The Flemish government has released final details on the conditions for its planned EV subsidy scheme. One of the more remarkable rules is that discounted cars are eligible, which could affect the price cap of 40 000 euros for some models.
Savvy dealers, granting targeted discounts, might shift more EVs than expected under the new Flemish subsidy scheme. A few important models, like the Volkswagen ID.3 or the Opel Astra Sports Tourer Electric, miss the bonus by a few thousand euros.
But as the Flemish government revealed that discounts will be included, customers of these cars could still benefit from a 5 000-euro bonus in 2024. Discounts coming from acquisition prices of a customer’s prior car aren’t valid. Undoubtedly, importers and automakers, who need to allocate more EVs, will jump on the bandwagon.
All zero-emission cars are eligible for the bonus, but it only applies to battery-powered cars. Fuel cell vehicles like the Hyundai Nexo (€73 999) or Toyota Mirai (€68 600) are too expensive to meet the cap, even after discounts. The VAT of 21% is also included to factor in the incentive.
As for second-hand cars, which are included in the scheme, the price on the original invoice shouldn’t exceed 60 000 euros. Registration should be at least three years, and cars older than eight are exempt. Applicants for the subsidy must keep their EV for no less than three years and can benefit only a single time from the ruling. In cases of obedience, the government will reclaim the bonus.
Decreasing over time
The subsidy incentive only applies to private customers living in the region of Flanders and not Wallonia. This may further widen the regional differences in the acceptance and adoption of electric cars in Belgium, as Wallonia is also lagging in developing charging infrastructure.
More private customers in Flanders will get access to drive electric, as residents of Wallonia face a steep pricing hurdle. The benefits for company cars fall under the federal ruling and apply nationwide.
However, Flemish customers must decide swiftly. The bonus of €5 000 only applies to the fiscal year 2024, after which it plunges to 4 000 euros in 2025 and €3 000 euros in 2026.
The support from the Flemish government arrives at a point where some major countries, like Germany and Norway, are reversing their efforts, which partly causes the restructuring of EV production at some automakers, having overestimated the demand.
It’s not the first time Flanders has issued a subsidy ruling for zero-emission driving. Reaching a dead end in 2020, EV owners were granted 4 000 euros in a scheme when zero-emission cars were hard to come by.
The then Minister of Mobility in Flanders, Zuhal Demir (N-VA), scrapped the incentive, stating slow demand. The auto industry stakeholders disapproved of the decision, and the current Minister of Mobility in Flanders, Lydia Peeters (Open Vld), claimed that the private uptake of EV mobility had yet to start. When Peeters took office, the tables turned as she decided to reinstate the incentive.
With a price ceiling of €40 000, roughly thirty-some undiscounted models are currently on the Belgian market eligible for the bonus. These are primarily Asian, or Asian-made, compact SUVs like the BYD Atto 3 (a pricing adjustment in September put it under the cap, from €40 740 to €38 740), the Hyundai Kona Electric, MG ZS or the Volvo EX30 (though the latter will also be manufactured in Ghent).
As for European brands, the Fiat 600e, Opel Astra Electric (as a hatchback), and Dacia Spring apply. Pricing of the latter will drop to 15 990 euros, making it the cheapest EV in Flanders by a fair margin.