‘I’m an engineer – New petrol mix could be alternative to electric cars’

Test driving 'UK's slowest electric car' the Citroen Ami

A new petrol and diesel mix could be a genuine alternative to electric cars in an apparent boost to manufacturers.

Stellantis, who owns a series of car brands including Alfa Romeo, Peugeot and Vauxhall, have praised new e-fuels.

Testing by the brand has found that 24 of its existing European engines sold since 2014 can use sustainable fuels without any modifications to the powertrain.

They claim e-fuels could slice carbon dioxide emissions by at least 70 percent compared to traditional petrol and diesel.

Across 28 million vehicles in Europe, Stellantis claims they could cut CO2 by 400 million tonnes.

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Ned Curic, Stellantis’s chief engineering and technology officer, said the focus was still on electric vehicles.

However, he claimed sustainable fuels were a “complementary step” which could be used for existing petrol and diesel cars.

From 2030, only the sales of new petrol and diesel models will be banned in the UK meaning old polluting vehicles will still be around.

He explained: “Our priority is providing zero-emission mobility for all with a focus on electrification, while our collaboration with Aramco is an important and complementary step in this journey for existing fleets on the road.

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“We are exploring all solutions to reinforce our ambitious strategy of becoming a carbon net zero company by 2038.

“Drop-in e-fuels can have a massive and almost immediate impact on reducing the CO2 emissions of the existing vehicle fleet, offering our customers an easy and economically efficient option to reduce their carbon footprint — one as simple as choosing a different fuel pump at the station, with no additional modification to their vehicles.”

The UK is still pressing ahead with its ambitious electric car agenda with manufacturers set to face a new zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate from next year.

This will issue carmakers with fines if they produce too many traditional combustion vehicles instead of EVs.

The Government has previously rejected sustainable fuels as a mainstream alternative to electrification.

The Department for Transport previously told Fleet News: “E-fuels are not proven technology, have expensive and complex supply chains, and emit much of the same pollutants as petrol and diesel.

“They might have a role for specialist vehicles, but we are not looking at them as a solution for normal cars and vans.”

However, the EU has taken a more lenient approach with German manufacturers allowed to sell traditional cars past the 2035 cut-off if they use e-fuels.

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