it considers constraints in a severe shortage scenario

At the end of 2022, the Swiss Federal Council presented a series of measures aimed at reducing electricity consumption in the country under various energy shortage scenarios. The government is proposing to limit the use of electric cars for trips deemed “absolutely necessary”, a measure that would only apply in the event of a severe shortage, but is being misunderstood by Internet users who claim this. “Switzerland will ban electric cars”. Moreover, this proposal, which was not received unambiguously in the country, has not yet been accepted.

“Switzerland plans to ban electric cars in winter to save energy”, This is a screenshot of an automatically translated article from the American conservative website Hot Air shared by a French netizen.

“Total energy savings: Switzerland to ban electric cars”Another Belgian netizen writes that the Swiss government is planning to do the same“Completely ban electric cars during daylight hours. The rest of the time, it is recommended that you limit yourself to major trips – to work, the grocery store, the doctor, the court or church.”

Screenshot taken on 20/01/2023 on Facebook

Screenshot taken on 20/01/2023 on Facebook

The claim was shared in French by several dozen Internet users, some of whom posted a screenshot citing an article from or the English tabloid Daily Mail. It’s also spreading on Twitter. Similar claims were shared in English and confirmed by AFP in that language.

Internet users are ironic in the comments. “It’s really great (…) in winter we can’t use it to save energy (heating) and in summer we can’t use it to save energy (air conditioning)”one of them comments and the other confirms that it will be so “Soon in France”.

Screenshot taken on 20/01/2023 on Facebook

Screenshot taken on 20/01/2023 on Facebook

The Hot Air article cited by a Belgian netizen and the German magazine mention the Swiss government’s plan, which presents a series of measures to reduce consumption during electricity shortages.

Faced with fears of electricity shortages, the Swiss Federal Council has presented a series of measures that could be implemented in the event that electricity runs out in November 2022. Among the proposals is the last tier of measures to limit the use of electric devices, that is to limit the use of electric cars for trips considered “absolutely necessary” under conditions of “advanced” shortages.

Consultations on this project have been carried out and its results are currently being evaluated. The revised orders will be presented to the Federal Council again in February next year. Action on electric cars is not unanimous in Switzerland.

Not a ban, but a restriction of use in case of serious shortage

On November 23, 2022, the Swiss government presented a plan to prepare the country for a potential energy shortage, Swiss media and journalists reported.

Divided into several orders, the government’s plan provides for various measures to reduce electricity consumption: initially, the government “calls for reduced consumption”, then limit or prohibit the use of certain devices. As a last resort, the Federal Council provides load shedding – a temporary shutdown of electricity in a part of the grid so that it does not become saturated for a few hours.

These draft orders can be found on the website of the Swiss Federal Council“In the event of a severe power shortage, measures will be tailored to the severity of the shortage and the specific situation before the orders come into force.”

The text in which electric cars are mentioned is titled Decree “On restrictions and prohibitions on the use of electricity”.

It provides a number of restrictions and prohibitions, which are divided into several levels depending on the severity of the deficiency.

The use restrictions to which the first appendix of the Ordinance is devoted are divided into three levels: Level 1, for example, restricts washing machines to 40° and Level 2 limits heating in some public establishments.

Restrictions on the use of electric vehicles are listed at level 3 “main restrictions”. In this case, the recipe details, “Private use of electric vehicles is permitted only for absolutely necessary travel (such as business, shopping and medical visits, religious events or court hearings).”

Screenshot of the decree on restrictions and prohibitions on the use of electricity, taken on 19.01.2023

“According to this first draft of the decree, the private use of electric cars will be included in the last of the three stages of tightening restrictions on use, that is, only when more drastic measures are necessary in case of energy shortages. Then the power shortage situation would already be at an advanced stage.”The country’s Federal Office for Economic Supply (OFAE) told AFP on January 18, 2023.

This time, the second appendix to the order, dedicated to the “prohibitions” of use, does not mention electric cars: The Federal Council therefore proposed not to ban their use altogether, but to limit it in case of “advanced” deficiency.

“Electric cars have not been banned in Switzerland and are not expected to be” told AFP Markus of SpoerndliA spokesperson for the Federal Department of Economics (DEF) interviewed on December 13, 2022. “A potential restriction on the use of private electric vehicles is currently included in the draft executive order as a possible measure in the event of a persistent shortage of electricity, if the shortage cannot be overcome. Preceded by more moderate measures.”

“In the case of energy shortages, calls for voluntary restrictions and light restrictions will be implemented first; only if these measures are ineffective will more severe restrictions and bans be put into effect.”, Markus Spoerndl added.

In August 2022, the Federal Council already presented various possible measures in case of energy shortages in this video:

A measure that has not yet been adopted

The draft of the Federal Council was put up for discussion until December 12, 2022 within the framework of the accelerated adoption procedure. This means that the aforementioned order applies to the relevant circles – cantons, representatives of the energy sector, etc. were presented, invited to express their opinions on the various proposed events.

Ongoing or completed consultation procedures are available on the Fedlex federal law publishing platform website. consultation on “Regulatory management measures during energy shortages” has been closed since December 12.

The PDF of the consultation is free. From Freiburg you can read the views of a number of Swiss energy players and political players, such as the Conference of Cantonal Energy Directors (EnDK), the Regional Development Platform RegioSuisse, the Cantonal Chamber of Commerce and Industry…

Several of these players voiced their disapproval of the move to limit the use of electric vehicles: “It is wrong to penalize electric car owners at a time when this transition is encouraged” write for example representatives of the Industrial Services direction of the Commune of Lausanne (SIL).

Sample feedback, screenshot of the consultation process carried out on 19/01/2023

“Since the number of electric vehicles is still small, this measure will have a limited effect. Moreover, its implementation will be difficult,” Representatives of the Union of Swiss Cities (UVS) also write.

“The proposed restriction on the use of electric vehicles is discriminatory disproportionate. Currently, electric cars consume only 0.4 percent of the total electricity in Switzerland.” also announces the Swiss AEE, a professional organization in the field of renewable energy.

Interviewed by AFP on December 21, 2022, a spokesperson for the Auto-suisse car importers association also disagreed with the measure: “We very much hope that the government will withdraw this proposal“, announced Christoph Wolnik.

The consultation is over, and its results are being studied, AFAE said. “Sarman drafts are being revised and will then be presented again to the Federal Council. This is planned for February 2023. But even after this date, these will be drafts that the Federal Council will adapt to the situation. entry into force,” A spokesman for OFAE explained.

The measures presented in the draft resolution, including those on electric vehicles, have therefore not yet been adopted and are not expected to enter into force this winter.

As of January 20, 2023, the energy table prepared by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) showed that electricity was available. “tight supply situation”.

On January 12, the director of the Federal Electricity Commission (Elcom) assured that Switzerland should spend the winter without electricity shortages, RTS reports.

According to the country’s Federal Statistical Office, 110,745 electric vehicles were registered in Switzerland in 2022, which is equivalent to 2.3% of all passenger cars.

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