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“Full charge, please!”

Together with swisstopo and the operators of charging stations, the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) has created a dataset that provides an overview of Switzerland’s charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

10.06.2020 | DKW

Elektro auto

Electric vehicles are environment-friendly, quiet and gaining in popularity. In accordance with the Federal Council’s “Electric Mobility Roadmap” the aim is to increase the proportion of registered electric vehicles in Switzerland to 15 percent by 2022. These vehicles are battery powered and thus need access to charging facilities.

The website presents an up-to-date overview of the charging stations along the country’s main road networks. The map depicts the availability of charging stations in real-time: when a user plugs his or her vehicle into the socket, a signal is sent within seconds to the online map. The map currently depicts almost 2,000 locations throughout Switzerland and this number is constantly increasing.

Open data

The SFOE created the basis for this platform together with swisstopo and the e-vehicle industry. The data are publicly available – this was a prerequisite, as Martin Hertach, head of the Geodata Service at the SFOE, explains: “The industry asked the federal government to create the basis for the platform, and we replied that we would do this as long as the industry agreed that the data would be made publicly available in the form of open government data. For this purpose, we concluded a written agreement with each operator of a charging station depicted on the map.

The fact that the data are publicly accessible paved the way for the use of additional applications. “The data can also be used for research purposes, which include tracking the progress of the transformation of our energy system and analysing the development of e-mobility in Switzerland,” adds Martin Hertach. The data also open up attractive perspectives for the economy: “It will now be possible, for example, to analyse catchment areas in which economic value-added can be measured, as well as to address various socioeconomic issues. For example, a high proportion of electric vehicles in a given area can indicate that it is populated by people with a higher income.”

Hertach + Foletti

Real-time data: a première

With the use of real-time data technology, both the SFOE and swisstopo found themselves breaking new ground. “The ongoing digitalisation process means that real-time data are becoming increasingly important,” says Martin Hertach. “For both the SFOE and swisstopo this was an excellent opportunity to acquire know-how and implement a specific project.” But of course there were also challenges: “We used a large number of different data sources and data from the various operators of charging stations, and this meant we had to come up with a common language.”

Roaming in the same way as with a mobile phone

Users of electric vehicles are effectively customers of one of the major charging station network operators. Does this mean they can only recharge their vehicle at that operator’s stations? Martin Hertach: “No. They have the app from their own operator on their mobile phone, as well as apps from other operators, so they can always find a station at which they can charge their vehicle and pay for the service, as a rule via their provider’s roaming service or by credit card. The applicable tariff depends on the app that is used.”

Roaming is something mobile phone users are familiar with. How does this function with charging stations? “Exactly in the same way,” explains Martin Hertach. “If I am a Swisscom customer, but at my current location only the Sunrise network is available, I can still make and receive calls or exchange data. This is possible thanks to the availability of roaming services among telecom providers. The operators of charging stations use a similar system: they already exchange data with one another and use a common language for this purpose. This was very fortunate for us, because we would otherwise have had to develop and implement a new exchange standard with all the operators, in some cases international companies. This would have delayed things by around two years and would have also resulted in significantly higher costs.”

20th anniversary of COGIS (Coordination of Geoinformation and Services)

The COGIS (Coordination of Geoinformation and Services) Division commenced operation on 1 January 2000. Its mandate: to secure coordination in the field of geoinformation so that it would not be necessary for each federal office and each canton to develop its own infrastructure. Under the influence of COGIS, swisstopo was transformed from a producer of geodata into a service centre whose products and services can benefit the entire population. One of the products COGIS created is the “” geoportal, which offers a diverse and comprehensive range of attractive services for everyone.

Further information about COGIS
Federal Office of Topography swisstopo Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern
+41 58 469 01 11


Relevant authority

Communication and Web

Federal Office of Topography swisstopo

Seftigenstrasse 264
P.O. Box
3084 Wabern


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