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Ferrari, Porsche benefit from EU’s e-fuels decision

Ferrari and Porsche will benefit from plans to exempt cars that run on e-fuels from the European Union’s planned 2035 phase-out of combustion engine vehicles.

“The good news for us as a company is that on top of electric cars, we will also be able to go on with our internal combustion engine ones,” CEO Benedetto Vigna said.

“This decision is very interesting for us because it allows ICEs to go beyond 2036,” he told a Reuters Newsmaker event on Monday.

Ferrari, which is renowned for its powerful gasoline engines, has never provided a roadmap for going all electric.

The company is already producing plug-in hybrid cars and has promised its first full-electric vehicle for 2025.

Vigna said the full-electric model would be “a unique car” but did not discuss any details, adding that “keeping secrets is part of the recipe.”

He said that he expected the price of e-fuels to come down as they are being developed in coming years. “They are a new technology, and like all new technologies, they have time to become cheaper,” he said.

Ferrari plans for fully electric and hybrid models to make up 80 percent of the models in its range by 2030 while 20 percent will still be powered by internal combustion engines.

“This does not change,” Vigna said. “We don’t want to tell clients which car to use. We want to make three kinds of propulsion available to them — hybrid, electric and ICE — and they will choose.”

Vigna investors reassured that the company’s investment plans would not be affected by combustion engines getting an extended life, because Ferrari had already “embedded” this scenario in its business plan.

“The figure I gave (last year) — 4.4 billion euros ($4.7 billion) for capex in the 2022-2026 period — it’s enough for us to go ahead with electrification and also with ICEs which are compatible with e-fuels,” he said.

The European Union and Germany reached an agreement on Friday allowing new cars powered by combustion engines to be sold beyond the 2035 deadline if they run on carbon-neutral e-fuels. Germany’s transport ministry had for weeks blocked the EU’s plan, demanding an exemption for cars that use e-fuels.

VW: e-fuels are ‘useful’

Volkswagen Group said the e-fuels deal will help low-volume models such as the Porsche 911 sports car. “We see e-fuels as a useful addition to the existing fleet of combustion engines and for special applications,” said VW, which counts Porsche among its brands.

“E-fuels from renewable energies are a contribution to sustainable mobility — the agreement gives manufacturers and above all consumers a clear perspective for planning,” the automaker said.

VW added that it remains committed to the electrification of its lineup with a goal of EVs accounting for around 10 percent of sales this year and more than half at the end of the decade.

VW’s efforts on synthetic fuels are led by Porsche, which does not plan to make an electric 911. Porsche has invested in an e-fuel plant in Chile

VW Group and Porsche CEO Oliver Blume was criticized last year after saying at an internal event that he successfully lobbied for e-fuels to be included in the new German government’s coalition agreement

The deal between the EU and Germany is expected to change little when it comes to automakers’ long-term plans to sell only battery-electric cars in Europe by 2035, aside from the most high-end vehicles.

What are e-fuels?

E-fuels, like e-kerosene, e-methane, or e-methanol, are made by synthesizing captured CO2 emissions and producing hydrogen using renewable or CO2-free electricity.

The fuels release CO2 into the atmosphere when combusted in an engine. But the idea is that those emissions are equal to the amount taken out of the atmosphere to produce the fuel — making it CO2-neutral overall.

Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this report

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