Dutch expertise on EV charging goes to California

Charging electric cars needs to become easier, safer and smarter. Dutch environment minister Vivianne Heijnen and Yana Garcia Gonzalez, Secretary for Environmental Protection of California, signed an agreement to this end today.

Image: ©RVD / RVD
Dutch environment minister Vivianne Heijnen and Yana Garcia Gonzalez, Secretary for Environmental Protection of California, sign the agreement in the presence of Her Majesty Queen Máxima, California Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, and First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom.

Experts from the Netherlands and California will work together towards better regulation and greater use of new technologies. This is necessary if by 2035 all new cars sold in the European Union and California are to be zero-emission. The agreement was signed during the Dutch trade mission to San Francisco, in the presence of Queen Máxima and California’s Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis.

‘Electric vehicles and good charging stations go together like a train and a railroad,’ Ms Heijnen said. ‘And there is still so much to gain when it comes to charging technology. It’s an area in which the Netherlands and California have considerable expertise. So, together, we can make great strides towards smarter, easier and safer charging, benefiting the climate as well as EV drivers. There are several companies with this kind of know-how in the Netherlands, which creates good economic opportunities for us.’

“When it comes to climate action, California punches above our weight. We’re working with countries around the world to cut pollution and usher in a new era of zero-emission vehicles. California and the Netherlands are proud to stand side by side in our collective efforts to advance bold climate policies and protect communities from Alameda to Amsterdam,” said Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis.

Collaboration between experts

The Netherlands and California both have major, innovative testing facilities for developing and testing the latest technologies for fast-charging, smart-charging and cybersecurity. This generates a lot of new knowledge. Experts from ElaadNL and the California Energy Commission are now going to conduct tests together and, based on their applied knowledge and experience, will advise legislators in the Netherlands, the US and the EU on incorporating cybersecurity, user-friendliness and safety requirements into new legislation. The first meeting is scheduled to take place next spring.

Specifically, the Netherlands and California want charging station companies to use the same open standards worldwide, so that drivers can use any charging station without first needing to take out a separate subscription. This will promote convenience and reduce drivers’ uncertainty, for instance when they go on holiday abroad. It will also make it easier for charging station manufacturers to market their products internationally.

Another objective is to speed up the development of smart-charging. This enables EVs to feed power from their battery back into the grid, for instance when there is a lot of demand for electricity. Increasing the grid’s peak capacity in this way could help solve the problems currently besetting the grid. However, the smarter charging stations get, the more important it is to protect them against hackers. Digital security is therefore a key precondition for smart charging technology.


The Netherlands and California both have big ambitions when it comes to electric driving. The Netherlands is a pioneer in Europe, California in the US. The Netherlands has a relatively large number of charging stations and there are also several businesses that manufacture and operate them commercially, at home and elsewhere, including in the US. Products and services related to electric driving, such as the manufacture and sale of charging stations, contribute some €5 billion a year to the Dutch national income.

As a frontrunner in electric driving in the US, California is also home to many companies that make EV components and charging stations.

Circular economy and climate adaptation

For many years now the Netherlands and California have been working together in a wide variety of fields. In their Memorandum of Understanding, they also agree to expand their ongoing collaboration in the areas of circular economy, sustainability and climate adaptation. To this end, an action programme will be presented later this year.

Secretary Yana Garcia: “Today, the entire West is in the grips of what may be the hottest and longest September heat wave ever recorded, exacerbating wildfires and drought. This is just the latest reminder of how real the climate crisis is, and how it is impacting the everyday lives of Californians and people around the world. I am honored to be here today with our partners from the Netherlands, where we are doubling-down on our commitment to building resilience to this new reality and prioritizing the protection of our most vulnerable communities. We’re making the most aggressive push on climate this state has ever seen, because what we do today will be felt for generations – and the impact will spread far beyond our borders.”

First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom:  “The partnership between California and the Netherlands has come at a critical moment for us as a global community. We may not be able to undo all of the harms that have been done to our planet, but we can make better, climate smart decisions going forward. That’s what this MOU with the Netherlands is about, and our hope is that it will also serve as a model, demonstrating that when it comes to protecting our communities, our planet, and our future, no one state or nation can or should lead in a silo. We are stronger together.”