Petrol Cars Will Disappear From Swiss Roads Too| MENAFN.COM

Thursday, 11 August 2022 02:11 GMT

Petrol Cars Will Disappear From Swiss Roads Too


(MENAFN- Swissinfo) There are almost 8,000 public charging stations in Switzerland, an average of one for every ten electric vehicles. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The decision by the European Parliament to ban new petrol and diesel vehicles will also affect Switzerland. How is the Swiss electric car market doing today? And where will we get the electricity to charge all the batteries in the future? 

This content was published on June 28, 2022 - 09:00 June 28, 2022 - 09:00

A journalist from Ticino resident in Bern, I write on scientific and social issues with reports, articles, interviews and analysis. I am interested in environmental, climate change and energy issues, as well as migration, development aid and human rights in general.

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From 2035, newly registered cars and light goods vehicles will no longer be allowed to emit greenhouse gases. The ban on internal combustion engines voted by the European Parliament – which the EU member States still have to approve – effectively marks the end of petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles, as well as hybrids, which are currently experiencing a boom. In future, only new electric or hydrogen-powered models will be able to be sold. 

This decision is seen as an important step in the emission reduction strategy of the European bloc which – like Switzerland and many other countries – is aiming to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. In Switzerland, the transport sector is responsible for over one third of CO2 emissions. 

>>Are electric vehicles really greener than other types of car? Watch this video to find out.


What does the EU ban mean for Switzerland? 

Switzerland is not part of the EU, and therefore does not have to comply with the European Parliament's ban. However, fossil-fuel vehicles are also set to disappear from Swiss roads. All new cars sold in Switzerland must fulfil EU regulations, including in terms of CO2 emissions. In addition, no European car manufacturer will want to produce combustion engines for a market as small as Switzerland, according to Peter Fuss, an industry expert at the auditing firm Ernst & Young, quoted by the free newspaper 20 Minutes. 

How long will it still be possible to buy a new petrol car in Switzerland? 

The Green Party would like to ban the registration of new fossil-fuel vehicles from 2025, a proposal that is not supported by the country's other main parties. The Swiss Association for Transport and Environment, which promotes sustainable and climate-friendly mobility, argues that if Switzerland wants to achieve its climate targets, no new petrol or diesel vehicles should be allowed on the roads from 2030. 

The federal government has, however, not yet set a deadline. Moreover, during the COP26 international climate conference in November last year, Switzerland was unwilling to sign a non-binding declaration calling for a ban on new vehicles with environmentally harmful emissions starting from 2035 (in the main markets) and 2040 (worldwide). 

How is the electric vehicle market doing in Switzerland? 

There are more and more electric and hybrid electric cars in Switzerland. In 2021, purely electric vehicles accounted for a record 13.3% of new registrations. This trend was confirmed in the first five months of this year, when the proportion rose to 15.3%, according to the association of Swiss automobile importers.

And it hits 24.2% if we also count plug-in hybrid models, which have a combustion engine and batteries that can be recharged from external sources (household sockets or charging points). According to the Swiss government's Electric Mobility Roadmap, the proportion should have reached 50% by the end of 2025. 

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These figures can be misleading, however, and anyone who has driven in Switzerland has probably noticed that purely electric cars are still in the clear minority. There are currently around 80,000 of them on the roads; that is less than 2% of the total number of vehicles. 

How does Swiss electric mobility rate internationally? 

Compared to other European countries, Switzerland ranks eighth in terms of the number of rechargeable vehicles (electric and hybrid), according to the Touring Club Suisse. This puts it above the EU average. Among the neighbouring countries, only Germany ranks higher. Topping the list is Norway, where nearly nine out of ten new vehicles are fully electric or plug-in hybrids. 

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As for the density of public charging points, Switzerland is in line with the European average. At the end of May 2022, it had 7,896 charging points. The federal authorities want this number to rise to 20,000 by the end of 2025. 

Switzerland still lags behind, however, when it comes to private charging infrastructure. This prevents many motorists from being able to recharge their vehicles at home. Most people in the country do not live in independent housing and therefore cannot install home charging stations in their garages. 

Will there be enough electricity to power all the cars? 

The association Swiss eMobility predicts that 2.4 to 2.9 million electric cars will be on the roads in Switzerland by 2035. This will require an electricity surplus of between 5.4 and 6.7 terawatt hours a year, the equivalent of about 10% of today's electricity consumption. 

Around 76% of the electricity consumed in Switzerland today comes from renewable sources, primarily hydroelectric power plants. The rest is mainly supplied by nuclear power stations, which will, however, be decommissioned in the next ten to 20 years. To secure future electricity needs, the Swiss government is focusing on developing solar energy. It therefore plans to create incentives to boost the number of photovoltaic systems installed on the roofs and facades of buildings. 

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