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Gas guzzling Swiss electric car snub worries industry group

Tesla in Switzerland

A Tesla electric car is driven through Altdorf in central Switzerland


The number of new cars registered in Switzerland last year fell below the 300,000 barrier for the first time in eight years, according to Auto-Schweiz. Figures from the association also showed Swiss motorists continue to prefer gas guzzlers to environmentally friendly models.

Auto-Schweiz blamed a 4.6% drop in total registrations (299,716) on late deliveries due to new emissions testing standards. It expects the 300,000 mark to be reached again in 2019 as the situation settles.

According to the figures, the share of hybrid, electric, hydrogen and compressed natural gas vehicles rose from 5.6% to 7.2%. The share of 4x4 cars, however, continued to dominate with just under half of Swiss motorists opting for this class.

But Jürg Grossen, president of the organisation E-Mobility, was disappointed by the small number of electric cars on Swiss streets. Research by the Tages-Anzeiger newspaperexternal link puts the share of vehicles that can be properly classified as electric cars (including hybrid) at 3.1%, up from 2.6% in 2017.

The electric vehicle association and the Swiss authorities want the proportion of plug-in electric cars to reach 15% by 2022. Grossen said the shortfall can be put down to a lack of education about electric cars and resistance from the petrol-fuelled industry.

“It’s obvious that electric cars will be the only possible solution for clean, renewable individual mobility in the foreseeable future,” he said. “The automotive industry and the authorities now need to rethink this quickly. It is still possible to achieve targets [of electric cars on the streets].”

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