LONDON: Porsche has a plan to gradually electrify its car lineup so that electric vehicles make up 80% of sales by 2030, and it aims to make its iconic 911 the only internal-combustion engine model left standing, a top executive said.
The German luxury automaker’s plans have been closely watched, including by environmentalists, because of its investment in e-fuels and push for the EU to allow sales of such vehicles after 2035.
Porsche, which had not previously outlined plans to ultimately have only one combustion-engine model, is seen as closely associated with e-fuels because of an investment in Chilean energy company HIF Global.
The automaker will electrify its compact SUV Macan, followed by the 718 sports car and then the best-selling Cayenne, Porsche e-fuels team leader Karl Dums said. The 911, accounting for 13% of sales in 2022, is the exception.
“Our strategy in the first place is switching to electric mobility and … we will produce the 911 as long as possible with a combustion engine,” Dums said.
Porsche’s EV plans and e-fuels investment are separate, he said.
E-fuel is made from captured carbon dioxide and renewably produced hydrogen – when it burns it re-emits CO2, which proponents say makes it carbon-neutral.
HIF Global’s e-fuel is more aimed at the aviation industry and heavy vehicles, as passenger cars will almost all go electric, Dums added.
Automotive and business experts said e-fuels will be used only in niche, high-end models. Major automakers will likely avoid new e-fuel models after 2035, having already committed US$1.2 trillion to electrification.
By comparison, e-fuel startups – focused mostly on aviation fuel – have attracted less than US$1 billion in investment, according to Pitchbook.
Like Porsche, Ferrari pushed for an EU e-fuels exemption – which has yet to be finalised – but still says 80% of its models will be electric or hybrid by 2030.
A host of smaller carmakers also want to sell luxury, high-performance e-fuel models to customers rich enough to afford the expensive fuel, which today can cost up to £10 (US$12.90) per litre.
Morgan Motor Co’s four-wheel cars are made by hand in Malvern, England, and little has changed externally on the cars, which sell for over US$100,000, since the World Two era.
Owned by European private equity firm Investindustrial, Morgan made around 600 cars last year and is expanding into the US market, said CEO Massimo Fumarola.
Morgan will launch an electric model later this decade, but many customers will want e-fuel-powered combustion-engine models long after 2035, Fumarola said.
Liverpool-based Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) makes customisable, single-seater race cars that cost an average of over £350,000. It makes one or two cars per month but is expanding into many new markets including Germany.
BAC’s customers show no interest in EVs, Chairman Mike Flewitt said.