There’s an interesting development going on in Europe.
The Swiss Federal Electricity Commission, ElCom[i], has stated the winter power supply this year is ambiguous, forcing potential restrictions on electric vehicles this winter. The country gets roughly 60% of its energy from hydroelectric power stations. These power stations rely on the snow melt during warmer months. Consequently, Switzerland produces less hydroelectric power during the winter months.
Unlike in years past, neighboring countries are not able to export electricity to Switzerland due to the current natural gas supply disruption, caused by the ongoing war in Ukraine. Therefore, ElCom has been forced to enact a plan to reduce power usage in the cities and conserve resources throughout this winter season.
According to this plan, Switzerland may restrict EV charging, reserving it only for “absolutely necessary journeys”. These journeys include travel to work, doctor appointments, travel to religious events, court appointments, and other essential events[i]. “Non-essential EV travel” will be regulated in the escalation of the plan’s emergency phase[ii]. Currently only in draft form, the ordinance is designed to avoid an energy crisis during winter to sustain the country in colder months.
The European Union, being leaders in environmental legislation, are among the first countries to experience problems while converting to mostly electric vehicles. It will be interesting to see if other countries, such as France and Germany, facing similar crisis’, may also follow suit in coming years. Restricting the use of EV travel is another hiccup in the advancement of global EV use, leaving the traditional combustion engine to come to the rescue once again in times of emergency. Of course, we aren’t complaining.
Here in the United States, potential state-specific legislation may also deter EV owners from hitting the road too often. For example, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is considering introducing new toll road fees to pay for billions of dollars in new road projects. As part of the same push, lawmakers would also need to approve raising the annual fee on owning an electric vehicle from $100 to $300[i].
So, what is the consensus of this article? Well, some could argue that the world may not be as ready for electric vehicles as we thought. At least, not the widespread, mandated adoption of them. One day, infrastructure and resources may catch up to allow consumers to have more choice in personal transportation, but for now, the future still remains uncertain.
[i] Mattise, J., & Press, T. A. (2022, December 4). Tennessee gov. Bill Lee mulls tripling fee for electric-vehicle owners, adding express toll lanes to pay for roadway projects. Fortune. Retrieved December 6, 2022, from https://fortune.com/2022/12/04/tennessee-gov-bill-lee-mulls-tripling-ev-fee-adding-express-toll-lanes/
[i] Switzerland considers EV driving ban and limits during a blackout. Carscoops. (2022, December 6). Retrieved December 6, 2022, from https://www.carscoops.com/2022/12/switzerland-considers-limiting-ev-usage-in-the-event-of-a-blackout/
[ii] McKenzie, T. (2022, December 3). Swiss government may ban EV use this winter to conserve electricity. autoevolution. Retrieved December 6, 2022, from https://www.autoevolution.com/news/swiss-government-may-ban-ev-use-this-winter-to-conserve-electricity-205479.html
[i] ElCom, F. E. C. (n.d.). Elcom. ElCom. Retrieved December 6, 2022, from https://www.elcom.admin.ch/elcom/en/home.html#:~:text=ElCom%20is%20Switzerland’s%20independent%20regulatory,and%20pronouncing%20rulings%20where%20required.