The world’s first electric road?

A project to create the world’s first ‘sustainable motorway’ has been launched in the Netherlands by two environmental organisations, T&E members Milieudefensie and Natuur & Milieu.

The aim is to turn the A15 motorway, which runs from the port of Rotterdam to the east of the Netherlands, into a stretch of road used by a large number of electric vehicles, all powered by electricity from renewable sources which is generated along the motorway’s corridor. But it is hoped the users will also be the producers. The philosophy is to create a community of solar and wind energy production along the A15 in which local residents and companies can participate, perhaps by putting solar panels on their houses or by investing in a wind farm or starting a wind farm owned and run by the local community
 
The initiative, known as Project A15, is being funded by money from the country’s National Postcode Lottery. By 2015, the two NGOs want 40,000 people to own or share an electric vehicle powered by the sun or wind energy from turbines alongside the A15. 
 
Sandra Nap of Natuur & Milieu said: ‘Our dream is to create a community of people contributing to a practical way of reducing air pollution caused by cars. We want to make sure that joining is easy, to explain that exchanging a petrol car for an electric car is not difficult but simple and fun, that people can share cars if they don’t need their own car all the time, or even rent one for a holiday or short period.’ 
 
Project A15 is seeking to create a community of electric car users, and one of the initiatives is called Testrijders Team Trial.  Thirty-five entrepreneurs, companies and individuals in the A15 corridor own an electric car, and their goal is to share it as much as possible. Each of them will create their own community of users with whom they can interact through an interactive website.
 
On 20 September, Project A15 will go nationwide with National Plug-in Day. This day is designed to give people the chance to experience electric cars. People will be able to drive an electric car belonging to their neighbour or friend, have driving lessons in electric cars, have car sharing explained, and there will be a clean car rally in 10 cities.
 
Natuur & Milieu’s latest initiative is the launch of its own leasing deal for consumers and small businesses. It has also launched a project on best use of plug-in hybrids and initiated research on car sharing with universities.
 
For more details, watch this video.