Swiss cars are getting stronger and stronger – probably also because of the electric boom

Traditionally, Switzerland is the country in Europe with the highest horsepower average for new cars. In 1993, the average Swiss new car was still 140 hp, 20 years later only 13 hp more. Since then, the performance spiral has been turning faster: in 2018, according to the Auto-Schweiz importers’ association, it was 179 hp, the following year it was 188 hp and last year it was 199 hp.

Why? The SUV boom brings weight, so it takes power. Even small cars have turbos – which saves but gives you horsepower. 30 years ago, a car with 500 hp was undrivable and a permanent guest at the petrol station. Today there are electronics and very efficient engines: In the last 20 years, the average has dropped from 8.3 to 5.7 l / 100 km, despite much more horsepower. But above all, the boom in e-cars is likely to have an impact. There are often 300, 400, sometimes 800 electric horses.

Power unequal range

At the expense of range? Not at all. “More horsepower equals more consumption” is no longer true for electric vehicles. E-motors are sometimes over three times more efficient. A burner has to fill combustion chambers, overcome friction, and dissipate energy as heat – always. An electric motor only draws the electricity it needs. In other words: the V8 is also a V8 if you only use 40 of 400 hp. But the electric motor then shrinks from 400 to 40 hp, so to speak. For example, the Porsche Taycan with 4×4 and the same battery: From the base to the top model, there are 231 hp, but a range of only 20 kilometers difference.

An electric motor with a lot of horsepower also tends to need more «juice», especially because the power is often used to the full. But more important here are aerodynamics, rolling resistance and recuperation. And electric horsepower are cheaper to build than petrol horsepower. So is it going to continue until soon all of them have 1000 hp? No: The more Stromer start, the less their horsepower increases – according to Auto-Schweiz, they even decrease: if a new e-car still had 325 horsepower in 2019, it was “only” 292 horsepower in 2020 and 269 horsepower by June 2021 .

The battery is the crux of the matter

So for more range? No, for lower prices. A petrol engine with 400 hp has 400 hp, even if it only fills up one liter. A Stromer only has 400 HP if the battery can fire 400 HP. A more powerful battery costs, weighs and takes up space. That is why, since e-mobility is increasingly moving from the premium to the popular league, many new models are now holding back – because they want to be cheap everyday mobility and always seem faster than equally powerful combustion engines.

At the same time, combustion engines will have to further reduce their consumption and will therefore increase their output less. It is possible that the PS average will therefore soon generally decline: In the first half of 2021 it stagnated at 199 PS at the 2020 average.