MILAN – Mazda, which has been one of the slowest automakers to invest in the electrification of its product range, sees e-fuels as viable alternative in the race to reduce CO2 emissions in Europe.
Christian Schultze, Mazda Europe's deputy general manager of R&D, says vehicles running on carbon neutral fuels would be "an important addition to electrification as they are easy to implement, and they can give an immense effect to the decarbonization simply by the high number of cars used."
The European Commission's decision in late March to allow an exemption for cars running on e-fuels to qualify for sale after 2035 -- when all new vehicles must be zero-emission -- has given the internal combustion engine a new life in Europe.
Porsche, Ferrari and Renault Group's sporty subsidiary, Alpine, have signaled interest in using e-fuels, which Germany, Italy and other European countries have fought to have included so cars using them could be sold after 2035.
Brands such as Volvo Cars oppose the inclusion of e-fuels, with CEO Jim Rowan saying their exemption puts "domestic political interests ahead of the health and welfare of our planet and EU citizens."
"We can expect that by 2035 a certain portion of the cars on the roads can be powered by e-fuels," Schultze told Automotive News Europe on the sideline of an event here. "I can't say it will be enough for 10 percent of cars or 15 percent to 20 percent," he added.
Schultze said it will take years for e-fuels to become widely available in Europe.