Compared to other countries of Western Europe, Switzerland is an EV laggard. The government has set an aspirational goal of electrifying a third of the auto fleet by 2030, but every proposal to establish purchase incentives has been nixed by the powerful auto importers’ lobby. While a few of the Swiss cantons (the equivalent of US states) offer tax incentives for EV purchases, the federal government does not.
The Swiss smart-shopper magazine Ktipp recently drew an unfavorable comparison between Norway, which has the best average carbon emissions figure for new cars of any European country, and Switzerland, which has the worst.
The Swiss are, however, investing in public charging infrastructure. More and more of the park-and-ride lots at train stations feature Level 2 charging stations, and highway rest stops are steadily being equipped with DC fast charging facilities. 24 rest stops already have fast chargers, and the federal highway authority plans to install 100 more over the next 10 years.
The Federal Roads Office has chosen five companies to deploy the new chargers: Gotttardo Fastcharge, Groupe E, Primeo Energie, Socar and the Dutch-based firm Fastned. Each will be responsible for 20 sites. The government will advance an estimated half million Francs (about $500,000) per site, which the operating firms will pay back over 30 years.
Groupe E, which will install stations in the Zurich, Basel and Ticino regions, says its stations will offer power levels up to 350 kW. Some locations may incorporate solar panels and/or hydrogen fueling stations. Groupe E’s chargers will be integrated into the MOVE network, which includes over 820 charging points in Switzerland.