I drive two cars — a Nissan Altima sedan as a daily driver, and, a Chrysler Crossfire roadster sports car, which spends most of its days in a nice, warm and dry, parking garage, where it is protected from Canada’s harsh winters.
While it’s great to have a reliable city car, and, a fun sports car for summer trips, I know that their days are numbered — electrical vehicles (EVs) are on the way.
As much as I hate to admit it, the automotive world is rapidly heading towards electrification and governments banning the sale of internal combustion engine cars in the coming decades.
Even Ferrari — yes, Ferrari — has launched a hybrid street car.
The SF90 Stradale is a 986 horsepower road bullet with a 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 and three electric motors.
To borrow a take from actor Charlton Heston’s NRA speech, “From my cold dead hands, will they have to take away my keys to an internal combustion engine.”
But wait! There is hope!
According to a report from AutoBlog, a few automakers, including Porsche, Audi and Mazda, have been investing in synthetic fuels, that they say could be just as clean as electric vehicles.
In a recent interview with Evo magazine, Porsche VP of Motorsport and GT cars, Dr. Frank Walliser, says that synthetic fuels, also called eFuels, can reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of existing ICE cars by as much as 85%.
And, he says, when you account for the wheel-to-well impact of manufacturing the EV, it’s a wash.
Synthetic fuels are made by extracting hydrogen via renewable energy, and capturing it liquid form with carbon dioxide, AutoBlog reported.
Compared to pump fuel, eFuels emit fewer particulates and nitrogen oxide as well.
That’s because, as Walliser explains, they are composed of eight to 10 ingredients while the dead plants we mine contain 30 to 40, many of which are simply burned and emitted as pollution in the process, AutoBlog reported.
While Porsche is continuing to develop EVs like the Taycan, it says that ICEs will continue to exist in the market for many years to come.
Synthetic fuels, along with electrified cars, would be part of a multi-pronged approach to reducing emissions as quickly as possible, AutoBlog reported.
Mazda gave a similar statement a couple weeks earlier when it became the first car company to join Europe’s eFuel Alliance.
Though they didn’t explicitly say so, it would seem that carmakers like Porsche and Mazda have a vested interest in keeping their iconic models on the road as well.
Last spring, McLaren Automotive COO Jens Ludmann said the British marque viewed the nascent technology as a valid alternative to electric drivetrains.
The executive also said the marque intended to eventually build a prototype that would run on synthetic fuel.
BMW M’s Head of Development, Dirk Hacker, also thinks eFuels are a viable option.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the new M4 he told Evo: “We are looking at eFuel because I think it could be something offered by the petrol industry in the future. eFuel is an additional feature for the challenges we have in the future.”
Synthetic fuels would allow owners to continue driving them without any modification to the existing engines, AutoBlog reported.
According to Evo, Porsche plans, at least initially, to only use synthetic fuels in motorsports applications and at its Porsche Experience Centers.
— with files from CNBC, The Robb Report