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What are the most popular electric vehicles in Belgium?

E-mobility is something we usually associate with “the future”. For a while now, e-mobility has been about so much more than just electric cars. There are already a multitude of ways to get around in a soft-buzzing speed machine. Curious? Read this blog to find out just how popular some electric vehicles actually are. 

From e-trucks to e-scooters and e-yachts: e-mobility is about so much more than just electric cars. It covers a surprisingly wide range of vehicles that travel over land, over sea and in the air.

Electric bicycles (e-bikes)

Meet one of the strongest climbers among electric vehicles! When you’re out and about in town, you really can’t miss them anymore: electric bicycles! They’ve experienced a real boom recently.

At the beginning of 2019, e-bikes already accounted for 50% of new bicycles in Belgium. Which is quite a lot more than in the Netherlands, where 33% of bikes sold are electric. And since then, that upward trend has not slowed down. Quite the opposite, in fact!

Electric bicycles are fitted with a motor that is activated by pedalling. In general, there are two types of electric bicycles: ones that can go up to 25 km per hour and ones that can go up to 45 km per hour. And of course, both types have their own specific name: e-bikes (up to 25 km/hour) and speed pedelecs and high-speed e-bikes (up to 45 km/hour). Since 1 January 2017 the speed pedelec is officially classified as a moped, which means that in built-up areas you are not allowed to use regular cycle lanes. You can, however, use them on moped paths, which are usually in less built-up areas.

The e-bike is most popular among 30 to 50 year olds, especially since they are perfect for commuting.


The e-bike is most popular among 30 to 50 year olds, especially since they are perfect for commuting.



Electric scooters (e-steps)

Urban areas all over the world suddenly have a new kid on the block: electric or motorised scooters! These trendy two-wheeled vehicles mainly serve as an alternative means of transport for those who only have to commute a short distance – from the car park or bus stop to their office, for example. They are often available as part of sharing schemes.

A distinctive type of e-steps are those produced by the Segway brand, which you control by moving your body.


From monowheels to hoverboards

Besides the more conventional modes of transport, other types of zero-emission vehicles are also becoming more and more popular. And they tend to be a little bit quirky – electric cargo bikes and tricycles, monowheels, hoverboards, electric recumbents, for example. By law, since 31 May 2019, you can ride an e-scooter, hoverboard or monowheel up to 25 km/h on cycle paths without requiring special insurance. Bye, bye traffic jams!

Please note: In December 2019, the Flemish Government took the definitive decision to discontinue the premium for zero-emission vehicles as from 1 January 2020 for natural persons, non-profit organisations, car-sharing companies and holders of permits for taxi services. This may have an impact on the popularity of certain electric vehicles from 2020 onwards.


Electric motorcycles

We’re even starting to see more and more100% electric models of the heavier two-wheelers.

Speed enthusiasts are going crazy for them. These bikes don’t make a sound, they accelerate at lightening speed and you can simply plug them into the wall socket or a charging station to charge them.


In general, electric motorcycles enjoy the same benefits as electric cars: no more switching gear, lower cost per kilometre (because electric power is cheaper than fossil fuel) and no CO2 emissions. Depending on the battery, the driving range can reach up to 200 km (and more!).

In 2019, the number of registrations of new electric two-wheelers (motorcycles and scooters) continued to grow strongly. FEBIAC recorded an increase of 10% compared to the same period in 2017; 2018 closed with an increase of 11%. If we include mopeds, the overall market for electric two-wheelers has increased by 23.8%.

Generally speaking, there are fewer (well-known) brands that sell electric motorcycles on the Belgian market. Electric motorcycles are not (yet) enjoying the boom that e-bikes are currently experiencing. Here you will find an overview of electric motorcycles available on the market and some useful facts about the benefits when purchasing.


Electric vans (e-LCV)

And now to the four-wheelers. Electric vans – also called Electric Light Commercial Vehicles or e-LCVs – are becoming more and more popular. This is particularly the case in urban areas, where the combination of low CO2 emissions and super-quiet engines are doubly advantageous – especially since cities are increasingly implementing low-emission zones.

Popular models:

  • Nissan and Renault are firm favourites, with the Nissan e-NV200 and the Renault Kangoo ZE leading the market.
  • Volkswagen has the e-Crafter, and Mercedes-Benz has the eSprinter and the eVito.
  • Ford and Deutsche Post DHL Group jointly produced the StreetScooter WORK XL.

Coming in 2020 (list not exhaustive):

The Citroen e-Jumpy, a new Renault Kangoo ZE, Opel Vivaro-e, Peugeot e-Expert, Fiat Ducato electric, Ford Transit Electric, as well as a number of other models.

Companies that want to profile themselves as environmentally friendly and future-oriented are increasingly opting for e-LCVs.  


Companies that want to profile themselves as environmentally friendly and future-oriented are increasingly opting for e-LCVs.  


Electric trucks & buses

How popular are electric trucks? Various major brands such as Volvo and DAF, and even Tesla, are actively working on them, but we won’t be seeing many of these e-trucks on our motorways just yet. After all, we are talking about substantial investments that will only be made after a thorough analysis of the business case with hard figures about performance, lifespan and ROI. These are not yet available for completely new types of vehicles.

In Belgium, public transport companies are experimenting with full electric buses, in Brussels and Bruges. Hybrid buses have been driving around the city centre of Namur and Charleroi for a while already. At the end of 2019, De Lijn called upon suppliers to introduce 970 electric buses and the accompanying charging stations, which will be put into operation in phases between 2023 and 2025. 


Electric cars

How electric is transport today? More electric than you’d think! One of the reasons for our underestimation may be the fact that the electric car breakthrough is still a long way off. An international study has revealed that the real breakthrough won’t actually take place until 2022.

The transition is taking longer than some had hoped. For example, if we look back to 2019 (early 2020), we can see that the electric car segment is growing: 8,829 registered vehicles, which translates into 1.6% of newly registered cars.

In total, 43,905 cars powered entirely or partially by electricity were purchased in 2019. This represents 7.9% of the market share, which is 15,383 more cars than in the previous year, according to Statbel (the Belgian statistical office). But that’s still peanuts compared to the total number of registrations.

The top 10 newly registered electric vehicles (EVs) in 2019:

  1. Tesla Model 3 - 2.656
  2. Audi e-Tron - 974
  3. Nissan Leaf - 754
  4. Renault Zoe - 662
  5. Hyundai Kona Electric - 644
  6. Tesla Model S - 579
  7. Jaguar i-Pace - 509
  8. BMW i3 - 494
  9. Tesla Model X - 455
  10. Kia e-Niro - 291

How does that compare to 3 years ago? Only 2,713 new electric cars were registered in 2017. So things are moving in the right direction, but we’re not quite at the boom stage yet.

What’s holding people back? These seem to be the main factors:

  • The purchase price of an electric car
  • Limited driving range compared to a fuel engine
  • Insufficient public charging infrastructure
  • Uncertainty about the battery’s lifespan

However, more and more middle class models are appearing on the market, the driving range is improving, investments are being made into charging infrastructure and research into EV batteries is also moving forward. Progress in all these areas will have a positive impact on the popularity of electric cars.

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Hybrid cars

In addition to “full electric” cars, you also have hybrids, which are powered by a fuel engine and an electric motor. The battery supplies power to the electric motor. Some of the braking energy is recovered via the electric motor, which acts as a generator when braking. The recovered energy is then stored in the battery. 

Plug-in hybrids 

Hybrids are fitted with batteries which have a limited capacity (+/- 1 kWh). In order to reduce CO2 emissions, you need higher battery capacity. That’s why many plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) started to appear on the market from 2014 onwards; they have a larger battery, a greater electrical range and low CO2 emissions. “Fake” hybrids are plug-in hybrids that can only drive on electric power for a short period of time or distance. In order to prevent these “fake hybrids” from being subsidised, the conditions for the self-employed and companies to claim 100% tax relief have been tightened. Only plug-in hybrids that are sufficiently powered by electricity are stimulated.

Hybrids: strong growth

Registrations of hybrid cars (petrol or diesel and electric) rose sharply in 2019 (+41.4%), representing 6.3% of the new car market with 35,010 vehicles. The last months of 2019 in particular saw a significant increase in hybrid car registrations, and this upward trend continued at the beginning of 2020. By way of comparison: 24,157 new hybrids were registered in 2017; 16,430 in 2016.

The most popular plug-in hybrids sold in 2019:

  • Volvo XC60 T8 Twin Engine (1.278)
  • BMW 530e Berline (962)
  • Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (822)
  • BMW X5 xDrive40e and xDrive45e (657)
  • Mini Countryman S E ALL4 (622)
  • Volvo V60 T6 Twin Engine and T8 Twin Engine (622)
  • Mercedes E300e and E300de (570)
  • BMW 330e Berline (555)
  • BMW 225xe Active Tourer (316)
  • Kia Niro Plug-in Hybrid (309)


The end of the road

All electric vehicles are powered by a powerful battery. When your vehicle has driven its last kilometres, it is important that the battery is recycled properly.

And that’s where Bebat comes in! After all, these powerful batteries are not the same as the run-of-the-mill batteries that you find in household and garden devices. We call upon a team of specialists to process them. Curious about how we do that? Find out in this blog post.

What will mobility look like in 2030?

Which new batteries are on their way and how will we be able to process them even more efficiently in the future? Read all about it in Bebat's latest e-book.

Download it here for free  

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