A survey in Switzerland found that 73% of the population does not plan to buy an electric car.
Governments around the world are pushing for the electrification of road transport and many car manufacturers have made public commitments to stop making fossil fuel powered cars in the near future. However, these plans rest on the public buying electric vehicles.
Of the 1,150 people in Switzerland questioned by bonus.ch in an online survey, 3.2% already owned an electric car, 24.2% said they were planning to buy one, while 72.6% said they had no plans to buy one.
Those in German-speaking (74.7%) and French-speaking (72.6%) Switzerland were the most uninterested in buying an electric car. In Italian-speaking Switzerland a lower 61.3% said they had no plans to buy one.
The most common reasons for not wanting to buy an electric vehicle were the environmental damage caused by batteries (25.3%), the high purchase price (24.8%), a lack of recharging points (22.1%) and limited range (17.7%).
Instead of an electric car, most planned to buy petrol (42.3%), hybrid (16.2%) or diesel (15.7%) vehicles.
Another reason for not getting too excited about electric cars is the heavy use of fossil fuels in electricity production. Electric vehicles powered by cleanly produced electricity have low emissions. However, those powered by electricity produced using fossil fuel are largely reduced to shifting pollution from the tailpipe to the power station.
Switzerland is connected to the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSOE), which means it adds and draws electricity from a pool of electricity stretching, like the effects of climate change, far beyond its borders. In 2018, nearly 41% of the electricity in this European electricity network was produced by burning fossil fuels.
Until the electricity going into the ENTSOE pool is clean, plugging more into it, regardless of where plugging in, will have only a muted impact on cutting emissions. In addition, small electric cars should be favoured over large ones. Furthermore, some small non-electric cars will have lower emissions than some hefty electric ones.