Rotterdam’s Commitment to Electric Mobility

Context of Transport Climate Action

Rotterdam Municipal Executive is making progress with its Sustainability Programme, begun in 2010, and particularly with the Rotterdam Electric Programme.

The Municipal Executive is investing 31 million euros in order to achieve the green target commitments of the Electric Programme alone.


The aim of the Rotterdam Electric Programme is to support and accelerate the development of the electric mobility market, because it is recognised that electric mobility is clean and silent. To develop the market since 2010 Rotterdam’s Programme has focused on:

  • Updating its own municipal vehicle fleet with hybrid and electric vehicles, aiming at having 50% of the fleet electric by 2018
  • Expanding the city’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure to encourage the use of electric transport. In 2015 Rotterdam now has more than 1500 charging points, including several fast charging points.
  • Introducing innovative projects to stimulate market interest in electric transport. Thus, Rotterdam has set up several projects to test features such as inductive charging or smart charging in public car parks.
  • Bringing about Green Deals on zero emissions: Rotterdam already has an agreement with several urban distribution companies to achieve city-wide zero carbon-emissions by 2020


In 2012 Rotterdam embarked on an ambitious 12-month project to test the overall feasibility of electric vehicles, during which it monitored 75 electric vehicles and 129 charging points.

This project assessed the performance of fully electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, but it also focused on the efficiency of the whole chain of electric vehicle technological components, from distribution transformers to charging points.

The tank-to-wheel results showed that the electric vehicles reduced direct CO2 emissions by 67 per cent and particulate emissions by up to 20 per cent.

In addition, Rotterdam, along with its different public and private partners, tested the feasibility of electric garbage trucks, buses, delivery vans and an electric car-sharing programme. With its Green Deal partners Rotterdam is working on new zero emission ways to deliver goods in the city.

Over the last 5 years Rotterdam has, therefore, continued its successful approach towards implementing electric mobility by focusing on the:

  1. Expansion of its electric charging infrastructure:

Rotterdam Municipality provides electrical charging infrastructure according to consumer demand. If an electric vehicle owner cannot have a charging station on their property, the city will install a public charging station within 250 metres of their home or business

Rotterdam Municipality also provides charging infrastructure in its public car parking facilities.

In addition, Rotterdam Municipality has also produced a manual to help private car park owners install charging points in their facilities.

  1. Revision of its municipal fleet, favouring electric vehicles:

In 2014 the municipal fleet had 25% electric vehicles. The new challenge is to increase the whole municipal fleet by 25% clean vehicles by 2018.

  1. Funding innovative projects to attract business/private sector interest in electro mobility and new charging technology: Rotterdam’s current pilot projects include projects on smart charging, inductive charging, battery improvement, infrastructure improvement to increase the business case for charging facilities, and also pilot projects on the feasibility of electrical buses and garbage trucks.
  1. Creating Green Deals with urban logistics companies to encourage zero emission deliveries:

Together with big frontrunner freight companies such as TNT and DHL, the city aims at zero emission goods delivery in the city centre by 2020.


Due to the increase of electric driving in the Rotterdam area, the emissions of fine dust (PM), NOx, and CO2 have been significantly reduced.

It is calculated that the sum of the emissions of fine dust avoided, or saved, was 5.3 kg in 2013 and this increased to 17.7 kg in 2014.

For NOx the total emissions saved in 2013 were 538 kg, and these saved emissions increased to almost 1,100 kg in 2014.

For CO2 the saved emissions increased by a factor of more than 3, from 311 tons in 2013 to 1,130 tons in 2014.


In the figure below, it can be seen that electro mobility in the Rotterdam area increased by a factor of 3.5 in 1 year:rotterelce pic3

Potential for scaling up

This Climate Smart Action has great potential for scaling up; many countries and city authorities are considering how to accelerate the take up of electric vehicles by implementing national and city level support programmes.

The Dutch government is promoting electro mobility by offering reduced tax rates for electric and semi-electric vehicles. Private ownership of a car is taxed at a reduced rate in accordance with certain CO2-emission criteria whatever its fuel system. If a vehicle (no matter how it is fueled) emits no more than 50 grams of CO2 per kilometer, the owner is exempt from road tax.

The Rotterdam Electric Mobility Programme is being financed by the Rotterdam Municipal Executive, demonstrating their commitment to improving air quality and reducing CO2. The projects funded are an integral component of the Rotterdam Sustainability Programme. The European Union is also providing limited financial support to collaborative Europe-wide research projects under its Horizon 2020 Programme and Rotterdam continues to be an active member of several EU funded projects.

Selected references



Europe-The Netherlands






Netherlands, Technology, Passenger, Mitigation


Rotterdam Municipal Executive


"A healthy and innovative city with a strong economy is the fundament of the city of Rotterdam. We heavily worked on that the recent years and we will continue to do so the coming years as well. We are doing that by reducing the pollutants from traffic and to facilitate pedestrians, cyclists and public transport. To stimulate electric driving a first important step has been taken: the realisation of 1,400 charging points in our city”.

Pex Langenberg: Councillor Mobility, Sustainability and Culture of the City of Rotterdam