In 2022, 26.1% of newly registered passenger vehicles in Switzerland were plug-in, up 3.6 percentage points from 22.5% in 2021. And the percentage of diesels fell from 17.4% to 11.4%, a drop of 6 percentage points.
The percentage of fully electric cars – plug-in vehicles includes hybrids – rose even faster from 13.4% to 17.9%, a jump of 4.5 percentage points.
Passenger cars imported into Switzerland in 2022 had average emissions of 120.9 g CO2/km, missing the prescribed target of 118 g CO2/km. When this happens car importers are required to pay fines. In 2022, they were fined CHF 16.4 million.
The results for light goods vehicles were similar. Average emissions of vehicle imports were 201.5 g CO2/km, a figure short of the 186 g CO2/km limit. This triggered fines of around CHF 5.6 million. The percentage of plug-ins among newly registered light goods vehicles in 2022 was 10.5, up from 5.5% in 2021.
Overall, progress was made in 2022 but not enough to avoid fines. In addition, the overall vehicle emissions calculation is a bit of a fudge. Electric vehicles are not, as the calculation assumes, ultimately emission free. Producing the marginal electricity required to power them often involves burning something, adding to emissions – much of the electricity imported into Switzerland during winter is produced this way.
For anyone with a sunny south-facing roof, installing solar panels is almost certain to cut overall emissions more than upgrading to an electric car at this stage of the energy transition.