From 2022, Swiss Government Will Procure Only Electric Vehicles for Administrative Use

All eligible vehicles will be replaced with electric vehicles only; Swiss administrative fleet of 1500 cars to be entirely replaced within the next decade

Doris Leuthard with her Tesla Model S, Credit: Doris Leuthard’s Twitter

In an ambitious move to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the Swiss government has recently declared that starting next year, it will only purchase electric vehicles for administrative use. The vehicles could be powered by batteries or fuel cells. Viola Amherd, a member of the Swiss Federal Council published the announcement in a directive. Amherd has been nominated as head of procurement of electric vehicles. The rule excludes defense vehicles but encompasses civilian vehicles used by all departments in the Swiss administration, which comes up to 1,500 vehicles. In 2019, less than 10 vehicles in use by the Swiss government were electric vehicles. Two years later, that figure climbed to about 40 vehicles. Each year, around 150-200 eligible vehicles are replaced with new ones. The government expects to replace its entire fleet within the next decade.

The Swiss administration set an example several years ago, when Doris Leuthard, Swiss Councillor and Minister for Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications became the first Council member to purchase an electric car in 2014. Her choice – the Tesla Model S 85 – attracted global attention in the media. Leuthard made the strategic move to set an example for other Swiss politicians to consider making the switch, and to put the spotlight on the role transport electrification can play in reducing carbon emissions. Leuthard did succeed – although six members of the Council continue to use diesel-powered Mercedes S 350s, her successor, Simonetta Sommaruga adopted Leuthard’s Tesla. In less than a decade since Leuthard purchased her Tesla, the government has decided to switch over completely.

Although the directive excludes vehicles used by the Defence Ministry, Amherd, also the Minister for Defence, Civil Protection and Sport, said that she will ensure that all civilian vehicles used by their department are replaced by electric vehicles at the appropriate time. The Federal Armaments Office (Armasuisse) which is responsible for procuring vehicles for the Defence Department has been tasked with fleetwide replacement. Considering its impressive performance-to-price ratio, Tesla is expected to be a top contender for the Swiss government.