When it comes to electric-car adoption, a supportive government willing to offer significant incentives is often one of the most effective ways to get these cars in driveways.

The Netherlands appears to be joining the cadre of electric-car-friendly countries, with a goal of having 200,000 plug-in electric cars on its roads by 2020, and has incentives in place that could make that happen.

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Like Norway--which is considered by many to be the friendliest country for electric cars--conditions the Netherlands has the proper conditions for an influx of plug-ins--including a centralized population with short average commuting distances, and general support for policies to curtail carbon emissions--as well as some of Europe's highest gas prices.

2014 BMW i3 (German-market version), Amsterdam, Oct 2013

2014 BMW i3 (German-market version), Amsterdam, Oct 2013

To actually get people to trade in their internal-combustion vehicles, the Dutch government has created significant tax breaks for plug-in car purchases and charging station installation, as detailed in a recent Navigant Research blog post.

The government offers a tax rebate of 7,000 to 10,000 euros, or about $8,700 to $12,500 at current exchange rates. Plug-ins used as company cars are also exempt from an income tax of up to $5,000 annually.

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Providing tax breaks for company cars is particularly significant because they comprise a large portion of the vehicles on Dutch roads.

In addition, the government provides incentives for the installation of charging stations, helping the Netherlands reach a total of 9.5 million operating stations as of October 2014.

The electric-car tax incentives seem to be working, too.

Taxi Electric Tesla Model S taxi in Amsterdam

Taxi Electric Tesla Model S taxi in Amsterdam

Plug-in cars have accounted for approximately 4 percent of new-car sales in the Netherlands so far in 2014. Navigant says it's one of only three countries--along with Norway and Estonia--that have broken the 1 percent barrier for electric-car sales.

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There are currently an estimated 32,000 electric cars on Dutch roads. That's a long way from 200,000, but the country is expected to reach its goal--a year early, in fact.

From there, the Netherlands hopes to have 1 million plug-ins on its roads by 2025. It will need to maintain its current momentum to reach that lofty goal.


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