From 2035, combustion engines in the EU may only be refueled with climate-neutral fuel.
But experts doubt that e-fuels can be produced at all at competitive prices.
Munich - The possible introduction of e-fuels could lead to huge costs.
This emerges from a study by strategy consultants Oliver Wyman, from which the
According to the analysis, investments of 120 to 310 billion euros are required between 2030 and 2040 for the gradual addition of synthetic fuels to petrol, diesel and kerosene.
Germany recently got through to the EU that e-fuels should be given a political perspective.
“The effort involved in producing e-fuels in large quantities is gigantic.
You don't do that on the side,” said Fabian Brandt, head of automotive and manufacturing at Oliver Wyman.
He assumes that a global market for synthetic fuels will emerge in the coming years.
"But there will be far too few e-fuels to be able to operate millions of vehicles in Germany," he says.
E-Fuels: Global capacities are not enough
E-fuels are obtained from water and CO₂ using electricity.
According to the calculations by Brandt and his team, around four billion liters of the fuel would be required annually even with an admixture rate of ten percent e-fuels.
In order to completely replace diesel and petrol in the future, even 20 billion liters would be required.
"The global capacities of the production projects for e-fuels announced to date only add up to a maximum volume of two billion liters per year," it said.
"The full substitution of diesel and petrol for the German passenger car fleet is not at all affordable," says Brandt.
In his view, the best thing would be to use the limited amounts of e-fuels in airplanes and ships, which cannot be easily powered by energy stored in batteries.
According to Brandt, fuels made from biomass, for example, could be used as an alternative to e-fuels to minimize emissions of climate-damaging exhaust gases from existing passenger cars.
Even if minor modifications would have to be made to existing vehicles when using e-fuels, they still offer potential.
"You should also think about incentives such as scrapping bonuses to take old combustion vehicles off the market," advises the expert.
Niche application for sports cars
goes on to write, in the case of new cars, e-fuels would at best be suitable as a niche application for sports cars and other high-performance vehicles.
In contrast, all vehicle manufacturers would be converting the large segments to electric drives at a rapid pace.
The reason is that pure battery cars are very efficient, because they convert about 70 percent of the energy into propulsion.
Vehicles fueled with e-fuels, on the other hand, achieve an efficiency of 14 percent, and petrol engines 20 percent.
In addition, synthetic fuels are currently not competitive, they cost between five and ten euros per liter.
In addition, e-fuels are only climate-neutral if the electricity required for production is generated from renewable sources and the necessary CO2 comes from the atmosphere, from biomass or from industrial exhaust gases, i.e. is already available.
In Germany, the costs for this would be too high, it is said.
In addition, according to Oliver Wyman, the production of e-fuels with the current electricity mix in Germany would cause 1.8 to 2.6 times more CO₂ emissions than the continued use of conventional fuels.
E-fuels would therefore have to be imported from sunny and windy countries in the foreseeable future.