Porsche has outlined plans to begin trials in 2022 that could save its high-performance petrol cars from extinction.
The German sports car maker has been developing its own synthetic fuel – or eFuel – that it claims would cut CO2 emissions produced by internal combustion engines by as much as 85 per cent.
The fuel would not require any modifications to a car and be compatible with both current and older vehicles – and it could make existing motors as clean as electric cars, when you take into account the carbon footprint created during production and supply.
Porsche’s greener fuel to be trialed in 2022: The German sports car maker has spoken about the development of its own synthetic fuel that cut reduce the CO2 impact of its cars
Porsche has been working in partnership with Siemens Energy and other international companies since last year to develop and implement a pilot project in Chile designed to yield the ‘world’s first integrated, commercial, industrial-scale plant for making synthetic climate-neutral fuels’.
Last week, the company’s head of motorsport, Dr Frank Walliser, provided an update on the plans ahead of the unveiling of the new £123,100 Porsche 911 GT3.
With a 4.0-litre naturally-aspirated flat-six engine that can rev to a wailing 9,000rpm and produce a maximum 503bhp, it’s no slouch – accelerating from 0-to-62mph in 3.4 seconds and to a top speed of 199mph.
But while it might be quick, it won’t be particularly good for the planet when using traditional unleaded petrol. Porsche quotes CO2 emissions of 283 to 304g/km, depending on the car’s specification.
With strict carbon targets set for manufacturers to meet and the impending ban on new petrol and diesel cars across various nations – it comes in from 2030 in the UK – it will spell an end to Porsche’s internal combustion engine sports cars.
Porsche has already started its own transition to electric vehicles, with the launch of the impressive Taycan – priced from £70,690 in the UK – from 2019.
The fuel would not require any modifications to a car and be compatible with both current and older vehicles – and could make existing motors as clean as electric cars when you take into account the carbon footprint created during production and supply
Porsche wants to prolong the availability of its iconic 911 sports car for as long as possible in the face of tougher emissions restrictions on manufacturers and the threat of bans on new petrol and diesel models within a decade
However, Walliser says the brand is set to begin trials of its own synthetic fuel next year that Porsche believes could make its high-performance petrol cars just as economical as an electric vehicle.
He explained that the company, working with partners in South America, will ‘for sure’ start trials in 2022, though they will be ‘very small volume’ initially.
‘It’s a long road with huge investment, but we are sure that this is an important part of our global effort to reduce the CO2 impact of the transportation sector,’ he added.
In December, the company announced a new partnership with energy firms Siemens Energy, AME and Enel and the Chilean petroleum company ENAP.
The aim is to build a plant specifically for the commercial production of synthetic fuels in Chile, which will use the location’s blustery environment to produce eFuels with the aid of wind power.
Porsche has been working in partnership with Siemens Energy and energy firms to develop and create a plant in Chile (pictured) that would yield the ‘world’s first integrated, commercial, industrial-scale plant for making synthetic climate-neutral fuels’
If operational in 2022, Porsche says it could be producing 55 million litres of greener synthetic fuel by 2024, and as much as ten times that amount two years later.
Commenting on the plans last year, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume reaffirmed that ‘electromobility’ remains the top priority at Porsche but eFuels for cars are a ‘worthwhile complement to that’ – as long as they’re produced in parts of the world where a ‘surplus of sustainable energy is available’.
‘They are an additional element on the road to decarbonisation,’ Blume said in December. ‘Their advantages lie in their ease of application: eFuels can be used in combustion engines and plug-in hybrids, and can make use of the existing network of filling stations.
‘By using them, we can make a further contribution toward protecting the climate. As a maker of high-performance, efficient engines, we have broad technical expertise. We know exactly what fuel characteristics our engines need in order to operate with minimal impact on the climate. Our involvement in the world’s first commercial, integrated eFuels plant supports the development of the alternative fuels of the future.’
The latest update on Porsche’s synthetic fuel development came last week ahead of the unveiling of the £123,000 911 GT3
With a 4.0-litre naturally-aspirated flat-six engine that can rev to a wailing 9,000rpm and produce a maximum 503bhp, it’s no slouch – accelerating from 0-to-62mph in 3.4 seconds and to a top speed of 199mph
Speaking last week at the premier of the 911 GT3, Walliser added: ‘The general idea behind these synthetic fuels is that there is no change to the engine necessary, unlike what we have seen with E10 and E20, so really, everybody can use it, and we are testing with the regular specs of pump fuel.’
‘It has no impact on performance – some horses more, so it’s going in the right direction – but emissions are way better; we see less particles, less NOx – so that’s going in the right direction’.
Porsche’s spearheading of the project is part of efforts to prolong the availability of its 911 sports car – one of the most iconic vehicles on the planet – at least until the end of the decade when governments plan to oust new petrol and diesel passenger vehicles from sale entirely.
Explaining how they work, Walliser detailed: ‘Synthetic fuels have around eight to ten components, where today’s fuels have between 30 and 40.
‘As it’s an artificial, synthetic fuel, you have no by-products, so it’s way cleaner – everything positive for the engine.’
He added: ‘At full scale, we expect a reduction in the CO2 impact of around 85 per cent.
‘If you consider well-to-wheel, where we have to transport fuel, we have a global supply chain, everything around that – you have efficiency across the whole process. In a well-to-wheel consideration, it is on the same level as an electric car.’
The news came within a matter or days of both Jaguar Land Rover and Ford outlining their plans to shift to fully-electric ranges in the next nine years.
JLR confirmed that Jaguar will become an all-electric luxury car maker from 2025, while Land Rover would launching six new battery-powered offroaders in five years while also phasing out diesels from 2026.
As for US maker Ford, it said it will sell only 100 per cent electric or plug-in hybrid passenger cars in Europe from 2026, and pure-electric only from 2030.
This post first appeared on dailymail.co.uk