Europe bans combustion engines from 2035 and Belgium is already paving the way for EVs now
Europe has decided: there will be no new diesel or petrol vehicles sold in the EU from 2035. This target raised quite a lot of questions about feasibilty. However, Belgium is paving the way for electric vehicles from as soon as 2026.
On Wednesday 8 June, the European Parliament adopted the proposal to set 2035 as a deadline for the automotive industry. This means manufacturers will no longer be allowed to sell new passenger cars or light commercial vehicles with combustion engines from that year onwards.
According to the Commission, passenger cars and vans account for roughly 12% and 2.5% of the EU's total CO2 emissions, respectively. By banning the sale of combustion engines from 2035, the EU hopes to take a major step towards becoming completely climate neutral by 2050.
The members of the European Parliament have also agreed that between 2021 and 2025, manufacturers must reduce the average emissions from newly sold cars by 15%. By 2030, average emissions of passenger cars must have fallen by 55% and those of light commercial vehicles by 50%. 2035 will mark the end of all diesel and petrol fuel in new vehicles, as that is when our emissions reduction must reach 100%.
Cheaper EVs to reduce our dependence on oil
Alex Keynes, Clean Vehicles Manager at Transport & Environment: "The deadline means no fossil fuel cars will be sold from 2035 onwards, giving us a fighting chance of averting runaway climate change. Phasing out combustion engines is also an historic opportunity to help end our dependence on oil and protect ourselves more against despots. It also offers us the certainty that the car industry will ramp up its production of electric vehicles, which will drive down prices for drivers."
Indeed, that is one of the EU's aims: it wants to force manufacturers to scale up their EV operations so that prices will fall, which will eliminate one of the main obstacles. However, electric vehicles will not be the only option from 2035: fuel cell vehicles running on hydrogen will also be freely available. Europe wants to invest heavily in those, too.
Belgium is already making preparations
Belgium is switching to electric vehicles more quickly by starting with an all-electric fleet of company cars. At the end of last year it was decided that from 2026, new company cars must be zero-emission in order to offer any tax deduction. The necessary incentives for the charging infrastructure are also in place. As the expert in electric fleets, LeasePlan will gladly give you advice on what electric cars to choose based on the relevant purpose, driver and charging options. Companies can also get in touch with LeasePlan for recommendations on their electric vehicle policy and feasibility and impact studies.
By electrifying its company car fleets, Belgium is set to get a head start on the European measures and build the necessary expertise for the overall switch to zero-emission cars and vans by 2035.
From 2026, tens of thousands of new electric vehicles will be registered in Belgium every year. Several years later, these can then enter the market as attractive, affordable second-hand cars. If we also consider the expected price drop for new all-electric models, EVs may well become the norm in Belgium sooner than expected by the EU.