Free time

13 February 2017

Both ecology and economy for your next car?

You might be thinking about replacing your existing car with a new or second-hand one. But have you considered green cars? Maybe you thought they didn't make sense financially. What if you were wrong…

Green cars: what are the options?

The electric car is the ultimate green car. It doesn't need fossil fuels to run, so it has no polluting emissions.

Apart from electric cars there are hybrid cars which combine an internal combustion engine (petrol or diesel) and an electric motor. The internal combustion engine is the main power source, but it is supported by the electric motor at certain times – mainly when starting off or accelerating quickly.

There are also plug-in hybrids and full hybrids. Plug-in hybrids need to be plugged in to recharge, whereas full hybrids recharge automatically when the car brakes or accelerates.

The green car market also features other types, such as CNG (compressed natural gas) and hydrogen cars. However, these options are currently limited to a very small range of models because the infrastructure is not yet developed enough for day-to-day use.

Finally, alongside these alternative fuel systems, some new or second hand cars with internal combustion engines count as green cars due to their low emission values. Car manufacturers have been working on reducing CO2 values for years now as they strive to meet European pollution standards. The CO2 target set for car makers by the European Parliament is an average of 95 g/km across their entire range. Compared to new vehicles sold in 2015, this represents a 27 % reduction in harmful emissions.

Green driving makes so much sense!

Of course the main thing holding people back from buying alternative fuel models is price – they are significantly more expensive than their petroleum fuel equivalents. Yet in terms of running costs, they often end up being much cheaper. For example electric and hydrogen cars cost nothing in terms of petrol or diesel, and the price per kWh or per kg of hydrogen at the pump is much lower than the cost of those conventional fuels. For their part, plug-in hybrids or full hybrids need to be refuelled less often.

A study by ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency) found that a plug-in hybrid can reduce fuel costs by 46 % compared to an equivalent petrol vehicle over a period of three years based on 20,000 km per year. To achieve this performance, the technology must obviously be used as efficiently as possible, in other words the vehicle must be recharged regularly.

Fuel consumption is also reduced in low-emission vehicles with internal combustion engines. Vehicles of this kind generally also encourage a smoother driving style, further reducing fuel consumption.
That makes them good for your wallet too!

You will also benefit when the time comes to sell your vehicle because green vehicles hold their value much better.

And there are other benefits, for example alternative fuel vehicles require less maintenance than conventional vehicles because there are fewer consumables like oil and lubricants to worry about. The purchase price needs to be considered as part of the total cost of ownership, spread over the entire period of use – you will then realise that the vehicle ultimately costs less than a conventional vehicle. You will also benefit when the time comes to sell your vehicle because green vehicles hold their value much better. And most importantly of all, you are doing your bit for the environment.

Green cars: tax incentives

Depending on the region, tax incentives and an eco-bonus are available for alternative fuel vehicles.

In Flanders, the vehicle registration tax and the annual road tax are calculated on the basis of the official emissions data as stated on the registration certificate. This gives alternative fuel vehicles a tax advantage because they are less polluting. The same is true for conventional cars with low CO2 emissions. 100 % electric and hydrogen vehicles pay no registration or road taxes at all and enjoy an eco-bonus of between EUR 1,000 and 5,000 depending on the purchase price (the higher the price, the lower the eco-bonus). The eco-bonus is being progressively phased out until the year 2020.

Eco-bonus paid in Flanders on the purchase of a 100 % electric vehicle
Vehicle list price 2016 2017 2018 2019
< EUR 31.000 EUR 5.000 EUR 4.000 EUR 3.000 EUR 2.000
Entre EUR 31.000 et EUR 41.000 EUR 4.500 EUR 3.500 EUR 2.500 EUR 1.500
Entre EUR 41.000 et EUR 61.000 EUR 3.000 EUR 2.500 EUR 2.000 EUR 1.500
≥ EUR 61.000 EUR 2.500 EUR 2.000 EUR 1.500 EUR 1.000

In Wallonia and Brussels, the registration tax and annual road tax are still based on the engine rating (in HP), making alternative fuel systems less interesting in terms of tax. However, electric and hydrogen vehicles do enjoy tax incentives (see the table below).

Registration tax
Vehicle type Flanders Wallonia/Brussels
100 % electric / hydrogen Fully exempt Min EUR 61.5
Max EUR 123
Full hybrid/CNG Normal arrangements Normal arrangements
Plug-in hybrid Exempt if below 50 g/km CO2 Normal arrangements
Road tax
Vehicle type Flanders Wallonia/Brussels
100 % electric / hydrogen Fully exempt Fixed (EUR 77.35)
Full hybrid/CNG Normal arrangements Normal arrangements
Plug-in hybrid Exempt if below 50 g/km CO2 Normal arrangements
Eco-bonus/eco-penalty
Flanders Wallonia/Brussels
Eco-bonus Between EUR 1000 and 5000 for fully electric vehicles None
Eco-penalty None Between EUR 100 and 2,500 for vehicles emitting more than 146 g/km CO2
Good rates for loans

In addition to all the benefits described above, ING can offer good rates for your car loan if you choose an alternative fuel vehicle or a new vehicle with low CO2 emissions.

We are committed to a responsible approach to the environment and we want to help our customers play their part by choosing green vehicles. Diesel and petrol vehicles with emissions of less than 120 g/km or alternative fuel vehicles receive lower loan interest rates.

So what are you waiting for?

Would you like to find out how much a car loan would cost with ING? Make a simulation online.

And to find out more about the beneficial rates for green vehicles, talk to your ING contact or make an appointment in a branch.