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Volkswagen, very critical of synthetic fuels: “by 2035, internal combustion engines will be over”

Despite the significant investments made by its subsidiary Porsche in the development of synthetic fuels, Volkswagen does not believe that this technology will be relevant in the decarbonisation of the European automobile industry, which will have to be electrified in order to comply with the new European anti-pollution regulations.

Although pressure exerted by Germany has succeeded in getting the European Union to agree to exempt vehicles that use e-fuels from the ban on selling new thermal cars in the common market from 2035, the truth is that most experts agree that this solution will be niche; that is, for high-end models.

thomas schäfferCEO of the Volkswagen brand, has harshly criticized synthetic fuels during a recent interview. “It is unnecessary noise from my point of view. Internal combustion engines will stop working in 2035. At Volkswagen, they will be extinct in 2033, and by 2030 we will already be selling 80% of electric cars in Europe. So why spend a fortune on old technology that doesn’t pay off?

Mr Blume [CEO del Grupo Volkswagen] is not behind [la posición de Alemania]. I guarantee it. This discussion of synthetic fuels has been widely misunderstood. They will have a role to play in existing fleets, but they will not replace electric vehicles. That is complete nonsense. Look at the process of making e-fuels. We don’t have enough energy, so why waste it on synthetic fuels?”

Porsche pilot plant in Chile dedicated to the production of e-fuels

Synthetic fuels could decarbonise the existing car fleet

This analysis agrees with that of Luca de Meothe head of the Renault Group, who recently pointed out that no European group is allocating resources to the development of new internal combustion engines. “No one is developing a new combustion engine from scratch in Europe… All the money goes into electric or hydrogen technology.”

Even if the maximum possible scale is reached, the price of e-fuels will be around 2 euros/liter in the best of cases due to the fact that its production from recaptured carbon dioxide and hydrogen implies a huge electrical expense, which is added to the low intrinsic efficiency of combustion engines.

While a battery-powered electric car uses approximately 70% of the energy since its generation, a thermal car powered by synthetic fuels only uses 14%; that is, it takes five times as much electricity, a disaster from an economic, ecological and energy point of view.

Source | caradisiac

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