Amsterdam Faces Challenges Promoting Electric Cars

In one of the most pro-bicycling cities in the World, even electric cars are looked at as interlopers.

Published: 22-Dec-2009

AMSTERDAM -- Cars in the pinched, medieval streets at the center of this city can quickly clog traffic. The policy has been to find myriad ways to discourage them, clearing the way for more and more bicyclists.

The Dutch have tried stiff fees, a maze of prohibited lanes and other ways of outright discrimination to limit the number of cars in this antique city of arched bridges and canals. It was originally built to cater to boats.

The city's charm campaign was then shifted to bicyclists, but now officials are trying to switch gears and mount an aggressive effort to encourage people to buy new electric cars. That jibes with this country's fight against global warming, but it is also warming the tempers among cyclists. They worry that their traditional right-of-way over cars will be sideswiped by more cars and more parking ramps.

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