ÖAMTC on e-fuels: “Look at the stock”

The ÖAMTC has now also spoken out in the debate about the future of drive technology and the EU’s ban on the registration of new combustion engines from 2035. “It’s about the stock for us,” says ÖAMTC spokesman Bernhard Wiesinger to ORF.at in response to media reports that – in addition to environmental factors – took into account the high costs of producing e-fuels.

“If we want to achieve the climate targets, and we want to, we have to look at the stock, and that is now supported by combustion engines,” says Wiesinger. If you want to make progress with e-fuels, you have to invest in the corresponding technologies and refinery plants now.

And a cost estimate of what a liter of e-fuel costs would only make sense in the event of a broader roll-out. In order for manufacturers like ARAMCO, the largest oil product, to set up a plant for e-fuels, there would also have to be prospects of EU recognition for corresponding subsidies so that someone would invest with a view to 30 years.

“Would have to replace 2.5 million vehicles”

“If Austria wants to achieve its climate goals by 2040, I’ll have to replace 2.5 million vehicles by 2030,” calculates Wiesinger. The most optimistic estimate by ASFINAG is currently one million electric vehicles by 2030.

For the ÖAMTC, the achievement of climate goals must be approximated with the actual usage behavior. “Of course I don’t need a car in Vienna, but I do in other parts of the country,” says Wiesinger, who refers to studies that show that four euros per liter of fuel is the threshold at which people do without a car. Per se, one is not for e-fuels, but very much for technologies with which one can achieve the climate goals from the existing side. The calculation with the environmental balance of e-vehicles is only correct if they are operated with the desired electricity mix.

“E-cars as a deceptive temptation”

“Electric cars represent a deceptive temptation,” Graz University of Technology professor Georg Brasseur recently said in a guest comment: “Their high efficiency of 80 percent (compared to 20 percent with combustion engines in real operation in urban areas) is not due to the battery, but to the drive train.” The ideal would not be e-cars that store the energy required for driving in huge batteries, but rather hybrid vehicles with smaller batteries and a combustion engine that generates electricity in the optimum speed range. This would combine the best of both worlds: You can drive electrically, and if the battery is empty, the optimized combustion engine powered by e-fuels would act as a generator, according to Brasseur.

The end for new combustion engines from 2035

The EU environment ministers agreed this week to end new cars with internal combustion engines from 2035. However, they don’t want to say goodbye to it completely. Thanks to synthetically produced petrol and diesel, the e-fuels, they should be able to continue to be sold.

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