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Is Belgium ready for a fully electric company car fleet?

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Will company cars in Belgium still be able to emit CO2 in a few years’ time? There’s a lot going on at the policy level. Over the years, Athlon has built up a great deal of knowledge and know-how on e-mobility. Is our country ready for electric company cars only?

The Flemish Government wants to take measures to encourage an electric company car fleet and there was a lot of work to be done to achieve such a transition, even during the formation of governments at the federal level. Philippe Fouyn, Strategic Consulting Manager at Athlon: “There are currently more than 660,000 company cars on the road in Belgium, only a small percentage of which are electric. If we look at the current mobility model, almost all of them will have to make the switch.” Is Belgium sufficiently prepared for this? 

Are there enough electric models? 

The conversion of plants producing diesel and petrol cars to plants producing electric cars is currently under way. Philippe Fouyn: “But it will be some time before there is sufficient production capacity and enough electric models on the market to meet the demand.” Moreover, the price of many electric cars is currently still above the budget of many commercial vehicle drivers.

“However, we have to take into account that the mobility model is gradually changing,” adds Philippe Fouyn. “Car sharing is becoming increasingly important, and the introduction of the mobility budget will also have an impact on the company car fleet in the coming years. This also affects the number of company cars on the road in Belgium.”

Are there enough charging points?

The biggest hurdle? Belgium still has some serious catching up to do if it is to have enough charging points to charge all these electric cars. “Many companies have not yet taken the step to provide charging facilities, and charging at home is not possible for everyone, for example, people who live in an apartment in the city,” says Philippe Fouyn. The number of public opportunities in Belgium is also limited: Belgium currently only has 10,000 charging points, while there are over 45,000 in the Netherlands.

On the other hand, the battery range of electric cars has increased enormously in recent years. “It even goes over the psychological limit of 400 kilometres, which makes the threshold for leasing an electric car a little smaller. This slightly reduces the need for charging solutions, even though a fully fledged network of charging points remains extremely urgent.” 

Are hybrids the solution?

Until the end of 2020, the new tax system will make (true) plug-in hybrids almost as fiscally advantageous as electric cars, so they’re a desirable transitional measure. In addition, more and more new models with a range of up to 60 kilometres are coming onto the market. “That’s more than enough for many people to make the daily commute,” says Philippe Fouyn. “Certainly linked to a smart car policy that obliges the driver to use the car correctly; we can therefore speak of a sustainable mobility solution.” 

There’s no telling what will happen after 2020. Only zero-emission vehicles can remain advantageous in a new car tax system. Will plug-in hybrids be penalised immediately or will they be phased in? “This isn’t yet clear, so we advise our customers to include fully electric vehicles in their fleets where possible, in addition to plug-in hybrids. This way, they build up all the necessary knowledge and know-how. After that, the electric vehicle fleet can be systematically expanded.”

Before you include electric cars in your fleet… 

The decision to electrify your company car fleet isn’t made flippantly. Such an implementation process requires consultation between different actors (manager, HR, office manager, etc.). A few tips: 

Take the driver profiles into account

A thorough analysis of your employees’ profiles clarifies which facilities they need. Each driver must be able to use their car as comfortably as possible. Who can and who is allowed to use an electric vehicle? What charging options are available? The number of kilometres a person travels per year is adapted to the autonomy of the vehicle. This is the only way to make the most sustainable and comfortable choice. 

Organise training sessions on driving electric vehicles

Driving an electric vehicle is an art and requires different skills than driving a diesel or petrol car. For example, an electric engine can accelerate from standstill to top speed with just one gear. Therefore, Athlon advises companies to inform their directors about this during a course or training session. This is the only way that electric driving can be truly sustainable.

Want to know more about the electrification of your fleet? check our website.

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