McLaren Is Looking Into Synthetic Fuel as EV Alternative – autoevolution

In what is being billed a “why hasn’t anybody else thought of this” moment, McLaren is saying it’s working on developing synthetic fuel as an alternative to electric cars.

McLaren COO Jens Ludmann recently spoke to AutoCar about the more environmentally-focused future of the marque, revealing that they’re looking into synthetic fuel as a viable and more convenient alternative to building fully electric cars. The reasoning is simple: using synthetic fuel would imply only smaller modifications to existing cars, whereas fully electric vehicles would call for major redesigns.

Factor in the production of EVs and its impact on the environment, and synthetic fuel could even be a more sustainable alternative, Ludmann says.

“The technology around synthetic fuels is still being developed, but if you consider that it can be produced using solar energy, easily transported and then pumped [into cars] as we know today, there are potential benefits in terms of emissions and practicality that I’m keen to explore,”
he explains.

In the same chat, Ludmann stresses that McLaren is still at the beginning of the road but the prospects are promising to warrant granting this technology “more airtime.” However, don’t make the mistake of thinking synthetic fuel could turn out to be the killer of EVs because that’s impossible. Ludmann says battery technology already has a head start, whereas synthetic fuel still has a long way to go to production.

On the bright side, far from considering the two rivals, “you also have the potential to combine synthetic fuel with a hybrid system, which would make it cleaner still,” he says.

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Whereas most carmakers already have several EV models out, McLaren has only hybrids (in the Sports Series, with the more recent Speedtail), but is said to be working on other hybrid models and even a full EV. Not exactly rushing it, though.


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