The electrification of vehicles and eventual phase-out of fossil fuel propulsion have commenced globally. Many, if not all, car companies have pledged a full lineup of EVs within the decade, while some companies, such as Hyundai, have also been developing zero-emission products in the form of hydrogen-powered automobiles.
Meanwhile, other companies aren't just about to give up on internal combustion engines (ICE) just yet and have started developing ways to save them through synthetic fuels, otherwise called e-fuels. They're zero emissions as well, though widespread commercial use is still a goal at this point.
Gallery: Hyundai N Vision 74
Hyundai isn't one of those brands – or at least not yet. In a media round table with Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) after the Seoul Mobility Show, we asked the executives if the development of synthetic fuel or cars that can use them as propulsion is already on the cards for HMC.
According to Woo Suk Kim, Head of Hyundai's Asia Product Planning Team, HMC is currently on electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered cars. The company isn’t venturing into developing other types of fuels at this time.
Jin Cha, Vice President and Head of Hyundai's Global PR Corporate Strategy & Planning Team, added, "With several employees under our belt, we’re not entirely sure of what each engineer is currently working on in terms of research, so that’s why we can't rule out the possibility of Hyundai developing the use of synthetic fuel. However, at this time, there isn't any commercialisation of synthetic fuels from our end, but who knows about the future?"
In a recent development, the European Union has agreed on a compromise over a proposed ban on combustion-powered vehicles starting in 2035. The automakers can continue selling ICE vehicles, but they must run on e-fuel. The European Commission has agreed to create a new vehicle category for models that can only run on e-fuels. Vehicles running on e-fuels in Europe will require technology to prevent them from using petrol or diesel.
E-fuels are carbon-neutral during combustion as the CO2 returns to the atmosphere. However, e-fuels are not yet available in large amounts. The compromise came after Germany and seven European countries pushed back against the original proposal.