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Could Switzerland Sustain a Country of All-Electric Vehicles?

The planet we live on has a finite supply of all of the resources we depend on the most – things like fossil fuels, natural gasses, coal, and nuclear energy. The most obvious and worrisome side-effect of our dependence on these limited fuel sources is their impact on the environment, and that impact has spurred scientists and environmentalists across the world to develop a safer, more effective, and renewable fuel source. There are plenty of alternative fuel sources out there from water to electricity to hydrogen fuel cells, but electricity is the one that has gotten a foothold on the American consumer.

Switzerland already has a short history of converting to all-electric systems as illustrated by their decision to switch to electric trains over a century ago. No longer was Switzerland forced to use the archaic power of coal, and when they abandoned coal, they abandoned all of the pollution that came with it. But what if Switzerland took that same initiative and switched all of their vehicles to electricity? Putting aside the countless environmental benefits of eliminating fossil fuels, there are costs to be considered. Switching an entire country to electric fuel would impact taxing, employment, and the electricity infrastructure of the country as a whole. These issues and more are explored in Cihan Cavdarli’s Master Thesis in Energy Management.

Cavdarli’s first conclusion was that if every vehicle in Switzerland were to switch to electricity, the country’s demand for power would increase dramatically – between 19% and 24%. While that may register as a red flag to many, Cavdarli’s next conclusions are comforting, and paint a more realistic picture of a future without fossil fuels.

“The positive impact of switching to electricity generally outweighs the negative impact, apart from some extreme cases,” said Cihan. The “extreme cases” in question focus on Switzerland’s stance on nuclear power. Ideally, nuclear power will be phased out over time, but Cihan’s research entertains the possibility of a future in which Switzerland is still dependent on nuclear power.

You’ve likely noticed that gas-powered vehicles are more efficient now than ever. That’s because scientists have been hard at work creating more efficient engines, and the same principal applies to electric cars in the same way, and thanks to that, Switzerland would eventually “bounce back” from the increased energy demand we mentioned earlier. Yes, the country would require 19%-23% more power, but by 2035, electric engines should be at least 19%-23% more efficient, negating the additional initial spike in demand.

This scenario assumes that Switzerland adopted these electric cars overnight, instantly switching the entire country from gas-powered vehicles to the cleaner alternative. With a more natural, gradual adoption of this new technology, the transition could (and likely will) be much smoother, giving power companies and the government more time to adapt to these changes.

Are you in support of a cleaner commute, or are there issues present that aren’t being taken into account? Let us know in the comments section below, and don’t forget to call or click today for free car insurance quotes and one-on-one advice on how to choose a policy that fits you.

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