With the energy situation in Europe right now, countries are looking for ways to cut energy use and save their energy supplies for when they really need it. Ironically, this fossil-derived energy challenge has led to the Swiss government encouraging EV drivers to use their cars less — just for urgent needs like going to work, going to the grocery store, going to the doctor, going for religious services (yes, this is included), etc. The point is that with potentially limited electricity supply, the government wants people to cut their usage where possible. They may even codify it into a kind of law for when the country is facing a power crunch.
The downside is that this kind of policy creates fear in people and also makes electric cars look like they have issues or are a concern for society. Also, if this was codified into law, what would that mean for someone who drove their EV to the park or the gym or somewhere deemed non-essential?
The Swiss auto importer lobby isn’t happy. “Our members and their official brand dealers promote electric cars with great effort, from advertising to personal sales pitches. Now the Federal Council (cabinet) comes up with this possible rule — a disservice to electromobility,” said Andreas Burgener, director of the auto-schweiz importers group, according to Reuters. “Customers who buy or order a vehicle now will think twice about whether they should go back to petrol or diesel.” Indeed.
The hardest thing here is believing that Switzerland would implement such a counterproductive law. It’s extra strange since Switzerland has long been a top market for electric vehicle adoption.
All of those concerns noted, perhaps the effect of such policy wouldn’t be as strong as people are concerned it would be — due to the fact that the government is implementing a series of strong rules to deal with the fact that Europe, Switzerland included, is facing power and gas shortages this winter because of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and related energy warfare.
“The government has said it could curb non-essential use of power, such as illuminating shop windows, using mobile heaters, or lighting at night. It could order around 30,000 companies to save up to 30% of power usage in an extreme scenario. As a last resort it could shut parts of the grid in revolving blackouts.”
So, yeah, this is not just about electric vehicles. The country is possibly going to implement a large variety of policies to conserve energy. That said, I don’t see any mention of a policy limiting gas-powered cars or diesel-powered cars to only essential driving. It seems that if there are potential fuel shortages, that would be useful as well. Furthermore, while implementing the policy for electric vehicles, why not go ahead and implement it at the same time for fossil fuel–powered vehicles in order to limit global heating and cut pollution that harms human health? I know, I know — this is an acute crisis they are trying to avert. But long-term crises are crises as well.
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