Free time

From electric to used: discover the car trends for 2022

The world of mobility is changing rapidly. For many people, the car is still the most popular means of transport, including for commuting. Is it better to buy a hybrid or to go for a fully electric vehicle? Or is diesel or petrol still a good choice? And when you buy a car, is it better to buy a new car or a used one? Find out about the car trends for 2022 here.

Trends in mobility for 2022: what impact will the recent climate summit have?

The various authorities in Belgium are launching ever more measures to make mobility more sustainable in the country. The recent climate summit (COP26) set he bar high for sustainable mobility. Accordingly, measures at federal level include an ambitious plan to green the company vehicle fleet over the next few years, with zero-emission company cars as the norm as from 2026.

At a regional level, additional efforts are being planned to install more electric vehicle charging points. The Flemish government has also expressed an ambition to the effect that Flanders will emit 40% less CO2 by 2030 relative to 2005. In concrete terms, this means that the sale of new passenger cars or vans with internal combustion engines will be phased out as from 2029, even though this will be linked to three conditions: sufficient supply, affordable prices and charging points in sufficient numbers. There is no ban on internal combustion engines in the offing for the used market. This means that diesel, petrol or gas-powered cars will still be allowed to be bought and sold second hand after 2029. The Flemish government is aiming for 1 million electric cars by 2030.

Local policymakers – including those in Brussels, Antwerp and Ghent – are already fully committed to low-emission zones (LEZ) to improve inner-city air quality. The introduction of circulation plans is also causing a shift in mobility. Cities with an LEZ intend initially to ban diesel vehicles without particulate filters. Newer diesel vehicles are usually equipped with a particulate filter. A car’s environmental class can be found on the registration document. You can then check on the website of cities with an LEZ whether your car is ‘blacklisted’.

Worthwhile noting too: we can see that fully self-driving cars are gaining ground to an increasing extent around the world. Global tech giants such as Apple, Google and Amazon are diving headlong into the ‘smart’ car. The focus on connectivity, combined with sustainability, also opens up unprecedented opportunities in this segment.

Petrol, diesel, electric or hybrid? No choice overload!

It used to be simple: diesel was a lot cheaper than petrol. Therefore you were better off with a diesel car if you covered a high mileage. But now the situation has changed completely. Today you pay more for diesel fuel than petrol at the pump. Stricter environmental standards have also made the purchase of a diesel vehicle more expensive. But be aware too that a diesel engine consumes about 15 per cent less fuel than a petrol unit. Accordingly, a diesel vehicle can still be advantageous if you cover a high mileage.

Figures from Febiac show that four out of five private motorists opt for a petrol-powered vehicle. A lower purchase price, rising diesel prices as well as lower vehicle registration tax and annual road tax are drawing buyers in this direction. Be aware that a petrol vehicle emits less particulates, though more CO2 than a diesel vehicle – which is not a good thing for our climate.

A hybrid vehicle is still basically a petrol powered one, but which also generates its own electricity to power an electric motor for short distances. This results in much lower CO2 emissions. You will have to pay more for a hybrid vehicle than for a similar model with a petrol engine only. You will need to drive at least 35,000 kilometres a year to pay back the extra cost. And you must also pay the vehicle registration and road taxes as usual.

An electric car is obviously the best choice for the environment and the climate. Consequently, in Flanders you pay no vehicle registration or road tax for an electric car; in Brussels and Wallonia the minimum rate applies. In addition, electric cars are designed differently, requiring less maintenance than one running on diesel or petrol. Charging a battery is much cheaper than filling up at the pump. But in Belgium we are still waiting for (public) charging points in sufficient numbers that are powerful enough for rapid charging. In that respect, electric vehicles are still best for shorter distances in an urban environment.

New or used: how to make the best choice?

Buying a new or used car: either option has specific advantages. We have listed the main points for you.

New cars

When buying a new car, you have a wide choice of manufacturers, vehicle types and models. Moreover, a new car gives you optimal reliability – often with a long warranty – and yours will be fitted with the latest technology. When buying a new car, you also choose exactly what you need (or want), from colour to options.

Any problems at the moment? The shortage of semiconductors for new cars (both electric and petrol/diesel) is causing automotive manufacturers – and their customers – great concern. This global problem is causing new car production to stall, resulting in long waiting times for the end customer. Then there are rising feedstock and material prices too, which threaten to send production costs in the automotive sector sky high.

Used Car

But buying a used car can also be an attractive option. Doing so means you will not have to contend with long lead times or delays in delivery. You can also haggle on price; in doing so you can sometimes bag a great deal. By the way, did you know that after two years, a car is worth on average about 40 percent less than when it left the factory? You don’t have to worry about quality either: in the official dealer and trade sales networks you can sometimes find very recent used cars with a warranty, so you don’t have to worry about any faults.

Did you know? A loan for a used car that is under 3 years old is a better deal than a loan for older used cars.

Buying a (recent) used electric vehicle: a good idea?

The market for used electric vehicles is booming, with cars often coming out of their finance contracts. And that is definitely an attractive proposition considering the environmental benefits and the lower price compared to new electric vehicles.

Are there any downsides to a second-hand purchase? Certainly there are. Charging a battery can take time. Fortunately, tests show that batteries often retain their original capacity for a long time. What is more, the battery pack in used cars is often still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty.

You should also bear in mind that electric vehicles often ‘obsolesce’ rapidly because newer models with enhanced capabilities will constantly come onto the market.

Nevertheless, we can conclude that buying a used car is a wise move, especially if you take into account the current long lead times for new ones. And another thing: bear in mind that with a used car you could have hidden defects – and hence additional maintenance costs. Even so, this risk is mitigated by the mandatory re-inspection when selling a used car.

Find out how ING can help you make your car dream come true: