Sports car maker Porsche has said the e-fuel it is currently developing in South America should open the legislative door for combustion engine vehicles to remain on sale beyond 2030.
The UK, along with a number of other nations including Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, intends to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel models from 2030, as part of growing efforts to reduce air pollution and make transport greener.
However, Porsche bosses said banning the engines is the wrong decision and law makers should prohibit the burning of fossil fuels but allow for synthetic fuels to maintain the availability of combustion-engined cars beyond the end of this decade.
Porsche’s greener fuel to be trialed in 2022: Bosses at the German sports car maker hope the successful development of synthetic fuels can allow models with internal combustion engines to remain on sale beyond 2030
Porsche has partnered with Siemens Energy to build an e-fuels development plant in Chile – and has outlined plans to begin trials in 2022 that could save its high-performance petrol cars from extinction.
The German car giant has been planning its own synthetic fuel that it claims will cut CO2 emissions produced by internal combustion engines by as much as 85 per cent to make them as green as – or greener than – battery-powered vehicles, when you take into account the carbon footprint created during production and supply.
The fuel would not require any modifications to a car and be compatible with both current and older vehicles.
Speaking to Autocar magazine this month, R&D boss Michael Steiner suggested its in-development e-fuel could allow the firm to continue selling combustion-engine models – such as it’s iconic 911 and hugely popular Boxster convertible – alongside electric cars beyond 2030 in the UK.
He said Porsche is ‘convinced’ it is a ‘misunderstanding’ by rule makers that internal combustion engines can’t be green, adding that the problem is not the internal combustion engine itself but the fuel it burns.
‘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 told Autocar.
Porsche has been working in partnership with Siemens Energy and energy firms to develop and create a plant in Chile (pictured) that would yield the ‘world’s first integrated, commercial, industrial-scale plant for making synthetic climate-neutral fuels’
Steiner added that he hopes the rapid development of its synthetic fuels at the ‘world’s first integrated, commercial, industrial-scale plant for making synthetic climate-neutral fuels’ will demonstrate to governments worldwide that new petrol cars do not need to be outlawed at the end of the decade.
However, he admitted some people will need to be convinced that e-fuels are feasible and effectively reduce emissions.
He also reiterated that Porsche’s ambitions remain focused on electrification for the future.
Porsche has already started its transition to electric vehicles, with the launch of the impressive Taycan – priced from £70,690 in the UK – from 2019. It has also recently released the Taycan Cross Turismo – an estate version of the same car with some off-road capability.
R&D boss Michael Steiner suggested its in-development e-fuel could allow the firm to continue selling combustion-engined models – like it’s iconic 911 – alongside electric cars beyond 2030 in the UK
Last month, the company’s head of motorsport, Dr Frank Walliser, confirmed the brand is set to begin trials of synthetic fuel next year that Porsche believes could make its high-performance petrol cars just as economical as an electric vehicle.
He explained that the company, working with partners in South America, will ‘for sure’ start trials in 2022, though they will be ‘very small volume’ initially.
‘It’s a long road with huge investment, but we are sure that this is an important part of our global effort to reduce the CO2 impact of the transportation sector,’ he added.
In December, the company announced a new partnership with energy firms Siemens Energy, AME and Enel and the Chilean petroleum company ENAP.
The aim is to build a plant specifically for the commercial production of synthetic fuels in Chile, which will use the location’s blustery environment to produce eFuels with the aid of wind power.