Amsterdam: Plugging into clean transport

Amsterdam: Plugging into clean transport
Amsterdam: Plugging into clean transport   

Cars have come a long way since the introduction of the first mass-produced Model T. Today automobiles are a vital part of our lives, but as concerns grow over CO2 emissions and their impact on the environment, more and more consumers are looking for cleaner ways of getting around.

In Amsterdam, authorities believe electric cars could be the solution. The city is home to an initiative, Amsterdam Electric, seeking to encourage the uptake of electric cars amongst its residents.

An extensive charging infrastructure, an electric car sharing scheme with 'on demand' car hire company car2go, and preferential treatment when it comes to waiting lists for sought after parking spaces are all being used to drive the uptake of electric vehicles.

Father of two Florian Minderop has been living in the city for 20 years and drives an electric car. "I want my children to have a clean environment to grow up [in]," he told CNBC's Sustainable Energy.

For Minderop, there are clear benefits associated with driving an electric, rather than petrol powered, vehicle. "When you sleep you charge your car, so you always have a full tank filled with electricity instead of gasoline," he said. "In the future there will be a dense network of fast charging stations, so it will get… more convenient," he added.

Tony Avelar | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Amsterdam has set ambitious goals. By 2020, the city hopes to have 40,000 electric vehicles on its roads. If all goes to plan, by 2040 that figure could reach 200,000.

"At first it was several cars," Bart Vertelman, Project Manager for Electric Mobility in Amsterdam, told CNBC.

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"Now we have… almost 10,000 unique users in Amsterdam making use of the charging infrastructure, but it's still the beginning of the… transition to cleaner and smarter mobility in the city," he added.

Amsterdam is just one of several major cities embracing green transport.

In London, Europe's largest city, hydrogen fuel buses, electric hybrid buses and over 1,000 electric charging points highlight a commitment to going green.

It is hoped that by 2025 greenhouse gas emissions in London will be cut by 60 percent when compared to 1990 levels.