A powerful bloc of countries has joined forces to challenge the European Union’s ban on internal combustion powered vehicles by 2035.
In February this year the EU approved plans to cut tailpipe emissions by 100 per cent by 2035, signalling the end of new petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.
But Germany is rallying supporters around it to get the law altered.
According to a report by Reuters Germany, Italy and a number of Eastern European countries, including the Czech Republic and Poland, have banded together to get the law changed.
These countries have large auto manufacturing industries and house some of the world’s biggest and most prestigious car brands.
They want the EU to accept internal combustion powered cars that use carbon neutral synthetic fuels.
Reuters reports German Transport Minister Volker Wissing said “the proposal needs changes urgently”.
“A ban on the combustion engine, when it can run in a climate-neutral way, seems a wrong approach for us,” he said.
Synthetic fuel, also known as eFuel, is made by combining hydrogen made from green energy and carbon drawn from the atmosphere to produce synthetic methanol that is then made into eFuel.
Drawing the carbon from the atmosphere means that it is effectively CO2 neutral as it doesn’t release extra carbon into the atmosphere.
German automaker Porsche has been investing heavily in developing synthetic fuels in a bid to keep some of its conventional sports cars.
The company announced one of several eFuel production facilities will be built in Australia.
It’ll be located in Tasmania, which runs on 100 per cent renewable energy, allowing for the production of green hydrogen.
The factory will have the capacity to create up to 100 million litres of eFuel per year.
Commercial operations are expected to commence in 2026.
Porsche research and development executive, Michael Steiner, said eFuel had a number of applications across transport and shipping and the company was at the forefront of its development via its stake in HIF Global, which produces the fuel.
“We see ourselves as pioneers in eFuels and want to drive the technology. This is one building block in our clear, overall sustainability strategy,” said Steiner.
Porsche will use its eFuel in motorsport and the company is expected to join the ranks of F1 as the series switches to carbon-neutral fuels in 2026.
Toyota also sees a future for the internal combustion engine powered by hydrogen.
The Japanese giant has been testing internal combustion engines that burn synthetic fuel and hydrogen in motorsport.
Its Toyota GR Corolla, which runs an internal combustion engine using hydrogen, has been racing for several years now.
These cars are unlike Toyota’s hydrogen powered passenger vehicle, the Mirai, which uses hydrogen to create electricity to power its motors.
Toyota has now set its sights beyond the racetrack in developing engine and other technologies using hydrogen on its path to achieving net-zero carbon emissions.
Outgoing CEO, Akio Toyoda, said Toyota is working on this project with partner companies who want to increase their options towards achieving carbon neutrality by demonstrating their emerging technologies in the field of motorsports.
“I believe that this kind of wilful passion and action will change the shape of the future 10 or 20 years from now,” Mr Toyoda said.
Toyota Australia’s head of sales and marketing, Sean Hanley, previously told News Corp Australia that the company’s goal was to be carbon neutral.
“The one thing everyone agrees with is we have to get to a carbon neutral position,” said Hanley.
“We believe you have to have a diverse range of technologies to get [to carbon neutral]. The point’s this, carbon is the enemy here, not the powertrain.”
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