Electric car subsidy requests shoot up this quarter

Summary

If the trend continues, electric car purchases in Flanders will far more than double last year’s figures

‘The trend is clear’

In the first quarter of this year, 230 requests for subsidies for the purchase of a fully electric car were submitted, compared to 415 for the whole of 2018.

The number of subsidies requested for electric-powered mopeds and motorcycles is also increasing, with 183 and 31 requested respectively, from January to March. The requests are good for nearly €900,000 in subsidies, backed by the government of Flanders.

“Our transport is becoming ever-more electric,” said energy minister Lydia Peeters. In March, the market share for electric vehicles in Flanders climbed above 2% for the first time. That’s not nearly enough, but the trend is clear.”

Aside from more people becoming aware of the subsidies and more interest in green mobility in general, the energy ministry credits the new Tesla for helping to increase market share among electric vehicles. Over the last six weeks, 42 subsidy requests have come from new Tesla owners.

Leaf is leader

The Nissan Leaf, however, remains the most popular choice in Flanders by far, with 95 requests coming in during the same period. Subsidies are available for fully electric cars, motorcycles and mopeds only, not hybrid models.

The number of public charging stations in Flanders doubled in 2018, another possible incentive for increased purchases of electric vehicles. As of the end of February, there are now 3,047 charging points. By the end of 2020, there will be more than 7,000, according to the energy ministry.

In January, the government launched an electric car group purchase programme, which offers discounts at local dealerships, in addition to the subsidy. That programme runs until 15 May.

“We are doing everything we can to get people into electric vehicles,” said Peeters. “The subsidies, tax breaks, charging stations, financial support for projects, awareness campaigns and group sales are together making a difference. The move towards electric is picking up speed.”

Photo: The Nissan Leaf is by far the most popular electric car in Flanders
©Nissan