The Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) has released a report that shows the environmental impact of passenger cars with different powertrain types. According to the report, electric cars have the least environmental impact, greenhouse gas emissions, and total energy consumption. It suggests that the use of renewable energy and small and light vehicles is decisive in reducing the impact of mobility on the environment.
Transport performance in Switzerland has been continually rising since the mid-1990s, and motorized road transport accounts for about 75% of passenger transport performance. However, the measures introduced to combat the COVID-19 pandemic led to a decline in transport performance in Switzerland in 2020 for the first time since the mid-1990s.
The majority of the environmental impacts of mobility can be attributed to conventional motorized road traffic, causing most of the emitted greenhouse gases and air pollutants. Road traffic is also the biggest source of noise, well ahead of rail transport and aviation. In 2020, the emissions generated by the transport sector in Switzerland fell year-on-year by almost 9%, and they were 8% below the 1990 baseline.
Switzerland uses a great deal of resources, including energy sources and raw materials, for mobility. About 7 million tonnes of resources per year are used for mobility, and 88% of that is in the form of fuel. Among the materials, metals, in particular, cause considerable ecological effects. However, the trend towards electric vehicles means the recycling or reconditioning of batteries will become more important, as will the recovery of rare technical metals.
The report suggests that preserving the environment and achieving the climate targets and the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050 are at odds with the mobility requirements and the growing volumes of passenger and freight traffic. To reduce the impact of mobility on the environment, the report suggests the use of renewable energy and small and light vehicles.