© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A battery charger sign for electric cars is painted on the ground of a parking ground near the soccer stadium in Wolfsburg, Germany, April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo
ZURICH (Reuters) – The Swiss car importers lobby hit back on Monday at the government’s proposal to limit the use of electric vehicles in any power crunch, saying the mere suggestion could prompt consumers to opt for autos that burn fossil fuels.
“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 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.
The proposal is putting a chill on sales of electric cars, jeopardising the sector’s prospects of reaching targets for reducing 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.