Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: June 17, 2024
Swiss National Council greenlights EV charging expansion, benefiting over 70% of the population
By Lucía Colaluce

Swiss National Council greenlights EV charging expansion, benefiting over 70% of the population

In response to the slowdown in electric vehicle sales due to a shortage of charging stations in rental properties, where 70 per cent of Switzerland's population resides, the Council has approved a motion benefiting EV users who are tenants. All details below.

According to the Swiss eMobility Association, Switzerland is currently ill-prepared for the rapid advancement of electromobility, with numerous residents in multi-unit buildings lacking access to charging infrastructure, hindering sector development.

Notably, the country has Europe’s lowest homeownership rate, with over 70 per cent of the citizens living in rental properties, condominiums, or cooperatives.

Facing adverse conditions for eMobility development and the pressing need for action, the National Council has acknowledged the necessity to intervene and has adopted the motion “Electric Vehicle Charging in Rental Contracts and Condominiums.”

Jürg Grossen, president of Swiss eMobility and member of the Green Liberals.

The motion proposed by Jürg Grossen, president of Swiss eMobility, received approval with 110 votes in favour.

The proposal addresses the need to ensure access to stations for electric vehicles (EVs) in leased properties, considering them critical for energy transition and sustainable mobility.

This initiative proposes creating binding framework conditions to enable rapid and unrestricted expansion of private home charging networks, as has long been the case in neighbouring countries with similar regulations.

“The issue is that installation cannot be prohibited. After all, a building owner cannot forbid me from having a fibre-optic connection in my apartment and a cable connection through the building’s common areas,” the leader recently declared.

Grossen suggested to the Federal Council to establish binding requirements for eMobility development, including cantonal legislative measures and possible mandates to regulate powering infrastructure installation in new buildings and major renovations.

Furthermore, a proposed six-year funding programme, developed in collaboration with several associations including the Swiss Homeowners Association, representing property owners and landlords, and the Swiss Electrical Companies Association (VSE), aims to support these efforts.

Four out of five people in the country cannot decide for themselves whether their parking space gets a private charging station because they rent or live in a condominium,” the association’s president revealed.

He adds: “They are dependent on the goodwill of the landlord or co-owners, who unfortunately often don’t play along. That’s why many people don’t buy an EV.”

On the other hand, another factor delaying progress is the current stagnation in EV sales, mainly due to difficulties or delays in installing charging points.

Indeed, the proportion of eCars as a percentage of total registered vehicles stands at 3.88 per cent, totaling 186,849 vehicles, with 3,524 units registered in May of this year.

Overall, the sector has expressed support for this measure.

Geoffrey Orlando, Head of Romandie at Swiss eMobility, endorsed the statement: “I am pleased to share with you the best news of the year for the development of eMobility in Switzerland.”

He continues: “Thus, owners, management companies and co-owners of PPE will no longer be able to refuse the installation of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles at home”.

“This concerns the 70 per cent of the Swiss population living in multi-residential buildings: tenants and co-owners. Owners will not be obliged to invest in these terminals themselves, they will be able to use contacting companies,” he later substantiated.

Daniel Schütz, Program Administrator of Basler Verkehrs-Betriebe’s 2027 Sustainable Bus Program, also expressed: “This is a very good decision and an important contribution towards sustainable mobility.”

However, other industry experts view the conflict differently.

“We agree that the challenge here lies in the low-voltage grid and not in electromobility itself,” a spokesperson commented.

Following this line of thought, prohibiting providers due to infrastructure limitations would be a legitimate point.

According to the source, suppliers have often evaluated technical specifications and prevented installation, regardless of software limitation options, because technical requirements for up to 22 kilowatts (kW) of output were met.

Thus, the “prohibition” is clearly due to limited low-voltage grid capacity, rather than any deliberate effort to forbid such installations.

“It’s a matter of ‘How far do we want to think,’ and unfortunately, widespread rejection seems to be the way forward for some providers. The distribution network must be upgraded, and until then, approval should include a limit; currently, that should be the path,” the spokesperson concluded.

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