It's not all peaceful windmills and gorgeous tulips in the Netherlands. There's fighting on the plug-in vehicle front. Dutch gas-station owners are taking a less-then beatific-attitude to the country's recent agreement to expand its network of electric-vehicle charging stations. In short, they're suing.

Owners of 26 gas stations are taking the Dutch government to court, saying that the more than 200 charging stations earmarked for the country's highways qualify as "refueling" centers, the Netherlands' NOS reports. As a result, those stations, which get government incentives and may be able to open shops, represent what the gas-station owners say is unfair competition, especially if they pull business from existing stations.

In 2011, the Dutch government chose a company called Fastned to set up a charging infrastructure with more than 200 stations, giving all of the country's nearly 17 million inhabitants access to a public outlet within a 30-mile drive. Fastned recently tapped ABB, the world's largest maker of power-transmission gear, to supply the chargers, which will start being installed in September.

While the Netherlands' EV market is considered nascent relative to countries like the US, the government is trying to expand adoption through programs such as EV-purchase incentives and the provision of free charging in cities like Amsterdam.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 12 Comments
      Tysto
      • 2 Years Ago
      Using a picture of a canal to illustrate a story about Dutch highway gas stations is like using a picture of tacos to illustrate a story about Mexican crime rates.
        DaveMart
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Tysto
        Perhaps the picture is appropriate if this scheme goes ahead: ' Dutch engineers have unveiled plans for a £7.4 billion underground city providing one million square feet of underground retail, leisure and parking facilities. "There has always been a lack of space in the city, so what we are doing is building a city under the city by using a new construction technique, which will not interfere with street traffic," said Moshe Zwarts, a partner at the architects Zwarts & Jansma. Residents of the historic houses that line Amsterdam's central canals have to wait up to seven years for parking permits and a garage space can cost as much as £74,000. Property prices, once a bargain in the Dutch city that is the cultural and commercial capital of the Netherlands, are also soaring. The price of an apartment in the De Pijp district which cost £90,000 in 1999, has risen nine years later to £223,000 or more. The one-way streets, on either side of Amsterdam's waterways, are also feeling the strain of overcrowding, and traffic is frequently thrown into chaos for hours by delivery vans and rubbish collectors. Amsterdam was originally built on drained, swampy marshland and many of the classic Dutch gabled houses along its canals are still precariously supported by underground wooden beams. To find space for new developments, the Dutch engineers have decided it is easier to build in the clay under the canals. Under the plans, canal water will be temporarily pumped out in order to start construction beneath. "Amsterdam sits on a 30-metre layer of waterproof clay which will be used together with concrete and sand to make new walls," said Mr Zwarts. "Once we have resealed the canal floor, we will be able to carry on working underneath while pouring water back into the canals. It's an easy technique and it doesn't create issues with drilling noises on the streets."' http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1578139/New-underground-city-planned-for-Amsterdam.html So the Dutch would park their electric cars under the canals of Amsterdam.
      Electron
      • 2 Years Ago
      Goes to show that proper definitions do matter. If the gas station operators only have exclusive rights to sell fuels than they are out of luck because electricity isn't a fuel, it's what fuel gets turned into after a (usually) chemical reaction: energy. Maybe the oil lobby doesn't have a very strong case to undermine plug-ins in the Netherlands after all.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ah . . . petty litigation. Europe really wants to be like the USA. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. ;-)
        Electron
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        It's in fact eerily reminiscent of the lawfare Tesla is facing from the dealer associations. Vested interests will go to war when newcomers threaten their business.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      ''26 service stations have filed the lawsuit, centering on whether these charging points constitute "fuel", and are therefore governed by the same regulations (and need to incur the same costs, rather than being offered space for free) as the filling stations. If they aren't, then the stations may represent unfair competition, with service operators particularly concerned that third parties will open competing shops and reduce business. If they are, then the location of new charging points at service stations would go against previous agreements, giving service station operators exclusive rights to charging posts. The issue here then isn't that service stations don't want electric car charging at all--more that they don't want an increasing body of electric car owners spending their money elsewhere.' http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1085499_is-electricity-fuel-dutch-gas-stations-sue-to-stop-electric-car-charging
        Electron
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Note that apparently gas station owners have so far haven't shown any interest in installing charging points so far at all in the Netherlands, yet they are quick to go to court to block third party efforts to do so. So I don't think this is about shop sales, which is not even part of Fastned's intentions as far as I'm aware off.
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wicked men
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      They should turn this around on them and say "OK, you are telling us that electricity is a fuel. So if electricity is a fuel and if you want to keep your exclusive contract then you have install fast-chargers at all your gas stations or else your lose your exclusive contract to provide fuel."
        Letstakeawalk
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        That same reasoning would force them to install hydrogen pumps, CNG, E/B100, etc...
          Spec
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Sure . . . if someone wants to sell those then let them. Give the existing gas stations a chance to go first but if they decline then let others in. I don't think there is as much call for those though. Maybe CNG.
          DaveMart
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Places like the Netherlands and Germany already have an extensive network of CNG.
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