There is more money for Zurich electric cars

A building permit will no longer be required for charging stations for e-cars. A supplement to the installation costs is also being considered.

Without connection no electricity: parking space for an electric vehicle.

Karin Hofer / NZZ

The hype surrounding electric and hybrid vehicles still has little to do with the real situation on the streets of Zurich: last year, 92 of every 100 cars with Zurich license plates were still there
purely petrol or diesel driven. show this Numbers from the Road Traffic Office.

The trend, however, is clearly towards the new drive types. Almost half of car buyers last year chose a model with a plug, i.e. either a hybrid vehicle or even a pure electric car. For the first time ever, more electrified cars than petrol ones were registered in 2021.

Canton of Zurich: Hybrid and electric cars are very popular

New registrations by drive type; Shares in percent

Cantonal Councilor Daniel Sommer (evp., Affoltern am Albis) put it in a nutshell on Monday in the Zurich Parliament: “If electric cars were politicians, they would have an attention deficit problem. Yesterday everyone turned their heads to them, today they are standard.”

But when something is standard, sooner or later the question arises as to whether it needs special treatment. That’s exactly what it was about on Monday in the Zurich cantonal parliament. However, the topic was not the electric vehicles themselves, but the charging stations.

In 2019, the GLP submitted three proposals. It was about a stronger commitment from the canton, financially and structurally, but also about reducing bureaucracy. The three issues were addressed on Monday.

In the meantime, one of the three advances had already been caught up by real developments: the GLP had demanded that the canton should increasingly provide its own parking spaces with charging stations.

The government has already taken appropriate steps since 2019, which is why the motion was withdrawn. The canton wants according to a media release to have around 880 charging stations built by 2025, and by 2030 there should even be around 1,000 to 1,500 charging points in cantonal properties.

“Decarbonization is in full swing,” said construction director Martin Neukom (gp.). Since 2020, the canton has been trying to procure only emission-free vehicles if possible, which is why the corresponding charging stations are also needed.

«No extra sausages for charging stations»

But what about the private ones? This is exactly what the other two GLP proposals were about. Both were controversial. The first question was whether charging stations would still need a building permit in the future. While the FDP joined the GLP and spoke out in favor of abolishing the permit, the SVP opposed it.

“We also want fewer hurdles for a building permit,” said Domenik Ledergerber (svp., Herrliberg). But for private property and on existing parking spaces, you can already get a permit for a charging station. The installation itself must also be reported to the regional network operator anyway. The current regulations are appropriate. There’s no reason to change them.

Also no, albeit for completely different reasons, said the Greens. “If I rented an electric car from Mobility next weekend, would I be doing something good for the environment?” asked Daniel Heierli (gp., Zurich). No, of course not, he replied.

An electric car is only the lesser evil, but it takes up as much space on the road as a petrol engine – and can be just as dangerous. In addition, the production requires problematic raw materials. Heierli’s conclusion: “There is no need for extra sausages for charging stations.”

The council saw things differently, albeit narrowly: the motion was accepted with 84 yes to 79 no.

Who should pay for this?

When the state talks about electromobility, sooner or later it’s always about money. It was the same on Monday in the cantonal council: The third GLP initiative on the charging stations revolved around the question of the costs for the connection, the so-called network cost contribution.

In its postulate, the GLP wrote that a single new connection to the grid of the Canton of Zurich electricity works (EKZ) costs around 10,000 francs. After all, this is enough for two charging stations. Franziska Barmettler (glp., Zurich) said that Switzerland is lagging behind, especially when it comes to charging stations in communal garages. The government council should therefore reduce the network cost contributions.

Again, it was primarily the bourgeoisie who opposed the concerns of the GLP. Sandra Bossert (svp., Wädenswil) put forward practical arguments. In addition to EKZ, there are about 40 other electricity suppliers in the canton, and the government council cannot easily influence them. In addition, such a subsidy is unfair to all those who have already financed an installation out of their own pocket.

Barbara Franzen (fdp., Niederweningen) questioned the assumptions of the GLP. A new connection costs around 4,400 francs, not 10,000, and only if the existing connection capacity is not sufficient. There are also other financing models. Conclusion: Even from a liberal point of view, the canton does not have to take action here.

The Greens also opposed the request. “For the
owners of properties,” said Green Canton Councilor Heierli,
«the charging infrastructure is a value-added investment. You don’t have to subsidize them with public money for that.”

The postulate was rejected by 85 votes against and 65 yes. In one form or another, however, the concern is likely to become a topic again. According to the building director Martin Neukom, the government is working on a temporary promotion of CO2-poor mobility.

No ban on bottled water

A completely different kind of ecological advance also had no chance on Monday. Hans Egli (edu., Steinmaur) had demanded that cantonal employees should drink more tap water. In return, the provision of mineral water in PET and glass bottles should be avoided. The Council rejected this by a vote of 93 to 59.

source site-111