E-Prix of Misano, Emilia Romagna. Formula E is racing for the first time at a real racetrack, and in the paddock the advantages and disadvantages of racing on the track are being discussed, as well as the complexity of strategies, but also issues that have very little to do with electric single-seaters.

The number one of Stellantis, Carlo Tavares, during a press briefing returned to a topic that has already been at the centre of public debate recently: synthetic fuels.

The Portuguese CEO once again criticised the European Union's unrealistic and dogmatic approach to the transition, because 'a solution and zero emissions that people cannot afford is not a solution', and he again opened up on e-fuel.

"There is one very simple thing that no political leader has ever told you about: how many cars, internal combustion vehicles are on the road right now on the planet? The answer is 1.3 billion. And we are here discussing selling 10 million, 20 million, 30 million electric cars at a high price out of a total market of 85 million cars a year. And we are the rich of the world."

He added:

"Do you think the European Union will decide to ban ICEs in Morocco, in Angola, in Mozambique, in Uruguay, in Chile, in Venezuela? Do you think Brussels will decide on that? So there is a big problem today: what do we do with these 1.3 billion cars on the road?"

Tavares made it clear that Stellantis is ready to adapt to political choices, but reiterated that the decision that has been made in Europe "now comes up against the wall of reality, with the fact that it is too expensive and that the only ones able to cope with the expectations of affordability of the middle class are the Chinese". Furthermore, "you have to find something that meets the three criteria: safe, clean, accessible. So how do you solve the problem of affordability?"

The CEO of Stellantis wanted to exemplify the problem of affordability by recounting his personal experience outside the car world:

"I am a Port wine producer. I have people working in my vineyards, great people, great workers. Each one of them uses their own pick-up truck. Their pick-ups are 14 years old, diesel engines, most of the time very old Nissan pick-ups. The second-hand value of these pick-ups is 1,500-2,000 euros. And I will sell a light pick-up in the US with a BEV engine. If you look at the price of my competitors, because I haven't announced my price yet, but my competitors sell their BEV pick-ups around 70,000 euros. How can I tell my workers in the Douro Valley to abandon their 14-year-old Nissan pick-ups and buy a nice Ram or something for 75,000 euros? This is the reality".

The favour in synthetic fuels cannot be unconditional according to Tavares:

"Electric fuels are a good solution for the 1.3 billion ICE vehicles on the road. But for this to work, it has to be, if not zero-emission, very close to zero-emission. And we know that right now they are reduced by 70-80%. And at a price people can pay, which is not the case at the moment. We support the development of environmentally friendly fuels and have already publicly announced that all our ICE engines are compatible with environmentally friendly fuels. We have already validated the durability of our engines against E-Fuels".