Stellantis Hopes eFuel Could Keep 28 Million Combustion-Powered Cars On The Road

Technology / 16 Comments

The automaker is testing synthetic fuels across 28 engine families.

Stellantis has announced plans to test eFuels on 28 different engine families to help reduce carbon emissions from the 28 million internal combustion engines that the company has built in Europe since 2014.

eFuel is a synthetic fuel developed by harnessing CO2 and hydrogen present in the atmosphere to create hydrocarbons - the same basic chemical structure of gasoline and diesel. It's designed to be used by ICE-powered cars without a loss in performance.

The goal here is to offer existing ICE vehicle owners an affordable and easy option to decarbonize their vehicles without waiting for new EV infrastructure or replacing their cars. Stellantis says that it remains committed to selling only battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in Europe by the end of the decade.

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The validation protocols Stellantis is moving onto include tests on tailpipe emissions, startability, engine power, reliability endurance, oil dilution, fuel tank, fuel lines, and the engine's filters. Stellantis claims that the use of eFuel in up to 28 million vehicles in the Stellantis fleet has the potential to reduce up to 400 million tons of CO2 emissions in Europe from 2025 through 2050. It's also part of the plan to achieve carbon net zero by 2038 and, in general, to fight climate change.

"We are doubling down on our fight against global warming by testing carbon-neutral fuel as a complementary solution to our holistic decarbonization approach," said Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. "While we remain steadfast in executing our aggressive electrification strategy, we must also find smart alternatives to address the CO2 emissions for the 1.3 billion existing ICE cars."

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"By working to make sure our Stellantis engines are eFuels friendly, we are aiming at giving our customers another tool in the fight against global warming and one that can have an almost immediate impact," Tavares continued.

Synthetic fuels are an important but seemingly overlooked tool for reducing emissions in the US, but it's becoming a big deal in Europe and Porsche has started producing its own eFuel.

If Stellantis pulls this off, it could change the game dramatically, and not just for Stellantis brand vehicles. The idea of new hybrid vehicles, like the new Dodge Hornet, working with synthetic fuels is an attractive one environmentally and performance-wise, particularly for those whose lifestyles won't fit an all-electric car.

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