Porsche could use e-fuels to continue to sell combustion cars

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Porsche R&D boss Michael Steiner has suggested the use of e-fuels could allow the firm to continue selling combustion-engined cars alongside its EVs.

Porsche has partnered with Siemens Energy to build an e-fuels development plant in Chile, and has previously said that such fuels – which emit no CO2 when burned – can be used in existing combustion engines with no modifications necessary.

The UK government will impose a ban on the sale of new combustion-engined cars from 2030, but Steiner said that it would make more sense to ban fossil fuels, rather than the engines themselves. “If it comes to banning ICE or plug-in hybrids,” he said, “we are convinced this is a misunderstanding – the problem is not the ICE itself, it’s the fuel you burn.

“We have to do a lot to come down on CO2 emissions – and we are totally committed – but the problem is not the engine, it is the fuel you burn. We do a lot to convince that there should be room, regulation-wise, for such cars to run on e-fuels. Whether this will be really reflected in legislation, we do not know, but in principle – the wrong thing is being beaten.”

He went on to suggest that Porsche’s work with Siemens could be used to demonstrate to governments worldwide that combustion engines can be used cleanly, negating the need for a blanket ban.

He explained: “We would like to show with a certain volume of e-fuels that this is really feasible. There are still a lot of questions from people who are not convinced this will work, so we have to show it will, and we will do that.

“We will do all we can do to give such highly emotional cars a chance, be it in racing – where we see a big future for e-fuels – or for road cars. Whether we will be really successful, we do not know.

“Our job in R&D is to show what’s technically possible, and then to convince people that there might be no need to ban everything.”

Steiner did note, however, that Porsche’s overarching priority remains the roll-out of new electric cars and the electrification of its current line-up.

“E-fuel is only in addition to e-mobility – the biggest budget and forces are going to e-mobility, but some developers and budget are going towards e-fuels,” he said.

Porsche will begin testing “a small volume” of its e-fuels in 2022 with the 911. The two-door sports coupé, it has been said numerous times, will be the last Porsche model to go electric, so successful e-fuel trials could extend its life cycle.

Felix Page

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