With the sale of pure ICE engined cars being banned in some countries by 2030 (and hybrids by 2035) many are openly asking what the future holds for the cars we love. Whether they be brand new performance cars, classics or low volume automakers, a lot will be impacted by this shift to electric. Luckily we might have found a savior in something called synthetic fuel.
Porsche, Mclaren, Bentley and BMW’s iVentures is betting on it. But what is synthetic fuel and how will it play a role in our future?
Alongside the new GT3, Porsche announced that it will be the first manufacturer to begin trials of synthetic fuel beginning next year. Like BMW, Porsche has begun investing in the production of the fuels with an eye towards developing a production process and supporting global logistics. The idea is for these fuels to ultimately be distributed via current petrol stations (or perhaps Porsche dealers) worldwide by the end of the decade.
What about performance? We know that variations on petrol haven’t necessarily been great for most combustion engines – look no further than what ethanol blends have done. However that’s one of the more exciting things for enthusiasts. Synthetic fuel will offer perfect compatibility and zero performance loss. In fact early results show that synthetic fuels might even allow petrol power plants to produce slightly more power than standard fuels.
They’re even environmentally sound. Porsche’s synthetic fuel solution makes use of wind power to produce the fuel and ultimately produces 85% less CO2. And if you’re looking from a cradle to grave perspective in terms of the global impact, they might just be better for the environment than some electric cars (which often use rare earths in their production). The only downside (and it’s a big one) is price. There’s a fair chance that we’ll see synthetic fuels be priced ultimately as a luxury commodity given its intended market.
While the rise of the electric car is unstoppable, this development does give us hope that a more green world doesn’t mean the end of the internal combustion engine. While price might ultimately deter usage in some scenarios, it could at the very least allow the cars we love to live on.