There is the affordable electric car, now the charging stations
Gone are the days when electric cars were green indulgences for the wealthy self-employed. An unseen offensive of affordable plug-in cars will herald the real breakthrough.
16,990 euros. That is the new price of a fossil fuel city car such as the Ford Fiesta or the Peugeot 208. But also of the cheapest fully electric car on the Belgian market, the Dacia Spring. It will appear in showrooms in the fall and the manufacturer promises that a full battery will take you up to 230 kilometers. Not an immense range, but the Spring is not immediately the car to whiz to the Méditerranée without stopping. Rather, it is intended as a second car or as a pool car in a company fleet.
The Dacia is one of many examples of the deluge of electric cars appearing on the Belgian market this year. In addition to very expensive top models, such as the Mercedes-Benz EQS (which will cost more than 100,000 euros), this year it is mainly electric cars that are also increasingly able to compete in price with their variants with a diesel or petrol engine.
Last year, the choice of electric cars was still limited to 40, but by the end of this year there will be more than 200. Each volume brand now has one or more models in its range. Across the EU, 2 million electric cars are expected to be sold this year, almost twice as many as in 2020.
> range 255 km
> price 36,200 euros
> now on sale
The first copies of the Volkswagen ID.3 appeared on the road at the end of last year: a car that is at least as important to the German brand as the Beetle was to the post-war VW. With a starting price of 36,000 euros, the model should become the electric volume model for Volkswagen.
Investors also discovered last week that Volkswagen is fully focusing on the electric car. After a presentation on the company’s battery strategy, the share shot up nearly 20 percent in a few days. The Wolfsburg car manufacturer is still seen as a real competitor for the Californian Tesla.
Renault Twingo Electric
> range 190 km
> price 19,850 euros
> now on sale
With the construction of six battery factories and the development of cheap but less powerful batteries for entry-level electric models, it should be possible that by 2030, seven out of every ten cars sold in the EU of the VW group (including Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Skoda) , Seat, Lamborghini) drive purely on electricity.
BMW announced on Wednesday that half of its sales will be e-cars by 2050. Jaguar Land Rover promises to have completely banned the combustion engine from its range of luxury British cars within 15 years. Ford will stop selling petrol or diesel-powered cars in Europe by 2030 at the latest. Volvo is doing a similar thing. Meanwhile, despite the patchwork of different tax rules, Europe is the largest market for electric cars.
> range 424 km
> price 49,973 euros
> now on sale
The electrical voluntarism of the car manufacturers has not come about without some external pressure. In 2025, the very strict Euro 7 emissions standard will be mandatory for new cars in Europe. This is so strict that many consider it a de facto ban on cars with an internal combustion engine only.
In addition, pioneer Norway will ban the sale of new cars with only combustion engines from 2025. Great Britain will follow in 2030. In the same year, you can only enter Paris with an emission-free car.
Last week, Federal Minister of Energy Tinne Van der Straeten (Groen), together with eight of her European colleagues, launched an appeal to the European Commission to choose a clear end date for the sale of new cars with an internal combustion engine. There, too, the year 2030 seems to herald the end of the classic car engine.
> price 81,200 euros
> from November
It is certain that the electrification of the vehicle fleet in our country will receive an enormous boost on 1 January 2026. If the federal government keeps its word, from then on only emission-free (read: electric) cars will be subject to the favorable tax regime that is now making company cars immensely popular.
The current federal government has yet to work out the details. For example, it is not yet clear whether plug-in hybrids will still fall under a favorable regime.
For the real breakthrough in the private market, you need a car with a battery life of 500 kilometers and a price of 20,000 euros.
The sector is not afraid that the new scheme will kill the salary car. “The market will be ready,” says Frank Van Gool, general manager of the federation of car lease companies Renta. Just look at the model offensive, not only by the German premium brands, but also by the South Koreans, for example. We do need to know quickly what the conditions are for continuing to benefit from favorable taxation. ‘
These new regulations can have a huge effect: half of the 500,000 new cars registered annually in our country are company cars. If the ‘salary car’ retains its popularity, that means about a quarter of a million new electric cars on Belgian roads every year. And they all have to charge.
> price not yet known, in the US $ 54,000
That is currently the last major obstacle to the breakthrough of the electric car. Until now, electric cars were mainly bought by people with a fixed private parking space for their car at home and at work, so installing a charging installation was no problem.
But city residents without a fixed parking space have to rely on publicly accessible charging stations near their home. There, Belgium and Flanders are lagging behind enormously. Flanders had 4,262 public charging points at the end of last year.
This is in stark contrast to the Netherlands, where there are already almost 69,000. Only the capital Amsterdam has 3,700, almost as many as the whole of Flanders. In the Flemish recovery plan of 4.3 billion euros, 30 million euros has been set aside for improving the charging infrastructure in the region.
> price 40,000 – 45,000 euros
This should help increase the number of charging points in Flanders by 30,000 by 2025. And since this week, it is mandatory for new construction in Flanders to take into account the possible installation of a charging point for electric cars.
Flanders may still be lagging behind in charging station infrastructure, but an asset compared to other countries is the major role of the commercial vehicle market.
‘Yes, we are at a tipping point with electric cars. Especially in the professional market. The slightly higher purchase price is offset by tax incentives and the price per kilometer is also lower, especially if you charge at home or at work. In 2025, I expect that a quarter to a third of the new commercial vehicles will be electric, ‘says Michel Martens, head of the research department of the automotive sector federation Febiac.
Leasing prices of electric cars are falling rapidly towards those of diesel or gasoline variants of the same model.
It will take a little longer for private individuals, Martens thinks. ‘For a real breakthrough in the private market you need a car with a battery life of 500 kilometers and a price of around 20,000 euros. Then people are no longer afraid that they will end up on the road with a flat battery and the car will be affordable for a wide range of the population. But that autonomy is actually not an issue for most people: in our country, cars only travel 50 kilometers a day on average. ‘
Of the 15,000 electric cars sold in our country last year, more than 80 percent (12,000 cars) were registered as company cars. This year, that number could rise to 25,000, according to Renta director Van Gool. “This rapid increase is due to the growing supply and because the lease prices of electric cars are falling rapidly to those of diesel or petrol variants of the same model,” says Van Gool. A few years ago, mainly expensive Teslas, with associated lease rates, were registered as company cars.
There was also uncertainty on the second-hand market about the residual value of electric cars: is the battery not completely worn out after the first 100,000 kilometers? That turns out to be not so bad, and that drives up the residual values. ‘In the meantime, there is no longer any difference: electric cars are generally depreciated just as quickly as cars with a petrol or diesel engine,’ says Van Gool.
All this means that electric cars in the lease market are almost comparable in price to cars with an internal combustion engine. Van Gool gives an example. The electric Volkswagen ID.3 is comparable to the Volkswagen Golf. Based on a contract of 25,000 kilometers per year with a term of four years, an ID.3 now costs around 500 euros per month. For a Golf with a diesel engine, that is 460 euros. But that still doesn’t blow the combustion engine away. ‘
These electric company cars can then, as second-hand, also persuade the private car buyer to drive electrically. Until now, lease cars that are at the end of their contract have been very popular with foreign buyers. ‘We should try to keep those electric cars here,’ says Van Gool. He thinks there will be formulas for private individuals to lease an electric car. Such a lease formula should be able to help potential buyers of a used e-car over the threshold of the still considerable price of around 20,000 euros. Currently, that price for petrol and diesel cars is usually between 10,000 and 15,000 euros.