The automotive sector is completely dissatisfied with the government’s agreement on greening the company’s cars. The umbrella consortium Mobia is already calling for a clear plan to deploy the necessary charging stations. Unizo goes one step further and thinks charging stations “should now go up like mushrooms.”
According to the agreement in the federal government, from 2026, only the company’s emissions-free cars – electric cars – for example – will be able to benefit from a tax-friendly system. Initially, it would be 100 percent tax deductible, but later this would be reduced to the level that now applies to gasoline and diesel cars. There will also be incentives for additional shipping infrastructure.
According to the General Manager of the Unizo Federation of Trade, there are many reasons why electric cars are currently less interesting. “The relatively high purchase costs, the more limited range of the models, the smaller range, … But the biggest constraint remains the lack of adequate shipping infrastructure,” says Danny Van Ashe. “Worst of all: Unfortunately we are seeing fewer public charging points being added each year since 2017.”
At the end of 2020, there was only one publicly available shipping point for every 1,550 residents in Flanders, according to the Employers’ Organization. Brussels and Wallonia scored worse, with rates of 1 per 3,200 and 1 per 12,300 inhabitants, respectively. “In total, there are nearly 5,000 shipping points for the entire country. Peanuts compared to progressive countries like the Netherlands (60,000 general and semi-public shipping points, of which 2,000 are express points) or Norway. There is now one charging point available to the public for every 336 people.”
Van Ashe says the incentive measures for additional fee infrastructure are an important catalyst. But in addition to this, the permit procedures for installing public charging stations should also be simplified and speeded up. A lot of preparatory work remains to be done between now and 2026 to ensure that the transition to the company’s electric vehicles can go smoothly. Five years may sound long, but at the same time it is very short if you consider how much shipping infrastructure has been built in the last five years. The freight network should grow significantly in the coming years. “
Finally, Unizo does not agree with the government’s decision to systematically phase out the tax deduction for zero-emissions cars. “If this restriction is achieved, it should be part of the planned reform of the personal income tax.”
Mobia: “It might be a mistake”
The umbrella union Mobia is also concerned about charging stations. “The biggest challenge for the government will be ensuring the power supply, distribution, and general shipping infrastructure,” a press release said. According to the organization, a plan is needed to deploy (ultra-fast) chargers along major hubs and nodes. There should also be clear shipping solutions in city and densely populated locations.
Without this plan and proper monitoring, electricity would be surprising and hypothetical. The federal government’s selection of “zero emissions” only from 2026 may then turn out to be a mistake. “
Mobia is also surprised that the tax deduction for “zero-emissions” motorcycles will also be limited from 2026. “From a mobility point of view, this is incomprehensible because every motorcyclist can shorten traffic congestion a little,” the organization says.
FEB: “Honorable settlement with points of interest”
The Federation of Companies in Belgium (‘FEB) calls the government agreement an “honorable settlement with points of interest”. Unfortunately, hybrid cars will be kicked out of the tax deduction system as of 2026, without a transition.
The FEB also asks whether there will be enough electricity for all electric cars, a question that links it to the discussion about nuclear power plants. “Is the nuclear exit sustainable in the short term without hindering affordable energy supplies while at the same time achieving the European emissions target?”
The EO is also concerned with the additional management of the companies. “We are concerned about the reporting requirements that can be imposed on companies so that the government can conduct budget reviews by 2026.” In this context, the European Union recalls the government’s objective to reduce administrative burdens by 30 per cent.
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