Electric car sales pass ‘tipping point’


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The number of new electric cars sold in Switzerland continues to accelerate. The transition to predominantly electric mobility is even faster than expected, according to the motorsport association Touring Club Suisse (TCS).

This content was posted on January 18, 2022 – 2:58 PM

Sales of vehicles powered by alternative fuels [tout électrique, hybrides rechargeables, autres modèles hybrides et véhicules à gaz] rose sharply last year to account for almost half of all new cars sold in Switzerland. The year 2021 ended particularly strongly. In the September-November period, all-electric vehicles accounted for 18.3% of new registrations and plug-in vehicles (electric and plug-in hybrids) reached a record 28%, said the Swiss Touring Club.external link (TCS).

TCS regards this 18.3% threshold as an important step. Electric vehicles have clearly passed a “tipping point” and entered the mainstream, he said.

“Given ongoing technological advances, greater social acceptance and an ever-widening choice of electric vehicle models, the development of electromobility is progressing faster than expected. The threshold of the 50% of all-electric vehicles, which most experts only predicted around 2030, is therefore expected to be reached much faster than expected”, indicates the TCS.

Overall, the pandemic slowed vehicle sales in Switzerland in 2021, causing supply chain delays and microchip shortages. And that’s despite an abundance of customers wanting new cars, notes Auto-Suisse.external link, the association of official car importers. Annual sales (238,481 passenger vehicles in 2021) have increased slightly compared to 2020, but are almost a quarter lower than in 2019.

Auto-Suisse spokesman Christoph Wolnik confirms that semiconductor shortages are affecting electric car sales. “Since the beginning of the microchip crisis, car manufacturers and importers have systematically prioritized electric models in their production and delivery plans,” he explains, referring to the placement of precious semiconductors in new electric vehicles rather than in electric motor models. combustion.

Christoph Wolnik expects this trend to continue over the next six months. He said all alternative fuel vehicles will cross the 50% sales threshold in 2022, with all-electric vehicles likely to account for 18-19%, in part due to the microchip issue, as well as a wider supply. cheaper models and the strengthening of European regulations on CO2 emissions.

The rapid growth of electric cars, however, remains uneven globally. Switzerland is at the top of the international rankings, while Norway continues to eclipse the other nations. Purely electric cars accounted for nearly two-thirds of new sales in Norway in 2021 as the country pursues its goal of becoming the first to end the sale of petrol and diesel cars.

An oil-producing country, Norway continues to encourage the shift to zero-emission cars by reducing taxes on electric vehicles and offering a range of incentives and exemptions. In Switzerland, incentives for plug-in vehicles are not coordinated and vary by canton.

Only three automakers – Tesla, Hyundai and Toyota – saw their sales increase in Switzerland compared to 2019, while all other manufacturers struggled. At the end of 2020, there were 43 purely electric models available in Switzerland. A year later, the supply had increased by 50%. Sales of the all-electric Tesla Model 3 sedan stood out. Another trend: The Swiss are ditching their 4x4s for new SUVs and small electric crossovers, which have proven to be among the most popular all-electric newcomers over the past year.

Mobility and electric cars feature in the government’s proposed new environmental law, introduced last December, which aims to halve Switzerland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.

Under the new law, the government wants to impose a stricter limit on CO2 emissions for vehicles, in line with EU rules, and penalize car importers if they fail to meet the new targets.

The new law is expected to lead to the importation of greener vehicles each year and help finance a CHF 210 million project to install more charging stations for electric cars.

A total of 8,497 public charging points were available across Switzerland in 2021, according to the European Alternative Fuels Observatory – an increase of more than 600 on the previous year. The density of public charging infrastructure in Switzerland is around the European average. But where Switzerland still lags, experts say, is in private charging infrastructure: the ability for car owners to charge at home, especially in urban areas.

“The obstacles to charging at home are still very high for tenants, apartment owners and residents who park on the street,” says Krispin Romang, managing director of the Swiss electric mobility association, which is pushing the government to find a political solution to this problem. problem. .

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