A plain text version of the speech can be found here.
Dear Mr. Broadbent and Miss Avdis, dear keynote speakers, representatives from business, academia and government, dear Smart e-Mobility delegation.
It is my distinct pleasure to address this seminar.
Our host, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, has put together an interesting program that shows their commitment to improving air quality.
Clean air is a fundamental aspect of a quality life. This is no different whether you live here or in the Amsterdam Metropolitan Region.
Both California and the Netherlands have decided to combat climate change. And they have implemented major policies that should result in more liveable cities.
As a result, California is leading in the US. And the Netherlands is one of the leading countries in Europe in the field of zero-emission electric vehicles. In November last year, the Netherlands passed the mark of 100.000 full electric and hybrid vehicles. And in December, I published, on behalf of the Dutch government, a policy paper describing our route to a low-carbon economy in 2050. Our goal is to stop selling new personal fossil fuel cars in the Netherlands by 2035. To reach this goal, we will continue to have tax incentives for e-vehicles.
But, most of all, we will focus on the availability of charging infrastructure, both along highways and roads and on private and business locations.
In order to reach our ambitious goals, international cooperation is crucial.
Please bear in mind that the Netherlands neighbor Germany, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. We have a close cooperation with our biggest neighbor, Germany. And we are working on complete interoperability for electric vehicles within the European Union.
German car manufacturers and Dutch suppliers of charging systems are working together closely to build a common charging infrastructure.
Recently, a German and a Dutch roaming platform, two of the five largest in Europe, entered a new alliance for services in the field of electric transport. We are also seeing good examples in the field of hydrogen for road transport. I am thinking, for instance, of the initiative launched by Mercedes-Benz and Shell to build hundreds of hydrogen filling stations along roads and at intersections, and to do so across borders.
One technology – based on batteries – does not exclude the other – based on hydrogen. It is especially necessary in the phase of the transition from fossil to sustainable fuels to use all available options. Each of them should therefore be given the chance to prove itself.
Further to this, the Dutch government sees great potential for automated driving and self-driving cars, as part of the transition towards an efficient, inclusive and sustainable mobility system.
With that in mind, we feel strongly about enabling developers to test new systems in real life. At the moment, it is possible to test automated driving systems nationwide. This is due to the innovative approach of the Dutch Road Transport Authority, which is also responsible for the EU-wide approval of Tesla’s vehicles. And you must know, Tesla cars are very popular in the Netherlands - they are considered an icon of success and regarded as sexy cars.
Transport legislation planned for next year in the Netherlands will go one step further, allowing tests without a driver inside the vehicle.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Netherlands has a reputation as a country with excellent infrastructure and excellent conditions for international business. For those reasons, Tesla chose our country for its European headquarters and assembly site. In Tilburg, they are assembling all European Tesla cars.
And of course, we want to team up with your experts and industries here in California. So that our companies can learn from your companies and vice versa!
For these reasons, my Ministry is supporting our trans-Atlantic collaboration through the Coast to Coast Smart e-Mobility program, in short S4C.
S4C brings together the leaders and experts from both our states to work together on the solutions that we need for a sustainable future. It is unique in the sense that business, academia and governments are jointly working together. They are creating new business opportunities, such as autonomous transportation by TNO - the Dutch knowledge institute -, as well as cutting-edge academic research like the Stella Lux. I drove in this car yesterday at the Laguna Secca raceway. It’s an amazing solar car with a range of 1.000 kilometers.
As a proof of our commitment to cooperation, I am pleased to make 10 million dollars available for the Coast to Coast Sustainable Impact Finance [C2C SIF] program. This amount will be matched by private Dutch investors with another 10 million. These funds will be made available for Californian and Dutch businesses active in the Netherlands and California on smart and e-mobility.
The California Government is opening its Loan and Guarantee program for Dutch Companies wanting to invest in this state. It is, therefore, with great pleasure that later today I will sign an agreement with my colleague Miss Avdis.
I am grateful to her and the Governor’s Office for the many years we have worked together. And I look forward to making the new finance program another successful collaboration between California and the Netherlands.
In that same spirit, I want to thank you, the Smart e-Mobility experts. You have gathered here to determine our common agenda and path forward. To work together, and that is important. Cooperation is the key - it’s the Dutch way: to work together as knowledge institutes, companies, and governments, on tangible results
I am convinced the S4C program will create tangible results based on this agenda for the future. I wish you all a successful conference today and summit tomorrow.
You have the important task of creating smart and clean transportation solutions for tomorrow.
I look forward to hearing about your common agenda and your results in the years to come!