2020 would be the year of the definitive breakthrough of electric driving in the Netherlands. With new, relatively affordable models on the market, business drivers who can still take advantage of tax benefits and, to top it all, the purchase subsidy for private individuals. The corona crisis inevitably causes a backlash for the electric car. But can ultimately also give a positive boost.

Last year, some 50,000 all-electric cars were registered and the Tesla Model 3 ended up as the best-selling car. The number was almost double the original sales forecast of sector organizations BOVAG and RAI Vereniging.

It was supposed to get even better in 2020. There is a choice of new models in the price list for this year, from affordable electric city cars to electric versions of success numbers such as the Opel Corsa and the Peugeot 208.

In addition, interesting newcomers for the business market are on the way and the style-sensitive consumer will also be attracted to this year with models such as the Honda e and the electric MINI.

The appearance of the Honda e is special. (Photo: Honda)

Market upside down

With the existing tax benefits for business drivers - they pay an 8 percent additional tax calculated on the first 45,000 euros - and the purchase subsidy for an electric car for private individuals announced in March, the definitive breakthrough could not be missed.

An amount of 4,000 euros is available for the purchase or private lease of a new electric car, provided that the vehicle is no more expensive than 45,000 euros. The subsidy amount for the purchase or private lease of a used electric car is 2,000 euros. This means that an electric car must be financially feasible for many more people.

And then the coronavirus broke out.

See also: Thousands of euros in subsidies make electric cars a bit cheaper

'Many potential car buyers may continue to drive longer'

"You can assume that in the end there will be a lot less ordering. Electric cars are often used by leasing companies and companies and there are investments on hold. In April and May we will see what the effects are. to buying a car, let alone an electric one, "said Tom Huyskens of BOVAG.

"The decline will also occur in electric cars, due to the sharp fall in consumer confidence and the uncertain outlook regarding the duration of the measures and the economic impact that is unmistakable," said Rico Luman of the ING Economic Bureau.

He adds that while it is beneficial that there is a subsidy immediately, this does not mean that consumers will immediately purchase. After all, the scheme will in principle also apply in 2021, while matters such as no bpm and no motor vehicle tax will apply until 2025.

"It could well be that some of the potential private car buyers will continue to drive their existing cars this year."

The Tesla Model 3 continues to do well in the Netherlands. (Photo: AutoWeek)

For the time being, no new car is rolling off the production line

And then there is another problem; the factories are currently closed. No electric car will roll off the production line for the time being. Popular models from BMW, Hyundai, Kia and Tesla are simply available because there is sufficient stock. In some cases, the delivery time is even shorter, because fewer orders arrive.

But brands like DS, Opel and Peugeot have so far only produced test drive dealer cars, not customer cars. The aforementioned manufacturers, all part of the PSA group, currently assume that they can deliver cars in the second quarter. However, no one can say with certainty when production may start again.

The Volkswagen ID.3 has been off the production line since last November, but according to persistent rumors, the question is whether they will be finished on time. The copies already produced would have software problems. Nevertheless, importer Pon indicates that the market introduction "is still planned for this summer".

See also: Is the electric ID.3 a new headache file for Volkswagen?

Electric cars for manufacturers are a necessity

Good news for electric cars in this context is European regulations. This dictates that cars should not emit an unlimited amount of CO2. As of 1 January this year, the limit for the average fleet emissions from new cars sold in the EU has been reduced to just 95 grams per kilometer.

So to avoid sky-high fines, brands need electric cars that reduce average emissions. Luman: "It doesn't look like these rules are being relaxed as a result of the corona impact yet."

But the most important pawn in the advance of the electric car remains the consumer. Looking at the running costs, it may well be that consumers dare to take the step, experts sketch. In any case to the cheaper segment.

"If the outbreak comes under control and people pick up the thread again in financially uncertain times, an electric car can be the most economical option from a cost perspective. This applies to private individuals, but certainly to companies," said BOVAG.

"Consumers are less likely to want to pay a lot of extra for green and luxury. That does not have to be unfavorable for relatively affordable electric cars. For the more expensive models, it is still", Luman says.

After all, electric cars are exempt from road tax (mrb) and there is also no tax on passenger cars and motorcycles (bpm). In addition, maintenance costs are lower and charging can be a lot cheaper than refueling. For example if you can load a lot at home or at work.

Loading is soon cheaper than refueling. (Photo: Hyundai)

"We are now learning that a large driving range may not be necessary"

Henk Meiborg, co-founder of consultancy Emodz, sees yet another positive starting point in the current situation, especially when it comes to the approach to work and mobility and thus electric driving. "We are now breaking all kinds of barriers. Working from home is better than expected and consultation and a certain degree of interaction work well with audio and video connections."

Instead of multiple business appointments on a day or a week, network meetings could be scheduled in the near future, Meiborg says, so that everything can be completed in one go. Then you also have to travel fewer kilometers. That makes the payback time of an electric car a little longer, but you also need a less expensive one.

"Perhaps the current period will show that you do not need an electric car with a large battery pack and a large driving range at all. For example, the new Mazda MX-30 with a range of about 200 kilometers would suffice."

As far as Meiborg is concerned, a Mazda CX-30 may soon be enough. (Photo: Mazda)

Registrations fully electric cars 1st quarter 2020

  • Tesla Model 3: 1.624
  • Opel Ampera-e: 1,279
  • Volkswagen e-Golf: 1,190
  • Kia e-Niro: 1.175
  • Hyundai KONA Electric: 640
  • Skoda Citigo i-EV: 423
  • Renault ZOE: 248
  • Nissan Leaf: 244
  • MINI Electric: 222
  • Kia e-Soul: 181
  • Extra info: In March, the number of registrations of new cars (electric and non-electric) decreased by 23.4 percent to 29,496. However, just like last year, the Tesla Model 3 ended in one.