Porsche is forging ahead with its e-fuel operation, and its dedicated manufacturing facility is already in operation in South America. At the same time, Volkswagen, whose parent company owns both automakers, is taking a different view on reaching zero emissions under CEO Thomas Schafer. Speaking with Automotive News Europe, the brand executive said e-fuels create “unnecessary noise” in the discussions on moving to a fossil fuel-free future in Europe.
Schafer’s view is that VW’s internal combustion vehicles exist to earn money for the automaker’s shift to full electrification. Though e-fuels could help reduce carbon emissions, he doesn’t feel they are a worthy alternative to EVs, saying, “They have a role to play in existing fleets, but won’t replace EVs. That’s complete nonsense. Look at the physics of making e-fuels. We don’t have enough energy as it is, so why waste it on e-fuels?”
Though the manufacturing process uses renewable energy and e-fuels are considered carbon neutral, cars that run on them still produce emissions. The claim is that the carbon produced during operation is offset by the captured carbon used to manufacture the fuel, but there are other byproducts, including nitrogen oxides.
The European Union wants to ban the sale of new internal combustion vehicles by the middle of the next decade, but Germany and Italy have spoken out against the plan, asking that e-fuel-powered vehicles be allowed as an alternative to EVs.
Despite that, VW is all-in on EVs, and Schafer said he’s confident that the automaker’s upcoming models will be profitable. Volkswagen is investing billions in its North American EV manufacturing footprint and plans to launch several new models in the next few years. The company is planning more affordable small models priced under $28,000, including a very affordable vehicle based on the ID.2all concept priced below $22,000. It’s unclear which of the affordable models we’ll get in the U.S., but the brand’s ID. Buzz electric van and ID.7 sedan are on the way soon.