Fact check: Switzerland mulls limits on electric cars during an energy shortage
The claim: Switzerland is banning electric cars 'due to their excessive energy usage'
Switzerland is considering a series of strict measures to conserve electricity that would be implemented if the nation experiences an energy shortage.
If the proposal is finalized, during a worst-case energy emergency, drivers would be allowed to use electric vehicles only for essential journeys.
Nevertheless, some social media users are misconstruing the policies under consideration, claiming the country has banned electric vehicles outright.
"Switzerland will not allow anymore electric cars," reads text in a Dec. 5 Facebook post (direct link, archive link). "Why? Power grid can’t handle it. Hear that libtards!
Various iterations of this claim accumulated thousands of shares on social media.
But the claim is incorrect. The proposal is only a draft, and if enacted, the rule limiting the use of electric vehicles would apply only during a severe energy crisis.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the post.
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Electric vehicles would be limited to essential trips during an energy crisis
According to the draft proposal, Switzerland would move to a three-phase system of restrictions during an energy shortage. Electric vehicles would be limited if the country reached the final, most prohibitive phase. During that period, drivers could use them only for essential trips.
Other third-phase restrictions would include reduced store hours and limits on the use of commercial dryers, tanning beds and other equipment.
"The aim is to implement interventions that are optimally adapted to the respective situation, depending on the supply situation, meteorological conditions and the consequences for the economy and the population," Switzerland's Federal Council said in a Nov. 23 news release.
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Switzerland is particularly vulnerable to energy shortages because it gets much of its energy from hydroelectric power, according to The Telegraph. It typically imports energy during the colder months, when production is lower.
Many countries, particularly in Europe, have taken steps to address potential energy shortages because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The draft proposal has already faced criticism from the country's car lobby, which has voiced concerns that even the possibility of limiting the use of electric vehicles could lead consumers to choose gas-powered vehicles instead.
USA TODAY has previously debunked false claims about electric vehicles, including baseless assertions that it takes a decade for an electric vehicle to become carbon neutral and charging an EV typically takes several hours.
Lead Stories also debunked the claim.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Switzerland is banning electric cars "due to their excessive energy usage." A draft proposal hasn't been finalized, but even if it were implemented the rule limiting the use of electric vehicles would only go into effect during an extreme energy shortage.
Our fact-check sources:
- The Swiss Federal Council, Nov. 23, Regulation on restrictions and prohibitions on the use of electrical energy
- The Telegraph, Dec. 3, Electric car journeys could be restricted in Switzerland under plan to deal with energy shortages
- The Swiss Federal Council, Nov. 23, Energy: Measures to be taken in the event of a power shortage are being discussed
- Forbes, Dec. 2, Switzerland Wonders If Electric Car Use Should Be Curtailed In Power Emergencies, But It’s Unlikely
- Reuters, Dec. 15, The year Russia turbocharged a global energy crisis
- Reuters, Dec. 12, Auto lobby slams Swiss plan to curb electric cars in power crunch
- Lead Stories, Dec. 8, Fact Check: Switzerland Did NOT Ban 'Electric Cars Due To Their Excessive Energy Use' On December 7, 2022
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