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Stellantis studies the use of synthetic fuels to decarbonize the fleet of thermal vehicles already in circulation

Stellantis has begun testing the use of synthetic fuels in 28 engine families internal combustion with the aim of evaluating whether this technology could help decarbonise its European fleet of vehicles currently in circulation. The group is measuring everything from power to exhaust emissions in Euro 6 vehicles.

The automaker estimates that the solutions being tested could be applied to up to 28 million of its cars, resulting in a potential reduction in carbon dioxide emissions of up to 400 million tons between 2025 and 2050. “The wide adoption of e-fuels would offer customers with existing internal combustion engine vehicles an easy and affordable option to decarbonize your vehicles«.

In parallel, Stellantis has confirmed its goal of switch to exclusively selling electric cars in the European market from 2030. Unlike brands like Porsche, the company led by Carlos Tavares will not develop new vehicles capable of running on synthetic fuels, betting everything on batteries.

The European Union plans to ban the sale of all non-zero emission cars from 2035, although pressure from Germany has forced authorities to consider an exemption for thermal models capable of running on synthetic fuels. The Commission will have to present a final proposal on how to articulate this exception in autumn.

Alfa Romeo Tonale

Synthetic fuels will not be viable for new cars

E-fuels are obtained from hydrogen and carbon dioxide recaptured in a process that requires high energy expenditure, to which we should add the low intrinsic efficiency of internal combustion engines. Although their emissions are carbon neutral, vehicles that run on synthetic fuels continue to release particulates and nitrogen oxidesvery harmful to the health of the population.

While a battery-powered electric car uses approximately 70% of the energy from its generation, a thermal one powered by e-fuels remains at 14%; that is, it needs five times as much electricity. Even if the maximum possible scale is reached, The price of this type of fuel will be around 2 euros/liter in the best of cases..

In practice, its use will only be viable in high-end cars, as well as to decarbonize the fleet currently in circulation, see classic and historic vehicles. For new cars, the industry has already made a decision: the future will be electric or it will not be.

Source | Automotive News Europe

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