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Switzerland slammed for proposal to limit the use of electric cars

Zurich – While South Africa suffers crippling load shedding, energy shortages are also becoming a buzzword in other parts of the world, particularly Europe.

This week the Swiss government said that it was considering a rule that would limit the use of electric cars, and now the country’s car importers lobby is hitting back, saying the mere suggestion could prompt consumers to opt for cars that burn fossil fuels.

The government has proposed a series of increasingly tough measures to conserve energy as shortages of gas and power loom that could lead to rationing in a worst-case scenario.

One draft rule would curb the private use of electric vehicles unless urgently needed for work, shopping, or visiting the doctor or religious ceremonies.

“Our members and their official brand dealers promote electric cars with great effort, from advertising to personal sales pitches. Now the Federal Council (cabinet) comes up with this possible rule – a disservice to electromobility,” said Andreas Burgener, director of the auto-schweiz importers group.

“Customers who buy or order a vehicle now will think twice about whether they should go back to petrol or diesel.”

The proposal is putting a chill on sales of electric cars, jeopardising the sector’s prospects of reaching targets forreducing carbon emissions, auto-schweiz said.

A survey among its members had shown the market share of electric cars and plug-in hybrids could rise to over 50% in 2025 from just under half now, it added.

The government has said it could curb non-essential use of power, such as illuminating shop windows, using mobile heaters, or lighting at night. It could order around 30 000 companies to save up to 30% of power usage in an extreme scenario. As a last resort it could shut parts of the grid in revolving blackouts.

Reuters

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