Stellantis, one of the world’s largest automotive conglomerates, is not slowing down its efforts towards an all-electric future. However, the company believes that many of its current internal-combustion vehicles will still be on the roads long after the electric vehicle (EV) revolution has taken place. To bridge this gap, Stellantis has announced a collaboration with energy company Aramco to develop and utilize synthetic e-fuels.
E-fuels are created by reacting carbon dioxide with hydrogen, and according to Stellantis, they can reduce lifecycle carbon emissions from vehicles by 70 percent. With samples of e-fuels supplied by Aramco, Stellantis conducted compatibility tests on 24 engines used in various European brands. The results were encouraging, as all the engines ran without any modifications needed. This demonstrates the potential for e-fuels to be a viable alternative for combustion vehicles in the long term.
While Stellantis remains dedicated to its Dare Forward 2030 plan of having a fully electric lineup for Europe by 2030, it acknowledges that customers will continue to use their gas-powered vehicles beyond this timeframe. According to Senior VP Christian Mueller, approximately 25 percent of Stellantis vehicles are still in use after 20 years. This indicates the considerable exposure time that e-fuels could have in the automotive industry.
Stellantis is not the only company exploring the use of synthetic fuels for current and future combustion vehicles. Porsche recently invested in a biofuel company, while Bentley showcased its use of biofuels at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The potential benefits of e-fuels have even led the European Union to amend its 2035 ban on new combustion-powered cars, allowing exceptions for vehicles running on e-fuel. This change in policy indicates a growing recognition of the potential of e-fuels in reducing carbon emissions.
Although Europe, the United States, and Australia have set deadlines for phasing out new internal combustion vehicles, such as California, Oregon, and New York aiming for a ban by 2035, there is still room for policy changes. The recent collaboration between Germany and seven other countries in creating exceptions for e-fuels is a testament to the evolving nature of regulations in the automotive sector.
Stellantis is determined to become a carbon net-zero company by 2038, and Chief Engineering and Technology Officer Ned Curic believes that drop-in e-fuels can have an immediate impact on reducing the CO2 emissions of the existing vehicle fleet. He emphasizes that customers can easily reduce their carbon footprint by choosing e-fuels at the pump, without any additional modifications to their vehicles.
As the development of e-fuels continues, the next few years will be crucial in shaping the future of the automotive industry. Stellantis, along with other automakers, is exploring all solutions to achieve its ambitious goals and offer environmentally friendly options to its customers.