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Brussels allows retro-fitting cars to become electric

08:53 23/11/2023

Residents of Brussels will be able to convert their petrol-powered cars into electric ones, thanks to new measures announced by the region's mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt (Groen).

Swapping the combustion engines in older vehicles with new, electric ones is already possible in a number of other places in Europe, but had not until now been a reality in Belgium.

While converting a vehicle was possible, the registration and how to determine that the retro-fitted vehicle meets legal and safety requirements was an obstacle.

Brussels has now tackled the issue of creating a legal framework and regulations for the process, drafting clear and simplified procedures to let converted vehicles onto public roads.

The framework was created in collaboration with the industry and with the country's other policy levels, including the federal government.

Van den Brandt said that the initiative contributed to the climate transition and offers a sustainable alternative to buying a new electric vehicle – a cost-saving solution for both individuals and companies.

Belgium has seen a rise in the number of electric vehicles on its roads – the greatest rise in Europe, even.

More new electric cars than diesel ones were registered in Europe for the first time ever this year, with Belgium seeing the biggest increase of 147.3%, followed by Denmark at 100.7%.

So far this year, an estimated 1.23 million purely electric cars were registered in the EU compared to 1.22 million diesel cars, according to sector organisation ACEA.

Written by Helen Lyons