Government Gives EV Owners Bad News: You Could Say Goodbye to Driving Privileges


With winter here and much of Europe facing possible energy crises, Switzerland is making preparations, one of which could be limits on driving electric vehicles.

The Swiss Federal Council has drafted a proposal, “Ordinance on Restrictions and Prohibitions on the Use of Electric Energy,” with suggested preparations for possible electric shortages this winter.

Part of the proposal (translated from German to English) suggests that if a shortage in electrical power reaches an emergency level, electric cars could be used only for necessary functions, such as “professional practice, shopping, visits to the doctor, visits from religious events, attending court hearings.”

Switzerland gets much of its energy from hydroelectric power stations, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.

But an exceptionally dry summer has led to shortfalls in hydropower output, making the country turn to imports for electricity, EuroWeekly News reported.

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Switzerland often imports electricity from Germany and France, but those countries are facing their own energy crises this year, Der Spiegel reported.

These factors led the Swiss government to draft its plan to address energy shortfalls this winter.

While a possible restriction on driving electric vehicles is significant, the Swiss proposal includes several other limits on power usage in an emergency.

Buildings that use electric heat would have a cap on temperatures, stores might have to reduce hours of operation, streaming could be restricted, and lighting for sports arenas and other entertainment buildings could be limited, Forbes reported in English on the German document.

Should EVs be restricted during an electricity shortage?

The possible restrictions on EVs have gained particular attention since both the Swiss government and its auto industry made plans this year to increase the usage of electric vehicles, the International Service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corp. reported in May.

“The public-private initiative aims to increase the share of electric models among new registrations to 50% by 2025,” the report said.

That conflict led to commentary on social media.

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For now, the plan to limit electrical vehicle usage is just a draft proposal. But as winter continues, Swiss EV owners should be prepared to have their driving restricted.

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