The increasingly competitive offer of electric vehicles in Switzerland –

Car sales in Switzerland suffered a historic 24% drop last year. At the same time, the number of electric vehicles increased by 48%. Tesla’s Model 3 dominates the podium, but competition is growing, with now 50 competitors.

For the automotive market in Switzerland, 2020 is a dismal year. Overall sales plummeted, dominated by the pandemic. “It is really a very bad year. The worst of the last 45 years”, laments François Launaz, president of the umbrella group of car importers Auto-Suisse.

The one-quarter drop in sales in a single year is historic. But 2020 is not just a dark year for car sales, it’s also a green year, with a sharp increase in 100% electric cars. In total, more than 19,300 cars of this type were registered last year, a 48% jump on the previous year.

A direct consequence of the pandemic? Actually. 2020 was also the year in which the limit on CO2 emissions per km on average per new car was reduced from 130 grams to 95 grams, forcing conventional brands to enter the market with new, cleaner models.

democratized market

In the sales ranking, Tesla remains in the lead, ahead of the Renault Zoé and the Hyundai SUV. It follows the VW ID3 brand, which begins its electric offensive (see attached list of 100% electric models sold in 2020).

For François Launaz, Tesla delivered a big blow to the anthill: “The brands that dominated the market in previous years had to wake up and are catching up in Europe. With an extraordinary marketing campaign and a new way of selling cars without a garage , Tesla turned the automotive landscape upside down”.

Increasingly cheaper basic products allow electric vehicles to become more democratic. Tesla’s “marketing” of cars that are inaccessible to the greatest number is now giving way to a low carbon reality, accessible to all.

Competition in the electric market is growing, with the arrival of 20 new models last year. The choice is now expanding to around fifty models available in Switzerland.

New pure electric brands

Among these new entrants is the Opel e-Corsa and its 337 kilometers (WLTP) of autonomy. “It is one of the few European cars. Today we have no delivery problem for this type of vehicle. The demand is there and production is following it”, celebrates David Rodrigues, branch manager. Opel, Citroën and DS at Emil Frey Automobiles in Geneva.

New purely electric brands hit Swiss roads, such as the Sino-Swedish Polestar. Its Model 2 boasts 470 kilometers (WLTP) of autonomy for a price of 57,000 francs. Landed in December, she had already found 32 customers at the end of 2020 in Switzerland, including Pierre-Alain Pittet: “I had a lot of petrol vehicles and I hesitated for a long time between a hybrid or an electric vehicle. of the Polestar 2 is more than enough for the use I make of it”. In addition to the price of the vehicle, the accessory costs will drop drastically for this new owner, who quickly made his calculations: “Annual registration in the canton of Vaud was 25 francs . . Now I spend less than 100 francs on electricity.”

This first 100% electric model from Polestar could surpass 1,000 sales this year, given the sales take-off articulated by the brand director in Switzerland: “We opened our online ordering system at the end of November. now 300 people have booked or said they want to buy a Polestar 2,” Sascha Heiniger told RTS.

rods on wheels

New entrants and traditional brands are now following this electric shift, which the coronavirus crisis appears to be accelerating. “I believe that the brands understood that the future belongs to a different strategy than gasoline or diesel to advance our vehicles”, considers the president of Auto-Suisse, who however deplores the passivity of the authorities: “We must invest in charging stations . Compared to the Nordic countries which have 300 inhabitants per season, Switzerland has 1600!”

>> Read also: Charging stations, a brake on electric car development? and Norway claims to be the electric car champion

If electric cars are becoming more popular, they remain, on average, more expensive than internal combustion, gasoline or diesel cars. Even if this additional cost is amortized in a few years, the purchase price remains decisive when buying a car or renting it, notes François Launaz.

Pascal Jeannerat / fme

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