Volkswagen and Porsche CEO Oliver Blume has voiced his backing for moves in Berlin to block a European ban on new combustion engines from 2035.
Blume believes that e-fuels (synthetic fuels) can play a useful complementary role for a host of existing automobiles and niche segments.
Volkswagen and Porsche support the use of synthetic fuels to extend the life of combustion engines
Synthetic fuel technology consists of producing fuel from CO2 from industrial activities using low-carbon electricity. Although it is under study, environmental groups oppose such fuels, arguing that they are expensive and require large amounts of electricity to produce.
However, automakers, including Volkswagen, have largely anticipated European regulations and invested heavily in electric vehicles. Still, the change hasn’t stopped Porsche and others from investing in synthetic fuels to potentially extend the life of their luxury models.
The sports car maker inaugurated a synthetic fuels pilot plant in Chile in December together with partners including Siemens Energy. Behind Germany’s blockade are domestic political imperatives, with the liberal FDP, part of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s ruling coalition, opposing a ban on internal combustion engines.
Car manufacturers anticipate European regulations
Automakers have been investing in electric vehicles, largely to stay ahead of European regulations and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, Porsche and other manufacturers are also investing in synthetic fuels to extend the life of their luxury models.
Synthetic fuels can be used in existing combustion engines, which means manufacturers can keep their high-end models on the market for longer. Also, synthetic fuels can be produced from CO2 from industrial activities, which means they can be a way to recycle carbon and reduce emissions.
Volkswagen’s and Porsche’s backing of the use of synthetic fuels is a sign that automakers are willing to explore new technologies to meet European regulations. Although synthetic fuels are still an option being explored and not yet widely adopted, their potential to extend the life of combustion engines has drawn the attention of luxury car manufacturers.
Germany’s blockade of internal combustion engine ban
Last week, Germany caused discomfort among its partners in the European Union by blocking a landmark agreement to ban the sale of cars running on fossil fuels from 2035. To give its approval, Berlin is demanding further assurances from Brussels that it will be allowed. the use of synthetic fuels after the proposed deadline.
Italy, another major car-making nation, has also voiced its opposition, and Poland and Bulgaria are expected to vote against it. Although a ban on sales of fossil fuel cars after 2035 has not yet been approved, Volkswagen’s and Porsche’s support for the use of synthetic fuels suggests that automakers are willing to explore new technologies to meet European regulations.