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Seminar: Electrifying Mobility in Metropolitan Regions – Current practices from the Netherlands

Dr. Peter van Deventer will be presenting as part of the mechanical engineering seminar series.
Friday, February 1, 2013, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
E001 Scott Lab
201 W. 19th Ave.


Electric driving (or e-mobility) is emerging as a cleaner, quieter and more efficient alternative form of mobility. According to many reports of major banks, research institutes, universities, governments and NGO’s, a major shift towards electric mobility is expected in the coming 20 to 30 years.

The World Bank estimates the "new global electric vehicle value chain" to be worth $250B by 2020. Deutsche Bank foresees a rapid growth of EV’s and predicts a steep decline of battery prices in the coming years. EPRI forecasts steep plug-in electric vehicle adoption; ranging from 3 million by 2020 to 15 million by 2030 (low scenario) and 12 million by 2020 to 65 million by 2030 (high scenario).

Dutch institutes like PBL predict that 90% of miles driven in Netherlands will be in electric vehicles in 2050. Similarly, ECN and TNO predict that roughly between 2020 and 2040 a significant change from traditional "fossil fueled" transportation to electric powered vehicles will have taken place.

Furthermore, all major car manufacturers are currently developing or have already developed fully electric and plug-in hybrid models. Auto Shows without electric vehicles can not be found anymore. In addition, first consumer test markets are initiated in the US (e.g. San Francisco, Portland, San Diego, Houston) and The Netherlands (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Brabant). Investments are made in knowledge, (fast charging) infrastructure and advertisements. Integration of charging infrastructure and usage of electric cars, bicycles and trains has started.

However, many challenges are still ahead for a successful introduction, a large scale adoption of electric vehicles and a sustainable growth of e-mobility. Although the range, reliability and availability of electric cars have increased in recent years and although the price of batteries is expected to drop, studies suggest that governments have a decisive influence on the development of electric mobility, especially in the realization of charging stations and the leveraging of innovation. For instance a reliable, safe and network of charging points for electric vehicles is essential.

Based on empirical policy research it is concluded that the introduction of e-mobility and the harvesting of its economic potential is a “ wicked policy problem” as both the technological complexity and multi-actor complexity are high. According to NSOB, it is not just the lack of sufficient infrastructure or investments into battery technology. It is also the lack of symbolic values and links, the inability to mobilize unexpected third parties and new actors, the lack of regional branding, the need for re-framing, the need to invest in vital coalitions and the need to organize open path deployment and stimulation of innovation.

Therefore, knowledge sharing and network development is essential. Developing and learning from best practices is crucial. Furthermore, e-mobility needs to be aligned with regional planning, and the larger arena of transportation policies, road maintenance and asset management. Until now hardly any research has been done on this issue.

Finally, public private cooperation on the introduction of e-mobility is essential due to the fact that the innovation needed is particularly generated by small companies. However, they typically lack the investment power to explore the possibilities of setting up business and to develop the market.

To address these challenges “pioneer mentality” and innovation is much needed. Through smart cooperation between metropolitan regions, identification of new businesses opportunities and stimulation of new markets, e-mobility can obtain a stronger market position.

Dr. Peter van Deventer will highlight the efforts undertaken by Metropolitan Regions in The Netherlands. He will also identify opportunities for the e-mobility sector and he will argue the need for public private partnerships to promote knowledge exchange. In addition, Dr. Peter van Deventer will share his views and advise for “e-Ohio”.


Dr. Peter van Deventer, a native and resident of The Netherlands, received his BSc (1986) and MSc (1988) from Wageningen Agricultural University and his PhD from The Ohio State University (1992). Peter has worked, studied and lived in Europe, Africa and the US. He has worked for two universities (5 years) , for an Engineering company (7 years) and for a local and regional government (12+ years); all mainly on the crossroads of engineering, innovation and leadership.

Since 2009, Dr. Peter van Deventer has been involved in research regarding the introduction of electric vehicles. He has given numerous (international) presentations on this subject and he has written various publications including two booklets.

Currently, the Dutch national government has asked Dr. Peter van Deventer to lead the e-mobility knowledge and innovation exchange program between the US and The Netherlands:

Hosted by Professor Giorgio Rizzoni