Volkswagen brand CEO Thomas Schafer is certain that the company’s upcoming small and affordable electric cars will be profitable, all while being priced below $28,000 (25,000 Euros). At the same time, he billed the current European discussions about allowing e-fuel-powered cars to be sold in the European Union after 2035 as “unnecessary noise.”
Schafer spoke with Automotive News Europe and its sister publication Automobilwoche on different occasions for mostly European-related topics, focusing on details about the brand’s upcoming all-electric hatchback based on the ID. 2all concept, as well as a subsequent smaller model that’s slated to cost less than $22,000 (20,000 Euros) when it goes on sale by “2026-2027 at the latest.”
As a reminder, the EU plans on effectively banning the sale of new carbon-emitting vehicles from 2035, but as the final vote came to a close, Germany and Italy objected to the proposal, saying that e-fuel-powered vehicles should also be allowed on the roads alongside EVs from the middle of the next decade.
One of the most important players in the development of e-fuels is none other than Porsche, which is part of the Volkswagen Group led by CEO Oliver Blume. So Thomas Schafer’s remarks regarding the carbon-neutral fuel come as a surprise, but as he points out in the Automotive News Europe piece, the discussion is widely misunderstood.
“It's not Mr. Blume behind it. I guarantee that,” said the VW brand's CEO. “This discussion around e-fuels is widely misunderstood. They have a role to play in existing fleets, but won't replace EVs. That's complete nonsense. Look at the physics of making e-fuels. We don't have enough energy as it is, so why waste it on e-fuels?”
Moving forward, Thomas Schafer says that the role of the internal combustion engine at Volkswagen is now to simply make money for the transition to EVs, with the company aiming to phase out combustion engines in Europe in 2033.
Gallery: Volkswagen ID. 2all Concept
The next generation of the T-Roc small crossover will be the last model with a new combustion engine, going on sale next year, while the iconic Golf is slated to get a “major product upgrade,” but will still be ICE-only for the next ten years. Previously, there were rumors about the Golf going all-electric for the next generation, so we’ll have to see what Volkswagen has in store for this particular name.
It’s worth noting that e-fuels are made by synthesizing captured carbon dioxide emissions and hydrogen produced using renewable energy, effectively making it carbon neutral. However, cars running on this fuel also emit other harmful gasses, such as nitrogen oxides, so while it looks like a viable alternative for ICE cars that are currently in use, it’s far less environmentally friendly than a zero-emissions EV.
As always, we’d like to know what you think about this, so head over to the comments section below to give us your thoughts.