Opportunities and risks of electromobility in Switzerland
In progress from 01-06-2010 to 01-09-2012
Project manager: Lucienne Rey
Energy technology, Environment, Expert-based, Risk, Transport technology
Overdevelopment of the countryside, uncontrolled streams of traffic and the consumption of natural resources all of these entail are giving rise to some concern. At first glance, electric vehicles could help at least to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and the emission of CO2. But on closer examination, the potential for conflict created by electromobility is proving to be considerable.
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There are a number of arguments in favour of increased use of electric vehicles: they do not harm the environment with pollutants, they are noise-free in operation, and they reduce dependency on raw material suppliers, not all of whom are known for their political reliability.
Electromobility gives rise to problems in that Switzerland is unable to cover a sharp rise in demand for electricity with renewable energy sources (such as hydropower, wind and solar energy). The question that would arise is whether Switzerland wishes to build new nuclear power stations itself, or import electricity from nuclear installations abroad. Moreover, the mineral oil tax is the most important source of revenue for financing infrastructure projects for road transport. If this revenue were to disappear, this would have serious consequences either for infrastructure quality or for the government’s funding tools.
Questions about the organisation of the transport system are a matter of concern for many people. The potential for conflict arising from the subject is likewise obvious, as described above.
An analysis of the life cycle of electric vehicles from manufacture to disposal will reveal the ecological consequences of increased electromobility for Switzerland.
In addition, scenarios will be outlined which will enable likely developments to be forecast for the near and more distant future (up to 2030) and electromobility to be set within the context of society as a whole. This should ultimately provide answers to questions such as the following:
What would be the additional consumption of electricity as a result of a realistically estimated market penetration by electric vehicles?
What would be the expected impact of this on electricity production and marketing?
What would be the foreseeable consequences for public finances if revenue from the tax on mineral oil fell dramatically / in line with the assumed development of the transport fleet?
What adjustments to the infrastructure would be necessary to enable electric vehicles to catch on?
Where are the opportunities and risks of electromobility for individuals, society and the environment?