The Volkswagen chief reiterated on Monday his subsidiary Porsche’s synthetic fuel ambitions, welcoming the German government’s refusal to ratify the end of new heat-powered cars in the EU in 2035.
“We believe that e-fuel can play a useful complementary role for a large number of existing vehicles and niche segments,” said Oliver Blume during the presentation of Porsche’s full-year results listed on the stock market at the end of September 2022.
After blocking last week’s EU-27 vote in what should have been a formality to ratify a ban on the sale of new combustion engine vehicles in 2035, Germany called on a European proposal to pave the way for synthetic-fuel vehicles, including after 2035.
Synthetic fuel technology, currently under development, is the production of fuels from CO2 produced, in particular, from industrial activities using low-carbon electricity. It is defended, in particular, by leading German manufacturers in order to expand the use of traditional engines.
“We clearly appreciate the fact that the German government is now taking appropriate action,” Mr. Blum commented on the Berlin pivot, which has been heavily criticized by several European partners.
Since taking over the Volkswagen Group in September, Oliver Blume has kept his cap on as boss of Porsche, which is celebrating its 75th birthday this year.
While car manufacturers, including Volkswagen, have largely switched to the electric motor to gradually turn the page on the internal combustion engine, the group’s racing car subsidiary is betting on synthetic fuels, in particular for its legendary 911 model.
Together with partners including Siemens Energy, Porsche commissioned a pilot plant in Chile last December to produce synthetic gasoline made by combining green hydrogen with carbon dioxide captured from the atmosphere.
These fuels are contested by environmental NGOs, who see them as expensive, energy-intensive, and polluting because they do not eliminate nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions.
The blockade in Berlin is also related to domestic political issues, according to observers, the liberal FDP party, coalition partner Olaf Scholz, who hopes to assert himself against environmentalists, including in the government, posing as a defender of the automotive sector, a pillar of the national economy.