Owners of electric vehicles in Switzerland may find themselves in a tight spot this winter. From the British news site Daily Mail:
Switzerland will ban the use of electric cars for ‘non-essential’ journeys if the country runs out of energy this winter, the government has announced. Emergency plans drawn up in the event the Swiss are hit by blackouts also call for shop opening hours to be reduced by up to two hours per day, heating systems in nightclubs to be turned off, and other buildings to be heated to no more than 20C.
Even more drastic measures are mentioned, such as the closing of sports stadiums and a ban on Christmas lights.
According to Fox Business, Switzerland is heavily dependent on its hydropower stations, which account for 60% of the country’s power supply. In the winter, when those stations do not operate, the country relies heavily on imported energy.
In 2017, voters approved a plan to phase out Switzerland’s nuclear power plants which according to the BBC account for “one third of the country’s energy needs.” The plan aimed to increase the energy supply from solar and wind power, as a replacement for nuclear energy.
A ban on non-essential travel with electric vehicles would hit a large share of buyers of new vehicles in Switzerland. Fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids—which combine chargeable electric power with an internal combustion engine—made up 15% of total new Swiss vehicle sales in 2021. In May of this year, Swissinfo.ch reported that one-quarter of new vehicles sold were either fully electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.