Edition 2021

Foto omschrijving: Small child in an electric toy car passing cafés, father behind him with remote control

How many electric cars are driving around?

On 1 January 2021, there were 174 thousand registered fully electric cars in the Netherlands, which is 67 thousand (63 percent) more than a year earlier. The number of plug-in hybrid vehicles rose by 9 percent to over 99 thousand. Most plug-in electric vehicles are still company cars, but private ownership is increasing.

How many electric cars are driving around?2017109,0002021273,0002020198,0002019139,0002018119,000

On 1 January 2021, there were a total of more than 273 thousand plug-in electric vehicles, i.e. 38 percent up on the previous year. Plug-in electric vehicles are passenger cars with an electric motor and a battery that can be recharged by plugging it into an external power source. They comprise both fully electric vehicles (FEVs), solely driven by an electric motor (and emission-free), and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). The latter type contains a conventional fuel engine in addition to the electric motor. At the beginning of 2021, 3.1 percent of the total passenger car fleet in the Netherlands were plug-in cars.

Plug-in electric vehicles, 1 January (x 1,000)
jaar Fully electric vehicles (FEV) Plug-in hybrids (PHEV)
2015 7.4 36.8
2016 10.0 76.3
2017 13.7 95.7
2018 21.8 97.3
2019 44.7 93.9
2020 106.6 91.0
2021 174.0 99.3

Ever more electric cars in private hands

Plug-in electric vehicles have become increasingly popular among private consumers in the past year. The share of plug-in electric cars in private ownership has increased from 27 percent at the beginning of 2020 to 36 percent at the start of 2021. However, most plug-in electric vehicles are still company cars (64 percent). In early 2021, as much as 78 percent of the fully electric cars were owned by businesses. The number of fully electric passenger cars grew strongly last year (63 percent), while the number of private owners doubled and the number of business owners grew by 55 percent.

As for plug-in hybrids, private owners outnumbered business owners for the first time in early 2021. The number of plug-in hybrids with private owners rose by 78 percent in one year, while the number of business owners fell by 32 percent.

Through the Subsidy Scheme for Electric Cars for Private Individuals (SEPP), private individuals can receive a subsidy for the purchase of a new or used electric car. There are also schemes for business drivers that make electric driving attractive. For instance, business drivers with a fully electric car will pay an additional tax liability of 8 percent, compared to 22 percent for a petrol or diesel car, and they are exempt from motor vehicle tax.

Plug-in electric vehicles by ownership, 1 January (x 1,000)
Categorie 2021 2020
Plug-in electric (total) . .
Business 174.8 144.6
Private 98.5 53.0
Fully electric (FEV) . .
Business 136.2 87.7
Private 37.8 18.8
Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) . .
Business 38.6 56.8
Private 60.8 34.2

Increasing share of plug-in electric cars in new car sales

In 2020, almost 90 thousand new plug-in electric carsnoot1 were sold, which is up 32 percent relative to 2019. The majority of them, more than 73 thousand, were fully electric. This represents a growth of 17 percent compared to a year previously. Overall, fewer new cars (all fuel types) were sold in 2020 than in 2019. The share of plug-in electric cars in new sales rose from 15 percent in 2019 to 24 percent in 2020.

New sales of FEVs to business owners peaked in December 2020. As of 1 January 2021, the additional tax liability for fully electric cars was raised from 8 percent to 12 percent. Of the fully electric cars sold to private individuals, two-thirds were sold in the second half of 2020, after the SEPP subsidy scheme took effect on 1 July.

In addition to fully electric cars, over 16 thousand plug-in hybrids were sold, three times as many as in 2019. Of the plug-in hybrids sold, 43 percent were purchased by a private individual.

New fully electric car sales, 2020 (x 1,000)
maand Business Private
Jan 0.86 0.75
Feb 1.63 1.26
Mar 2.83 1.21
Apr 1.18 0.41
May 1.09 0.34
Jun 1.95 0.94
Jul 2.08 1.88
Aug 2.70 1.66
Sep 4.63 1.58
Oct 5.47 1.79
Nov 6.17 1.38
Dec 27.75 1.69

The questions


New plug-in electric vehicles

This includes all registered plug-in electric cars less than one year old. On 1 January 2021 this included all plug-in electric vehicles manufactured in 2020. In addition to new sales, vehicles built in 2020 are also included from stock-in-trade and vehicles imported or scrapped during 2020.


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Concept & image editor

Irene van Kuik


Janneke Hendriks

Richard Jollie

Hendrik Zuidhoek


Ronald van der Bie

Annelie Hakkenes-Tuinman

Michel van Kooten

Sidney Vergouw

Paul de Winden

Karolien van Wijk

Gert Jan Wijma


Frans Dinnissen

Gaby de Vet

Taalcentrum VU

Final editor

Elma Wobma

We thank all CBS colleagues who have contributed to this edition of The Netherlands in numbers.