Porsche Looking to Develop Synthetic Fuel to Make ICE Cars as Efficient as EVs

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【Summary】The German luxury brand is looking to have the hydrogen-based fuel ready to test in 2022 and could potentially help classic car owners and enthusiasts to continue driving their internal combustion engine cars.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jun 28, 2021 7:45 AM PT
Porsche Looking to Develop Synthetic Fuel to Make ICE Cars as Efficient as EVs

It's clear to see that electric vehicles are the future. Governments and countries around the world are forcing automakers to invest in electrified powertrains and come out with more electric vehicles. While EVs are the main focus, the majority of cars sold around the world run on gasoline. It's going to be decades until electric cars catch up to gasoline cars in the popularity contest. Instead of looking to completely replace gasoline-powered cars, Porsche is working on a synthetic fuel that would make an internal combustion engine as clean as an electric car.

Eco-Friendly Gas

The German automaker's synthetic fuels are called eFuels. They're made by using renewable energy to extract hydrogen from water and capturing the element with carbon dioxide. The result is a liquid that burns similarly to gasoline, but is produced in a more climate-friendly manner. eFuels are also expected to emit less nitrogen oxide and fewer particulates than gasoline from crude oil, too.

In speaking with the UK's EVO, Porsche VP of Motorsport and GT Cars, Dr. Frank Walliser, believes that synthetic fuels will produce far less carbon dioxide than traditional gasoline. "Synthetic fuel is cleaner and there is no by-product, and when we start full production we expect a CO2 reduction of 85 percent," said Walliser. That figure, according to him, matches electric vehicles when taking "the well to wheel impact of all vehicles" into consideration.

Just One Solution

While synthetic fuels are different from crude gasoline, Porsche's eFuels can be put into gasoline-powered cars without any major adjustments to the engine. eFuels won't just be for road-going vehicles, but race cars, too, as the latest Porsche 911 GT3 Cup can run on synthetic fuels.

Seeing Porsche work on eFuels may be confusing. The automaker recently introduced the Taycan, which is a high-end all-electric sedan and the Taycan Cross Turismo – a luxurious, all-electric wagon. But eFuels are part of a multipronged approach to curb global warming. Electrified vehicles will still take priority for Porsche, but this is a way to keep the upcoming decades of gasoline-powered cars on the road in a more efficient way.

While previous reports and other automakers claim that eFuels are not the way forward, we think this is a better approach than simply hoping that shoppers will turn their gasoline cars in for EVs. States can order manufacturers to stop selling new gasoline-powered cars, but getting people out of their old cars is going to be far more difficult.

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