Amsterdam ring road, you are never more than 2km from a public charging point.
About New Motion
The New Motion was founded by software entrepreneur Alef Arendsen and banker Risaart van Montfrans in 2009, with Ouwerkerk acting as an adviser before becoming CEO in the summer of 2013. By late 2014, the workforce had reached 90 and was rapidly rising. ‘The municipality has realised that clean air is something that is important to society,’ says Ouwerkerk, ‘and they have been a great partner to work with on the introduction of EVs, starting with the vehicle charging infrastructure.’
In addition to The New Motion, Amsterdam has an electric vehicle rental scheme called Car2Go and a fleet of several hundred electric taxis. But good intentions will only get electric cars so far. Ultimately, users are concerned about cost, ease-of-use and driving experience.
Here, Ouwerkerk insists, the driving public are being won over: ‘Once people start driving EVs, their repurchase intent of another EV is 95%. It’s such a superb experience driving a car like the electric Tesla that people choose it for the sheer joy,’ he says. ‘Battery prices are coming down fast and then you get to the tipping point where it’s more fun to drive and it’s cheaper. So why would your next car have a combustion engine?’ A little later, silently cruising around the inner canals of Amsterdam in a bright blue electric Tesla, it becomes clear that he may have a point. We make less noise than the passing bicycles, and it’s a little like driving around in a comic-book vision of the future.
Read full testimonial here.