Future Volkswagen boss renews backing for controversial synthetic fuels
Spiegel / Automobilwoche
The Volkswagen group’s future CEO, Oliver Blume, who is set to take the reins at the German carmaker on 1 September, has again expressed his support for electrofuels, also known as e-fuels and snythetic fuels, Spiegel reports. In an interview with trade magazine Autombilwoche, Blume said the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement could not be achieved with electric vehicles alone, adding that e-fuels were a sensible addition to electromobility. There will still be vehicles with internal combustion engines decades from now, he added, stressing that with synthetic fuels, these cars could make a contribution to rapid CO2 reduction. Unlike his predecessor, outgoing VW CEO Herbert Diess, Blume has championed the development and use of e-fuels as CEO of VW’s Porsche brand – a position he will continue to hold. Diess, who was fired by the board in July, had focused on battery-electric cars and rejected e-fuels due to their poor efficiency and high energy consumption during production, an assessment that is widely shared by critics.
Synthetic combustible fuels can be used as low-carbon replacements for petrol or diesel, allowing carmakers to continue manufacturing combustible engine vehicles. In 2020, Blume predicted synthetic fuels would be widely available by 2030 at a cost of around 2 euros per litre. VW looks set make its entry into Formula 1 racing with its Porsche and Audi brands, whose racing cars would run on e-fuels from 2026. Blume has recently faced criticism over allegations that he influenced German finance minister Christian Lindner and the government’s coalition agreement that didn't rule out the use of e-fuels for cars in the future.