Switzerland’s Greens call for a ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles from 2025

02 August 2017

2 August 2017

Following government commitments to ban the sale of new diesel and petrol vehicles in France and the UK from 2040 – as well as plans for Norway to only sell emissions-free vehicles from 2025 and calls for Austria to follow suit – Switzerland’s Greens are demanding a sales ban on new diesel and petrol vehicles in the country from 2025. 

Regula Rytz, President of Switzerland’s Green Party is quoted in an article on Swiss news site 20 Minuten as saying: ′From then on, no new cars with internal combustion engines will be imported in Switzerland. Emissions-free mobility will turn the European automotive industry upside down. In this process, Switzerland should take a pioneering role and not lag behind the other European countries.’  

As Switzerland does not have an automotive manufacturing industry, it can essentially roll out a broad import ban and send a clear message, in the same way that it was the first country to introduce catalytic converters, back in 1986. 

In sentiments that echo the view expressed by the administrative court in Stuttgart in their ruling on Friday, namely that the protection of consumer health ranks higher than the interests of diesel drivers, Rytz maintains that there is no need to worry about current drivers of diesel and petrol cars. She says: ′The first step would be to regulate the registration of new cars, but the existing vehicles should continue to be phased out.’ 

Rytz is convinced that the Swiss population also supports the shift to electro-mobility, commenting that ′the clear yes to the energy strategy has shown that people want to change something and are ready to say goodbye to fossil mobility.’  

As a next step, Rytz wants to present the Green Party’s demands to the Transport and Environment Commission. Switzerland’s Federal President Doris Leuthard is already aware of the proposal as the Greens’ National Councillor Balthasar Glättli has commissioned the Federal Council to create the legal basis for a motion that no new passenger cars with internal combustion engines will be registered in Switzerland from 2025 onwards. 

FDP National Councillor Thierry Burkart is also a staunch advocate of electro-mobility but does not support a ban on diesel and petrol vehicles. He said: ′We must not forbid technologies, we have to enable and push ahead with innovation.’ He believes electric vehicle technology will establish itself but thinks it is naive to believe that all road traffic could be electrified by 2040.  

Andreas Burgener, Director of the importers’ association Auto-Schweiz, also believes that EV sales will grow sharply in the coming years due to the stricter CO2 limits and rejects a ban. He said: ′Such demands must be feasible and there are still many open questions regarding electro-mobility. Such as where the energy comes from or how it gets to the vehicle.’