The Belgian automotive industry federation Febiac, says that new electric and hybrid vehicles are leaving the country’s car showrooms in their droves. In September sales of hybrid cars accounted for 12% of total sales of new cars with sales of fully electrically powered cars accounting for a further 5%. However, the lion’s share of new cars sold are still powered by fossil fuel. 47% of new cars sold have petrol engines with diesels accounting for 35%.
The increase in popularity of hybrid vehicles is growing fast. In February of this year hybrids accounted for 9% of total new car sales. By September this had increased to 12%.
Febiac’s Christophe Dubon told VRT News that “Electric cars are a little more difficult, but their popularity is growing much more quickly than that of hybrid cars”.
“Sales of these cars have been rising for a couple of years now, but we have noticed that the growth has been accelerating this year”.
From next year car manufactures will only be allowed to include in their range vehicles that emit less than 95g of CO2 per KM. This means that smaller vehicles, electrically powered and hybrid cars, need to be made more attractive to potential buyers. Moreover post 2021 Europe will increase the pressure put on car manufacturers to reduced dependence on fossil fuel powered combustion engines.
How does Belgium compare with the rest of Europe?
According to figures from the London-based research bureau Jato Dynamics, electric and hybrid cars currently account for 25% of new car sales in Europe as whole. This is more than the percentage of cars sold that have a diesel engine. Jato Dynanics says that in September 2020 a total of 327,800 new hybrid and electric cars were sold in Europe, a combined market share of 25.3%.
Diesels accounted for 24.8% of new car sales with cars driven by a petrol engine were good for 47% of the total number of new cars sold in September.
However, Febiac’s Joost Kasemans told VRT News that Jato Dynamic’s figures on hybrid sales should be read with caution as they include so-called “mild hybrids”. These are vehicles that only start up through electrically powered means but run on fossil fuel thereafter. In Belgium Febiac does not include “mild hybrids” in its figures for hybrid sales.
Another reason for the apparent greater popularity of non-fossil fuel driven vehicles in Europe as whole when compared to Belgium could be the (temporary) fiscal incentives offered by several other European countries to those buying eco-friendly cars.