The following are extracts from an article from Porsche motor cars which sound like salvation to those of us who appreciate the delights of the internal combustion engine and wish to remain using our classic cars well into the future.
Not only will this be the sensible way forward, it may stop the building of several nuclear power stations in this country which would be needed should the world continue with its current policy of trying to force us all to drive electric cars.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel, the internal combustion engine was not broken, it didn’t need fixing; rather than wasting billions installing the infrastructure to charge electric cars, just change the fuel to a carbon neutral product, it’s so damn simple.
Although synthetic fuels are considered a realistic alternative to make car traffic more climate-friendly, availability is poor. Porsche wants to change this. “With electricity alone, you can’t move forward fast enough,” says Michael Steiner, who is in charge of R&D at Porsche.
In the future, Porsche wants to significantly and independently drive forward the development of synthetic fuels, known as eFuels. “This technology is particularly important because the combustion engine will continue to dominate the automotive world for many years to come,” says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development. “If you want to operate the existing fleet in a sustainable manner, eFuels are a fundamental component.”
“We have a team that is looking for suitable partners who want to build pilot plants with us and prove that the entire process chain works and can be industrialised,” says Steiner. “Porsche wants to help shape this chain, but at the same time, doesn’t want to define it down to the smallest detail alone.”
Michael Steiner underlined the importance of eFuels during the “Porsche Tech Talk”.
eFuels are produced from CO2 and hydrogen using renewable energy. In terms of their basic properties, they are no different from kerosene, diesel or petrol processed from crude oil. However, they can ideally be a climate-neutral fuel.
With the Taycan, Porsche already has a purely electrically powered model in its range, and many model ranges now have hybrid options available. But this is not enough … “Electric mobility is an exciting and convincing technology but, taken on its own, it is taking us towards our sustainability targets at a slower pace than we would like,” explains Steiner. “That’s why we are also committing to eFuels – and not ignoring possible applications in motor sports either.”
Although Porsche plans for half of all its vehicles sold to be electric by 2025, the existing fleet is large. “Our cars are driven for a very, very long time,” emphasises Steiner. “And, while our hybrid vehicles are powered electrically for short distances, they rely on their combustion engines over longer distances.”
Porsche is not thinking of taking the pure combustion engine out of the product range and focusing solely on hybrids and electric cars. “We are convinced that these three drive technologies will survive on the market in the medium term,” affirms Steiner. Fuel cells, on the other hand, are not currently in the sports car manufacturer’s future plans.
In the future, both current and historical models of the existing fleet should be able to benefit from eFuels.
Steiner would like to be able to influence the specifications of a new synthetic fuel: “We absolutely want to help with this process so that the fuel is suitable for high-performance engines.”
I hope you enjoyed the article, admittedly rather on the long side for those of my readers who just use their cars as a means of transport but hopefully for those of us who might be described as car enthusiasts I think this offers us a glimmer of hope that sanity may be taken into the equation with regard to planning of our motoring future.