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Keep your petrol Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee! Stellantis e-fuel strategy to keep current cars going for longer

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Cars like the Ram 1500 could continue to run on e-fuel to reduce emissions, but Stellantis’ CEO says future cars should be BEVs.
Cars like the Ram 1500 could continue to run on e-fuel to reduce emissions, but Stellantis’ CEO says future cars should be BEVs.

The CEO of car brand conglomerate Stellantis, which owns Ram, Jeep, and brands like Peugeot and Fiat, has joined the chorus of critics to the changes surrounding the European Union’s imposed ban on fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2035.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares hasn’t held back in an interview with UK outlet Autocar, in which he said he not only believes the proposed exemption for e-fuels could add “confusion to chaos”, but also that Stellanti is leading the charge when it comes to the electric car game.

“I'm fine to go full speed on EVs, and demonstrate to the world that I am the best EV maker. I'm playing that game, full power in a regulatory framing that is given to me,” Tavares told Autocar.

“Then the question: is this regulatory framing the best for the societies? Is that the best for the planet? And then we could write a book about that.”

Tavares said the legislation put forward by the EU risks boxing carmakers into focusing only on BEVs without exploring potentially better options, which could also leave carmakers without the resources to invest into new technologies if they become available.

“What is the probability that within a 20-year time window nobody comes laterally with a breakthrough saying ‘I found something which is a much lower cost for the society, a much better result for the planet and much easier to execute?’,” Tavares said.

“What if there is a breakthrough? What will we do with the gigafactories? What do we do with all the transformation that we have been making as an industry, who is going to pay for that? 

“And when they [politicians] see that risk, they start saying: ‘well, we did not impose the technology’. What! What are you saying? You see the legal stuff coming? This is a question that you should be raising.”

Stellantis last week announced it is testing its current engines for the use of e-fuel in the hope that existing cars (rather than those sold after 2035) can still be run and with much lower emissions. This means cars like petrol-powered Jeeps, Peugeots, and even Ram 1500 trucks could remain in use as almost carbon-neutral cars alongside BEVs.

Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares and GM CEO Mary Barra.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares and GM CEO Mary Barra.

He also called the EU’s strategy short-sighted, saying it relies on nothing significant changing in the world’s society for the plan to come to fruition smoothly.

“I'm worried about society, I'm worried about Europe, I'm worried about the Western world, which means if you want to bet that everything is going to be steady for the next 20 years you are making a big bet. So nothing is going to hurt the smooth implementation of a strategy that needs 20 years of stable conditions?”

Stellantis’ e-fuels program could apply to up to 28 million Stellantis vehicles with combustion engines built between 2014 to 2029. The program doesn’t replace the company’s commitment to selling 100 per cent battery electric cars in Europe by 2030 and going “net zero” by 2038.

This comes after three VW Group brands, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Skoda all seemingly announced varying strategies on EVs and e-fuel, with Porsche committing to e-fuel research and production, the Volkswagen brand CEO calling e-fuels a waste of time in favour of BEVs, and Skoda doubling-down on ICE engines.

Chris Thompson
Journalist
Racing video games, car-spotting on road trips, and helping wash the family VL Calais Turbo as a kid were all early indicators that an interest in cars would stay present in Chris’ life, but loading up his 1990 VW Golf GTI Mk2 and moving from hometown Brisbane to work in automotive publishing in Melbourne ensured cars would be a constant. With a few years as MOTOR Magazine’s first digital journalist under his belt, followed by a stint as a staff journalist for Wheels Magazine, Chris’ career already speaks to a passion for anything with four wheels, especially the 1989 Mazda MX-5 he currently owns. From spending entire weeks dissecting the dynamic abilities of sports cars to weighing up the practical options for car buyers from all walks of life, Chris’ love for writing and talking about cars means if you’ve got a motoring question, he can give you an answer.
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