Currently reading: Volkswagen: Combustion engine has life in it yet
Despite imminent CO2 regs, green fuels such as those made from biomass will make combustion engines viable for a long time, says VW boss
James Attwood, digital editor
News
2 mins read
6 April 2020

Volkswagen technical chief Matthias Rabe believes combustion engines still have a long future in the car industry despite increasing restrictions on CO2 emissions – because of the development of environmentally friendly fuels. 

The Volkswagen Group has set itself a target of net zero carbon emissions and made a huge investment in electric vehicle technology, spearheaded by Volkswagen's ID range of electric cars, to achieve that.

Yet Rabe said combustion engines “will have a longer future than some people predict”, because of the likely widespread future adoption of synthetic fuels made from biomass or other materials. 

Current unleaded petrol features a limited amound of ethanol produced from crops, but research has been ongoing on e-fuels, which are synthetically produced from natural materials and therefore emit no CO2 or other harmful emissions. E-fuels have long attracted the interest of the car industry, with Volkswagen and sister firm Bentley among those looking into the technology, but it is still some way from being production-ready.

While the pressing CO2 emissions targets imposed on car firms by authorities such as the European Union has led to firms including Volkswagen focusing on EVs to reduce emissions, Rabe believes that the limitations of electric technology in other transport areas due to the weight and size of current batteries will help spur e-fuel development.

“We will come to e-fuels,” he said. “If you look at the aviation industry, e-fuels are in high demand because [planes] won’t go electric, otherwise you won’t cross the Atlantic.

“We take our CO2 targets very seriously and want to be a role model on CO2, but that doesn’t mean we will exclude the combustion engine.”

Volkswagen is committed to “a broad field” of powertrain options for at least the next decade, Rabe added. The firm is also pushing ahead with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) powertrains in some markets.

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Comments
9

6 April 2020

I'd like to know how these e-fuels will be mass produced. My guess is it won't be pretty - environmentally.

6 April 2020
Same apply to production of electricity...

Second gen will use all the vegetable rubbish so basically it is recycling.

Third gen will be algae that thrive by "eating" co2.

Please realise the pollution generated just by your comment...

6 April 2020
MinusG40 wrote:

Same apply to production of electricity... Second gen will use all the vegetable rubbish so basically it is recycling. Third gen will be algae that thrive by "eating" co2. Please realise the pollution generated just by your comment...

Oh please, no biofuel today can be produced sustainably today in an environmentally friendly way. Until then spare everyone the holier than thou attitude.

6 April 2020
biogas from anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge

6 April 2020

Biofuels - Car fumes have played there part in deforestation so you may as well dig up the remainder and/or replace food crops in south america for the growth of suger beer. It's not even clean and isn't as efficient petrol.

As to this article's talk of the future e-fuels, it contains no details what so ever

6 April 2020
What was impacting the forest was Acidic rain this was due to the sulfur content in the fuel which is very reduced now for more than 2 years.

If you read carefully my previous post there 3 generation of efuel and the two last one are no impacting the food chain or forest...

6 April 2020
MinusG40 wrote:

What was impacting the forest was Acidic rain this was due to the sulfur content in the fuel which is very reduced now for more than 2 years. If you read carefully my previous post there 3 generation of efuel and the two last one are no impacting the food chain or forest...

Really?? Well it's not in any meaningful quantities then. Ask Brazil how they've been doing it for decades - hint - it's pretty disastrous. I'd like you to offer proof that they're not agricultural crops etc.

So it's all just, um, vapourware. All well and good on paper, but only believe it till I see it.

6 April 2020
MinusG40 wrote:

What was impacting the forest was Acidic rain this was due to the sulfur content in the fuel which is very reduced now for more than 2 years. If you read carefully my previous post there 3 generation of efuel and the two last one are no impacting the food chain or forest...

That's my point acid rain did as much damage as clearing rain forests to grow sugar beet to rot and then fuel cars.

3 gens, you last one was a if/will, second one was regarding collecting rotten veg leftovers from dinner tables would barely generate enough fuel for Prince Charles Aston

7 April 2020
I saw a study a couple of years back which said that to produce the amount of crops to produce the fuel that a car would need the width of the section of land next to the car would need to be 1km wide. This might be fine for a country the size of the US but out of the question for the UK or Japan. Much better to put solar on tall pylons so you can still raise crops underneath.

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