Why is this country threatening to ban electric cars this winter?

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Should travel by electric car be prohibited in the event of a peak in electricity consumption and the risk of a blackout? In any case, this is what the Swiss authorities are preparing to do. As 01Net reports, the Swiss Confederation is discussing an ordinance to this effect. It could come into force this winter.

The idea is to set up four alert levels which will activate a more or less restrictive set of measures, the details of which are still under discussion. But some of them have already been revealed. For example, we know that the first step mainly involves “soft” measures such as asking the population to lower the thermostat to 20°C.

Switzerland could ban its citizens from driving electric in the event of a peak in consumption

However, if level 3 was reached, the Swiss authorities could outright ban the population from driving an electric car, unless there is a compelling reason. An excerpt from the text published in the press indeed states: private use of electric cars is only permitted for absolutely necessary journeys (for the exercise of a profession, for shopping and for trips to doctors, religious events or court hearings, for example) “.

The intention is simply to reduce the load on the electricity grid and thus at least limit the extent of the electricity shortage. Switzerland is, like most European countries, a net importer of energy. The landlocked country between France, Italy, Austria and Germany, depended in 2021, according to the Federal Office of Statistics, “70% from abroad for its energy supply, downward trend”. This winter could therefore be very difficult to manage for local energy distributors.

However, according to the same source, the impact of electric cars on the country’s network remains very low for the moment, which may raise questions about the measure. The proportion of energy consumed by all electric cars driving in Switzerland only represented 0.3% of the country’s total consumption in 2021. The Swiss transport and environment association ATE is also wondering about its site on this proposal – and if it does not unfairly penalize the owners of electric cars.

Even if they make more demands on the electricity grid, argues the association, these vehicles still consume three times less energy than internal combustion vehicles. Furthermore, by developing the concept of bi-directional charging, the batteries of electric cars could, according to the ATE, be exploited to stabilize the load of the network and therefore reduce the extent of shortages.

“Instead of curbing the rise of electric cars, it would be wiser to stop the sale of combustion engine models as soon as possible”, underlines the ATE. which evokes “backward circles” who “question the necessary turning point that mobility is bringing about”. For the time being, despite the risk of a shortage also possible in France, there is no question of applying the same type of restrictions this winter.

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