This is the opinion of Matthias Rabe, maximum technical manager of the brand

The key to this may lie in green fuels

Matthias Rabe, Volkswagen’s chief technical officer, has stated that the combustion engine still has a long life ahead of it despite increasingly restrictive anti-emission laws.

The electrification of the automotive industry and the progressive tightening of anti-emission laws raise the question: how many years of life do cars driven by combustion engines? Without being able to determine how many in particular, there is a feeling that there are not too many. However, from Volkswagen they assure that this is not so. Thermal engines still have a long life ahead of them.

Matthias Rabe, the visible head of the technical department of the German brand, says that thermal engines have more future ahead of what is thought. “These mechanics have a broader future ahead of what people foresee,” he said in Autocar.

In addition to the development of the engines as such, the use of synthetic fuels with which to limit harmful emissions as much as possible. Currently unleaded gasoline has a limited amount of ethanol produced from crops. However, research has been carried out on those known as e-fuels synthetically produced only from natural materials, in such a way that they do not emit or CO2 nor any harmful substance. Unfortunately, these types of fuels are still far from being ready for mass use.

Rabe believes that despite the electrified path taken by the auto industry, the development of these clean fuels will continue. The reason is found by the head honcho of Volkswagen in aviation, since he considers that this means of transport cannot become electric due to the limitations of weight and autonomy that technology presents. “If you look at the aviation industry, e-fuels are in high demand because the planes will not go electric, otherwise they will not cross the Atlantic.”

Ultimately, Rabe believes that they will still exist combustion engines for a long time for cars, without this meaning to stop complying with emissions regulations or to bet on the development of electric cars. “We take our CO2 targets very seriously and we want to be a role model for CO2, but that does not mean that we will exclude the combustion engine,” he concluded.

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