German automakers continue to produce hybrid cars; Continuity of life of internal combustion engines

Several automakers have announced that their lineup will be fully electric by 2035 or 2040. Meanwhile, senior executives say emerging markets will use renewable or hybrid fuels for internal combustion engines as a solution to combating climate change. Recently, Germany has threatened to do this if the new law on emission of greenhouse gases of the European Union is approved. As a result, the production of hybrid cars for non-European markets will continue.

The European Union has recently approved a plan to reduce 100% of carbon pollution emissions by cars by 2035. However, Germany is not happy with the decision and wants to ensure that blended fuels will be exempt from the new regulations. If not, this country will vote against this law. In fact, this decree means banning the production of internal combustion engines. For Germany, hybrid fuels are also carbon neutral, and rightly so.

Internal combustion engines

The main concern with burning fossil fuels is that they release carbon that was locked underground for millions of years back into the atmosphere. Increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere makes the greenhouse effect more prominent and increases the temperature of the earth. Without this natural phenomenon, the earth would burn when exposed to sunlight and freeze wherever the sun does not shine.

Mixed fuels, clean production and clean consumption

If any fuel combines with carbon in the atmosphere, it will reduce the amount of the element in the environment and only return it when it is consumed. Renewable fuels such as ethanol use plants or biomass to obtain the carbon they need, which the plants extract from the air. Blended fuels obtain it directly from the atmosphere.

Opponents of both methods argue that it does not make sense to use energy to produce fuel. They also criticize renewable fuels, saying that instead of sugarcane or whatever else people use to make ethanol, they should plant food. In both cases, the fact that these fuels keep internal combustion engines alive is probably the main reason they are hated by both sides. However, that seems to be what Germany wants to happen.

At least one German car company is evaluating and developing hybrid fuels. Porsche has opened a pilot plant for this purpose in Chile. The automaker argues that eFuel allows current internal combustion engines to run more sustainably. However, the implications are far wider than just preserving old cars.

The decision caused a rift in the German government, which is formed through a coalition of the SPD, the Green Party and the FDP. German Transport Minister Volker Weissing is affiliated with the FDP. His decision contradicts what the Green Party advocates, i.e. banning internal combustion engines. The party also advocated ending nuclear power, which would force Germany to rely more on Russian gas. Interestingly, more and more people are now realizing that nuclear energy is carbon neutral.

Internal combustion engines can be cleaner than electric engines

In an interview with the Associated Press, Benjamin Stephen, one of the Greenpeace activists, said what many electric car fans say. According to Stefan, the same amount of electricity will propel a battery electric car five times further than a car that runs on hybrid fuels. This statement is quite ambiguous: not all EVs are equally efficient, and the same goes for cars and internal combustion engines: some are better at this than others.

On average, internal combustion engines can convert about 20% of the chemical energy in fuels into kinetic energy. This alone, without the need to include blended fuels in the equation, confirms Stephen’s statement. However, the best engines can convert a little more than 40% of the energy in gasoline into motion. Also, the energy loss in the production of mixed fuels should be considered. So Stephen’s words may not be completely true.

Jason Fenske once traveled a distance of 3,159 kilometers with an energy equivalent of 62.8 liters of gasoline, which is equivalent to a fuel consumption of 1.99 liters per 100 kilometers. The most efficient internal combustion car in the US market is the 2023 Mitsubishi Mirage with a fuel consumption of 6 L/100 km, which is three times more fuel efficient than the Tesla Model 3 Fenske.

The wrong and bigoted reasoning of environmental organizations

The argument used by governments and environmental organizations to focus on battery electric vehicles is that internal combustion vehicles emit carbon because they burn fossil fuels, which causes climate change and may destroy the world. So what about extracting all the raw materials that are used to produce batteries?

Germany wants to keep internal combustion engines alive by burning hybrid fuel. Italy has also announced that it will not approve the ban. Ferrari and Lamborghini welcome the idea of ​​hybrid fuels to keep their V8, V10 and V12 engines. Italy’s Minister of Energy has said: “Italy believes that electrification should not be the only way to reduce carbon pollution.”

The choice of words by Gilberto Picto Frattini is interesting. If the goal of electrification of cars is to end carbon emissions and it can be solved without exclusive use of electric solutions, is the transition not complete? What goal is left to achieve? What is the purpose of this change: making carbon neutral cars or electric cars? If switching to electric vehicles is still a goal, why? Simply put, are electric cars a tool or a goal?

Germany and Italy, big supporters of internal combustion engines

Germany and Italy believe that these cars are tools. In other words, they want other ways to neutralize carbon pollution, and in this context they will use internal combustion vehicles that are capable of burning mixed fuels, because ethanol production is easy. Vehicles that run on hybrid fuel will easily run on any fuel as long as they match the Otto cycle.

This is the only strategy in which electric and internal combustion vehicles can coexist: if automakers are given the choice of either as long as they are carbon neutral. As a result, developing countries will use alternative methods if electric cars are expensive. Otherwise, if automakers are forced to abandon internal combustion engines, poor countries will have to buy whatever products they offer.

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