What future for thermal cars?
The Green Deal, which was adopted in October 2022, provides for the implementation of carbon neutrality in 2050.
As such, the end of sales of new thermal vehicles is planned for 2035.
Nevertheless, some countries were reluctant to accept this measure and defended e-fuels as a sustainable mobility solution.
Germany, the largest producer and exporter of cars in Europe, blocked the final validation of the text by the member states on March 7, 2023.
The European Commission has therefore recently added an amendment that authorizes the sale of thermal cars on condition that these vehicles run exclusively on CO2 neutral e-fuels.
What are e-fuels?
E-fuels are produced from CO2 and hydrogen.
The hydrogen is produced by electrolysis of water using electricity from renewable sources.
There are currently several synthetic fuels such as e-methane, e-methanol, e-gasoline or e-kerosene.
E-fuels have several advantages, they can be used in conventional engines and the latter do not require major modification.
They can also be mixed with traditional fuels. This will allow their progressive adoption.
While there are advantages to e-fuels, there are also disadvantages.
Fossil fuels are already very expensive, but e-fuels represent an even higher production cost. This is due in part to the production and distribution infrastructure that is required for its development.
Also, e-fuels require more energy to produce than traditional fuels.
E-fuels compete with electric vehicles, which are already appearing more and more on our roads.
The latter are more energy efficient and are becoming more popular by the day.
Many innovations in terms of production of these fuels in order to reduce their energy and global costs must therefore be developed so that they can impose themselves on the market.