Only electric cars! The new Belgian government plans to ban the purchase of new company cars with combustion engines from 2026. “With an internal combustion engine” in this case means that plug-in hybrids would also be affected by the ban. In concrete terms, the ban would affect about ten percent of all cars registered in Belgium, i.e. a good 600,000 of the current six million vehicles.
The new law is still dependent on an agreement of the seven parties, which have been holding talks since May 2019 to form a new government. This is not unusual for the country. The seven, very different parties entered the talks with election results ranging from 16 for the election winner to seven percent of the votes. The elections once again revealed deep linguistic and regional differences in the country. In addition to the Flemish Christian Democratic Party, a liberal, socialist and green party from Wallonia and Flanders are negotiating the composition of the new government.
However, there seems to be a consensus on the choice of the most environmentally friendly drive system, which is why Belgium only wants to exempt pure electric cars from the ban and lumps the plug-in hybrid, which is often labelled a “deceptive package”, into the same pot as petrol and diesel. However, since the ban would only apply to new cars and cars already registered would not be affected, critics of the planned law fear that company car drivers could drive their internal combustion engines for longer than average. Others fear a kind of glut of burners before the deadline.
In a joint reaction, the Federation of Car Manufacturers of the country (Febiac), the Association of Leasing and Rental Companies (Renta) and the Association of the Vehicle Repair Industry (Traxio) state that, while they generally support a more environmentally friendly fleet, they do not agree with the proposal. However, they consider that it is too early for such a ban to be introduced in 2026. Traxio supported the compromise to exclude plug-in hybrids from the ban.
Frank Van Gool, Director General of the Belgian leasing and rental association Renta, believes that “an insufficient charging infrastructure and a limited number of electric cars on the market” could motivate companies and people to keep their old burners running as long as possible. “This does not help the environment”, says Mr Van Gool.
However, Belgium still has a good five years until 2026 to massively expand the charging infrastructure. And the – supposedly, some will say – limited choice of models will certainly be over by 2026. After all, the majority of car manufacturers are talking about wanting to have an electric car in every segment from the middle of the decade.
Source: Fleet Europe – Belgian government plans to ban non-electric company cars by 2026 // Electrive – Belgien plant nur noch E-Firmenwagen ab 2026