The brand's technical development chief describes it as a "bridging technology."
By now, it's common knowledge that Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) technology will be relegated to the history books in a few years. That hasn't stopped several manufacturers from exploring different avenues, though. Porsche is working hard to make its eFuel a viable, cost-effective, and eco-friendly alternative to ubiquitous fossil fuels. Sister brand Audi is piloting a similar project, utilizing sustainable fuels for some of its diesel-powered vehicles.
Hearing the news, we were optimistic that this may save the ICE engine. But, sadly, it seems that's not the case. Speaking to Top Gear, Audi's head of technical development Oliver Hoffmann said, "Synthetic fuels are just a bridging technology for us." Hoffman went on to say that while the use of these alternative fuels may be ideal for other industries, the future of motoring "will be battery electric vehicles."
Saying goodbye to the sonorous five-pot in the RS3 and the V8-powered RS7 may be tough, but Audi has been preparing us for its electric future for quite some time. In fact, the Ingolstadt-based brand announced that after 2026, it will go fully electric.
Interestingly, Hoffman noted that it isn't the technology behind synthetic fuels that is the problem, but rather the way in which it is produced. He shared similar thoughts around hydrogen power, something Toyota and Yamaha are currently working on. "Hydrogen technology is not rocket science. We are able to develop this technology, but the problem is getting green hydrogen...the most efficient way for us to reduce CO2 emissions is battery-electric mobility," said Hoffman.
While somewhat sad, it's to be expected. After all, most carmakers are heading in this direction, including Porsche. The Zuffenhausen-based company officially announced its intentions to electrify the 718 series and is currently in the final stages of testing its soon-to-be-announced Macan EV.
Like Porsche, perhaps Audi will utilize its synthetic fuel in the world of motorsport. If the rumors surrounding Audi partaking in F1 are true, its drive towards sustainability will come in handy as the motorsport looks to become carbon neutral by 2030.