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Electricity: A convincing energy source for individual mobility

Switzerland wants to decrease its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by the year 2020 (reference year: 1990). In order to achieve this objective, those areas must be improved that have the highest CO2 emissions in the country, namely transport (45%) and heating (55%, status 2011). To undertake anything here, it requires a move away from fossil fuels to electricity: Thus in future buildings should be heated using heat pumps and the motorised private transport should become more environmentally friendly thanks to electric vehicles.

CO<sub>2</sub> emissions

CO2 emissions in Switzerland
Source: Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), 2011


Dual challenge

Our country is up to 78.5% reliant on the import of fossil fuels (status 2010). Oil and gas imports today constitute approximately two thirds of the primary energy consumption. Thus Switzerland faces a dual challenge: On the one hand it must minimise the risks of a possible shortage of crude oil and the associated increase in the price, and on the other react to the climate problem through a drastic reduction in greenhouse gases.

In order to achieve these targets Switzerland must improve energy efficiency, increase the proportion of renewable energies and strengthen international cooperation. These are also objectives of the Federal Council’s new Energy Strategy 2050.

CO<sub>2</sub> emissions in road transport

CO2 emissions in road transport (2010)
Source: Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN)


Intelligent electrification

In order to make sustainable progress with the energy efficiency, an intelligent electrification of the Swiss economy is essential. Hence, for example, the use of electrically-powered vehicles that are fed from the public electricity supply could contribute significantly to achieving the targets set by the federal government’s climate and energy policies. A prerequisite for this, however, is a continued low CO2 electricity mix.


Switzerland as promoter of electric mobility

Thanks to the practically CO2-free generation of electricity in Switzerland, electricity could provide an important contribution to the decarbonisation of road transport.  According to a study commissioned by Alpiq, a market penetration with electric vehicles of 15% would reduce the overall level of CO2 emissions by approximately 10 percent. With its high density of road vehicles, Switzerland is an ideal test market for electric vehicles in Europe.

This scenario would reduce the total CO2 emissions caused by the transport sector by 1.6 million tons a year, which after all, represents around 10 percent of the emissions generated by private vehicles in 2010 (see the diagram). 

If in the future electric vehicles were to constitute 15 percent of the total number of Swiss road vehicles (2011 it was 0.4%, i.e. 23,000 of 5.5 million registered vehicles), the generation of Swiss electricity would have to be increased by a mere 2 percent. In order that electric vehicles are really able to achieve a breakthrough, however, it first needs a favourable environment. This includes the installation of a nationwide network of charging stations that are based on the existing electricity network. Here Alpiq sees trend-setting business opportunities. With Alpiq E-Mobility AG and cooperation agreements with automobile manufacturers, these are to be systematically implemented. Already in 2012 Alpiq E-Mobility participated in the foundation of the EVite special interest group. The objective of the EVite project is to construct a comprehensive network of fast charging stations for electric vehicles in Switzerland. The first charging station at the Kölliken-Nord motorway service station on the Berne side of the A1 Motorway has been in operation since November 2012.