Small importers require a certificate confirming that the necessary documents (in particular Form 13.20 A, Certificate of Conformity) have been submitted to FEDRO and any applicable penalty has been paid. Confirmation takes the form of a stamp on the test report (13.20 A). The “Application for certification” form can be obtained from the following FEDRO website:
In the case of vehicles without a Swiss type approval (i.e. vehicles with type certificate “X”), importers have to submit Form 13.20 A and a CO2 emissions certificate (e.g. via a COC) to the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) before registering the vehicle. FEDRO will check the CO2 emissions and if a penalty applies it will issue an invoice (small importer) or allocate the vehicle to a specific large-scale importer. The application form for registration with FEDRO can be obtained by clicking on the following link:
Importers who have registered at least 6 new light commercial vehicles within a year will automatically be classified as large-scale importers in the following reference year and will then only have to submit the master data to the SFOE. This applies to those light commercial vehicles that are subject to the provisions of the CO2 Ordinance and which can be allocated to the large-scale importer account of the corresponding importer on the basis of the type approval or certification with FEDRO.
If in a reference year a large-scale importer does not register the necessary number (6) of light commercial vehicles, a calculation still has to be made on the basis of the average figure for the fleet. The importer concerned will be reclassified as a small importer in the following year, but may submit a new application for classification as a provisional large-scale importer.
Provisional large-scale importer
All importers who are not automatically classified as large-scale importers (see above) can register with the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) as a provisional large-scale importer by completing the "Application form for classification as a provisional large-scale importer". This form may be submitted at any time. If an importer submits the above application form during the year for the current reference year, only those light commercial vehicles will be taken into account that are subject to the provisions of the CO2 Ordinance and were registered after the data of approval of the application submitted to the SFOE. Calculations by FEDRO for any light commercial vehicles that were registered prior to the approval of the application submitted to the SFOE will be based on each individual vehicle.
If at the end of the reference year less than 6 light commercial vehicles (in accordance with the provisions of the CO2 Ordinance) have been booked to the account of a provisional large-scale importer, the calculations by the importer concerned as a small importer have to be made subsequently on the basis of each vehicle registered in the reference year.
Provisional large-scale importers who register the specified minimum number of vehicles, regardless of the date of registration with the SFOE, will automatically be classified as large-scale importers in the following year and therefore do not need to submit an application for classification as a provisional large-scale importer (see above).
An emissions pool is a group of importers that is formed for a maximum period of five years in order to jointly achieve the specified CO2 target.
All importers (large-scale, small and private) can form an emissions pool. An emissions pool has the same rights and obligations as an individual large-scale importer. If it acquires provisional status, in its capacity as small importer the emissions pool has to make its calculations on the basis of each individual vehicle if its members have registered fewer than the minimum of 6 new light commercial vehicles in the reference year for initial circulation in Switzerland (Article 19, paragraph 3). If in a reference year the members of the emissions pool register fewer than 6 light commercial vehicles for initial circulation in Switzerland, classification as an emissions pool will be revoked as of the year following the reference year (Article 20).
The application form for emissions pools must be submitted to the SFOE by the end of November of the year prior to the reference year. Applications submitted in the course of the reference year can only be considered for the following year.
In order to officially qualify as a large-scale importer in 2020, an importer must have registered at least 6 new light commercial vehicles in 2019. The SFOE will classify importers early if they have registered at least 6 light commercial vehicles by 30 June 2019.
Importers who have not registered 6 new vehicles in 2019 can apply for the status of provisional large-scale importer for 2020.
General information about CO2 emission regulations
In 2011 the European Parliament decided to introduce CO2 emission targets for light delivery and light articulated vehicles (collectively referred to as light commercial vehicles) in addition to the already introduced targets for passenger cars. In accordance with the applicable EU legislation, light commercial vehicles that are imported into Switzerland and registered for their designated purpose have to reduce their CO2 emissions to 147 grams per kilometre. This level is applicable until the end of 2024. However, for the implementation of the CO2 emission regulations, a changeover from the previously applicable NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) method to the more realistic WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) entered into effect on 1 January 2021. In the course of this changeover the CO2 target level of 147 grams per kilometre was adjusted to 186 grams per kilometre. This takes account of the higher and more realistic CO2 levels in accordance with the new WLTP method.
In principle, every importer is required to comply with specific CO2 target levels for their vehicle fleet. As a rule, the target level is calculated on the basis of the average target, taking account of the unladen weight of the vehicle. If the level of CO2 emissions per kilometre exceeds the specified target, a penalty per excess gram and vehicle has to be paid.
In accordance with the CO2 Act, Switzerland must reduce its CO2 emissions versus reference year 1990. The total revision of the CO2 Act calls for a reduction by 50 per cent by 2030. Road transport is responsible for a significant proportion of CO2 emissions in Switzerland, and therefore the reduction potential is particularly high for passenger cars as well as light commercial vehicles. In Switzerland, the level of specific CO2 emissions from new cars is well above the European average.
Light delivery vehicles and light articulated vehicles (collectively referred to as light commercial vehicles) are defined in accordance with Article 11, paragraphs 2e and 2i of the Ordinance on Technical Requirements for Road Vehicles. The definition applies to vehicles with a total weight of up to 3,500 kilograms. Special-purpose vehicles (e.g. armoured vehicles, vehicles with approved space for transporting wheelchairs, mobile homes) are excluded from the Ordinance.
To promote the use of emission-free drives, vehicles with a total weight of up to 4,250 kilograms, which apart from their weight correspond to the definition of commercial vehicles and whose total weight is greater than 3,500 kilograms due to the additional weight of the emission-free drive, are included in the scope of application of the CO2 emission regulations for light commercial vehicles (Article 2abis, no. 2). This takes account of the fact that some alternative drive systems are heavier than conventional combustion engines, e.g. battery-powered vehicles.
In accordance with the CO2 Act, the term “initial registration” refers to the registration of light commercial vehicles that have been approved for the first time for use in Switzerland. Vehicles that were already registered in Switzerland are not subject to these regulations. This also does not include light commercial vehicles that have been approved abroad more than six months before their customs declaration in Switzerland. Neither the duration of the registration nor the distance travelled by the vehicle at the time of its customs clearance in Switzerland are of relevance. For vehicles previously registered abroad, only a standard registration with the vehicle licence is recognised. Here, for example, registrations for transfer licence plates or the use of vehicles with garage licence plates are not regarded as standard registrations. Registration abroad must be made in the name of a natural person or legal entity with domicile in the country concerned. Vehicles registered in the Principality of Liechtenstein have the same status as vehicles registered in Switzerland.
Article 10 of the CO2 Act calls for the adjustment of CO2 emission levels from passenger cars and the introduction of target levels for light commercial vehicles. The corresponding measures take account of the regulations that were adopted by the EU at the beginning of 2014. For light commercial vehicles a CO2 target level of 147 grams per kilometre entered into effect in 2020. For the implementation of the CO2 emission regulations, a changeover from the previously applicable NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) method to the more realistic WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) entered into effect on 1 January 2021. In the course of this changeover the CO2 target levels for cars rose from 95 to 118 grams per kilometre, and for light commercial vehicles from 147 to 186 grams per kilometre. This takes account of the higher and more realistic CO2 levels in accordance with the new WLTP method.
Unlike in the EU, where the CO2 target level of 147 grams per kilometre for 2020 and 186 grams per kilometre for 2021 under the WLTP method applies to the entire fleet of new light commercial vehicles, introductory relief mechanisms will apply in Switzerland, namely a phasing-in procedure and super credits until the end of 2022.
Until the end of 2022, the following proportions of vehicles with the lowest CO2 emissions will be taken into account:
In reference year 2021: 90 per cent
In reference year 2022: 95 per cent
Until the end of 2022, vehicles with CO2 emission levels below 50 grams per kilometre up to a reduction of the average CO2 emissions of the respective new vehicle fleet by an accumulated 7.5 grams per kilometre will be taken into account as follows:
In reference year 2021: factor 1.67
In reference year 2022: factor 1.33
In the course of the changeover to the WLTP levels the total creditable grams per kilometre will be adjusted to 9.3 grams per kilometre over three years, which corresponds to the previously applicable restriction to 7.5 grams per kilometre under the NEDC method (Article 27, paragraphs 3 and 4). The still available effect of the multiple consideration after 2020 will thus be adjusted to the WLTP basis with factor 1.24 for 2021 and 2022.
The CO2 regulations apply to all importers of new light commercial vehicles. Here a distinction is made between small and large-scale importers.
Large-scale importers (at least 6 light commercial vehicles)
Entities who import at least 6 new light commercial vehicles a year that are registered for use in Switzerland are classified as large-scale importers. If the average CO2 emissions of a large-scale importer’s light commercial vehicle fleet exceed the individually specified target level, the importer has to pay a penalty for each vehicle initially registered in the calendar year concerned.
In a given reference year, importers are classified as large-scale importers if:
They have registered at least 6 new light commercial vehicles in the calendar year prior to the reference year.
They are registered with the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) as large-scale importers or as an emissions pool.
Registration is made using the corresponding form.
Small importers (fewer than 6 new light commercial vehicles)
Entities who import fewer than 6 new light commercial vehicles a year that are registered for use in Switzerland are classified as small importers. This includes people who import their new light commercial vehicle themselves and register it for use in Switzerland (private importers).
For small importers, the target level is specified separately for each individual vehicle. In the event that the target level is exceeded, they have to pay the corresponding penalty before the vehicle is registered. For this purpose they have to submit the relevant documents (including in particular Form 13.20 A, "Application for certification" and the Certificate of Conformity [COC]) to the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) by post.
Light commercial vehicles can be imported into Switzerland in various stages of completion. They may be imported in completed state or as a basic vehicle to be completed by a local constructor in accordance with the customer's requirements. These are classified as multi-stage vehicles. Importers of these vehicles are also responsible for calculating the CO2 emissions of the (basic) vehicle. Here it is the vehicle in its completed state upon registration that is of relevance with respect to compliance with the specified target level.
Here a distinction has to be made between two cases:
If the person who is entitled to privileges or immunities purchases the vehicle from an importer/reseller (large-scale or small importer), the importer has to pay any penalty that may be applicable. The importer is at liberty to add the amount of the penalty to the final purchase price.
If the vehicle is imported on behalf of someone who is entitled to privileges or immunities (either by the person himself/herself or by an intermediary acting on his/her behalf), the person concerned is classified as the importer. But as the latter enjoys immunity from administrative jurisdiction, it would not be possible to enforce any penalty that may be applicable. In view of this, by way of exception an exemption from payment of a penalty applies for the import of a vehicle into Switzerland on behalf of a person who is entitled to privileges or immunities.
In accordance with Article 11 of the CO2 Act, the Federal Council specifies a measurement method for each importer or manufacturer of light commercial vehicles for an individual target level for the light commercial vehicles imported into Switzerland. The measurement requirement concerns the importer’s or manufacturer’s light commercial vehicles (fleet) initially registered in Switzerland in the respective year. This means that it is the initial importer or manufacturer who is the responsible and authorised entity for compliance with the CO2 emission regulations for light commercial vehicles, and not a third party who may register the vehicles in Switzerland at a later juncture. It should be noted that when the fact of relevance to the allocation of the vehicle (import/manufacture) is realised, this triggers the corresponding legal consequences (namely that the light commercial vehicles belong to the importer’s fleet). A repeated realisation of the fact of relevance cannot trigger these legal consequences a second time.
Every three months the SFOE provides large-scale importers with a list of initially registered light commercial vehicles as of the end of March, June and September in the current reference year, together with the target and the relevant CO2 emissions. If in particular there appears to be the risk of non-payment of a penalty after expiry of the reference year, the SFOE may demand quarterly down payments. In the spring of the following year, large-scale importers receive a definitive invoice for all vehicles they have registered during the reference year.
Invoices are issued by the SFOE on the basis of data obtained from the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO). It is not necessary for importers to submit their data.
Small importers (prior to registration)
Small importers are required to pay FEDRO any penalty that may be applicable before they register the vehicle(s) with the cantonal road traffic authority.
For the implementation of the CO2 emission regulations, a changeover from the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) to the more realistic WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure) method entered into effect on 1 January 2021. Here is a brief overview of the most important changes:
Adjustment of previous CO2 targets to the WLTP levels
As a result of the changeover from the NEDC to the WLTP method, the CO2 target for light commercial vehicles has been adjusted from 147 to 186 grams per kilometre. This takes account of the higher and more realistic CO2 levels in accordance with the new WLTP method (Article 17b, paragraph 2a). The applicable targets specified by the European Commission via an adjusted target level (derogation in accordance with Article 10 of Regulation [EU] 2019/631) for manufacturers of light commercial vehicle brands have also been adjusted.
For the calculation of penalties, the CO2 emissions based on the WLTP method must be used with effect from 2021 (Article 24). In each case it is the combined CO2 emissions that are of relevance. The cascade of the data sources to be used for calculating the CO2 emissions remains unchanged.
As before, for the unladen weight of light commercial vehicles with multi-stage type approval it is the completed state of the vehicle that is of relevance with respect to the calculation of penalties.
The unladen weight is obtained (if available) from Form 13.20 A and corresponds to the weight of the vehicle ascertained during the test carried out by the relevant cantonal motor vehicle testing centre, but it may also be based on the weighing certificate of the vehicle in its completed state.
If, however, the importer makes use of COC data (voluntarily, or if no type approval is available), following the changeover to the WLTP method the CO2 emissions level and unladen weight are of relevance from 2021 (in accordance with Appendix III, Part A, no. 1.2.2 of Regulation (EU) 2019/631). This is based on the interpolation method as defined in Regulation (EU) 2017/1151. The aim here is for importers of vehicles in unfinished state to have the option as before of calculating levels of relevance to penalties on the basis of the respective basic vehicles.
Weighting of CO2-reducing factors for vehicles
Following the changeover to the WLTP method, CO2 reductions achieved through ecological innovations will be transitionally more highly weighted (Article 26, paragraph 2).
The target level for large-scale importers is calculated for the entire fleet of light commercial vehicles newly registered by a large-scale importer in the reference year on the basis of the following formula:
Permissible specific emission = 186 + a × (Mi,t – Mt-2) grams of CO2 per kilometre.
target level in grams of CO2 per kilometre
0.096 increase of target level lines
average unladen weight of light commercial vehicles (in kilograms) registered by the importer for the first time in the reference year.
average unladen weight of light commercial vehicles (in kilograms) registered for the first time in Switzerland in the last but one calendar year prior to the reference year.
For 2021, the average unladen weight for 2019 applies, i.e. 2,067 kilograms.
Note: a definitive calculation can only be made after expiry of the reference year.
A penalty applies if the relevant CO2 emissions of the fleet exceed the specified individual target level.
Under the EU regulation, manufacturers who register fewer than 1,000 light commercial vehicles a year in the EU can retrospectively gain exemption for one year from the requirement to meet the EU’s target levels (de minimis clause). This clause has deliberately not been adopted in Switzerland, but in return other flexibilities apply here that are not available in the EU. This means that light commercial vehicles from manufacturers whose brands fall under the de minimis clause in the EU, and for which no special target applies, are measured in Switzerland based on the average CO2 target of 186 grams per kilometre.
The data for CO2 and unladen weight, and in which cases they apply, are specified Articles 24 and 25 of the Federal CO2 Ordinance. Here a distinction is made between vehicles with type approval or with a Swiss data sheet (Article. 24) and vehicles without type approval (Article 25). The tables below list the applicable data in the respective cases. A mix of sources for CO2 and unladen weight is not permissible if both parameters are available in the applied data source.
Vehicle in completed state
1. Type approval 2. Certificate of Conformity (COC)
1. Type approval 2. Form 13.20 A 3. COC
1. Type approval for basic vehicle 2. If COC data are submitted: calculation in accordance with Regulation (EU) no. 2019/631
1. Type approval 2. If COC data are submitted: calculation in accordance with Regulation (EU) no. 2019/631 3. 13.20 A (source: individual approval or weighing certificate)
Table 1 Source for CO2 and weight data for vehicles with type approval
Vehicle in completed state
1. COC 2. Conformity assessment or verification 3. Calculation in accordance with Appendix 4, Federal CO2 Ordinance 4. Assumption of fixed value (400 grams CO2 per kilometre)
1. COC 2. Conformity assessment or verification 3. Weighing certificate
1. If COC data are submitted: calculation in accordance with Regulation (EU) no. 2019/631 2. Conformity assessment or verification
1. If COC data are submitted: calculation in accordance with Regulation (EU) no. 2019/631 2. Conformity assessment or verification 3. 13.20 A (source: individual approval or weighing certificate)
Table 2 Source for CO2 and weight data for vehicles without type approval
For small importers, each vehicle has to be calculated prior to initial registration. Here it is the vehicle in its completed state that is of relevance. The unladen weight which is taken into account for calculating any penalty is obtained (if available) from Form 13.20 A and corresponds to the weight of the vehicle ascertained during the test carried out by the relevant cantonal motor vehicle testing centre, but it may also be based on the weighing certificate of the vehicle in its completed state. Upon request, importers have the option of submitting the Certificate of Conformity for the basic vehicle to FEDRO, on the basis of which the unladen weight of the generically completed vehicle can be calculated in accordance with Regulation (EU) no. 2019/631 with reference to the interpolation method specified in Regulation (EU) 2017/1151.
The applicable CO2 emissions are reduced in the following cases:
For gas-powered vehicles (-10 percent for the attributable proportion of bogenic gas. In accordance with the revision of the Federal Energy Efficiency Ordinance (SR730.02), this share was increased to 20 percent as of 1 January 2020).
Innovative technologies (ecological innovations recognised by the EU). The importer has to provide evidence of the reduction via the Certificate of Conformity.
If there are no CO2 measurement data for a light commercial vehicle based on the WLTP method, the importer must provide evidence of the vehicle’s CO2 emissions based on that method. This measurement must be carried out by an officially recognised testing centre. If no evidence of the vehicle’s CO2 emissions is received by the enforcement authority, the emissions will be calculated using the formula specified in Appendix 2, no. 4 of the Federal CO2 Ordinance. If the necessary data for this calculation are not available, a default level of 400 grams of CO2 per kilometre will be applied. The calculation of CO2 emissions based on the previous NEDC method is not permissible.
Example for reference year 2021 (cf. calculation tool on the website)
Private import of a light commercial vehicle in 2021:
CO2 emissions: 225 grams per kilometre
Unladen weight: 2,382 kilograms
Reference unladen weight: 2,067 kilograms
Penalty: 103.5 Swiss francs for each gram exceeding the target level by 0.1 grams (provisional penalty)
Target level: 186 + 0.096 × (2,382 – 2,067) = 216.24 grams of CO2 per kilometre (rounded up/down to three decimal places) Failure to meet target: 225 – 216.24 = 8.7 grams of CO2 per kilometre (rounded up/down to nearest tenth of a gram of CO2 per kilometre) Penalty: 8.7 × CHF 103.5 * 0.91 = CHF 810.40 (rounded up/down to five cents)
1 In reference years 2020 to 2022, the penalty for each vehicle has to be multiplied by the percentages of the applicable phasing-in procedure.
For each vehicle, the manufacturer or importer has to pay the federal government 103.5 Swiss francs for each gram of CO2 per kilometre that exceeds the target level by 0.1 grams (provisional penalty). Penalties are re-specified for each year, taking the amounts applicable in the European Union and the exchange rate (Article 13, Federal CO2 Act).
It is the date of registration that is applicable for the penalty calculation. If a vehicle is registered for the first time in Switzerland between 1 January and 31 December of a reference year, it is taken into account for the calculation for that specific year.
For small importers it is the date of the invoice issued by the Federal Roads Office that is applicable for the calculation of the penalty.
Every importer of light commercial vehicles, regardless whether they are large-scale or small importers, have the option of assigning a vehicle they have imported to another importer for the calculation of any applicable CO2 penalty. Any such assignment must be reported to the Federal Roads Office (FEDRO) before the vehicle is registered in Switzerland for the first time. Assignments made after the initial registration of a vehicle are not recognised. The “Application for certification” form available from FEDRO (red box, “Assignment”) has to be used for the purpose of assigning a vehicle).
Small manufacturers who register fewer than 22,000 light commercial vehicles a year in the EU may apply for a special target. This has to be approved by the European Commission. The Swiss regulations stipulate that the targets for small manufacturers have to be taken into account for large-scale and small importers. Following the changeover to the WLTP method within the scope of the enforcement of the CO2 regulations, the applicable targets specified by the European Commission via an adjusted target level (derogation in accordance with Article 10 of Regulation (EU) 2019/631) for manufacturers of car brands have also been adjusted. Here the target for enforcement in Switzerland is to be converted to comply with the WLTP level if the European Commission does not publish any WLTP-based targets by 31 December 2020. For small manufacturers’ targets the conversion factor 1.27 is applicable for converting the special targets (Article 28, paragraphs 2 and 2bis).
If a large-scale importer who markets brands produced by small manufacturers wants to make these brands applicable for the respective special targets in a given reference year, the importer is required to notify the SFOE in that year about this intention before any such light commercial vehicle is registered for the first time. With respect to the calculation method for separate new vehicle fleets, in addition to the importer status it is the total number of the importer’s registered new vehicles that is applicable, regardless of the number of individual fleets. In other words, for every new vehicle fleet it is always the same for large-scale importers.