Porsche hits the gas on synthetic fuel with $75M investment

Porsche announced Wednesday a $75 million investment in the industrial production of eFuels, a synthetic low-carbon complement to its plans to electrify 80% of its model lineup by 2030.

Porsche, which wants to go carbon-neutral by the end of the decade, said at a briefing that the technology could enable the automaker to continue producing its classic, flat-six-engine sports cars into the next decade.

In return for its investment, Porsche will receive a 12.5% stake in Santiago de Chile-based HIF Global LLC, a holding company for eFuel production facilities in the U.S., Chile and Australia. The automaker is currently working with HIF Global and partners, including Siemens Energy and ExxonMobil, to begin producing eFuels this summer from hydrogen and carbon dioxide using wind energy at the new Haru Oni eFuel pilot plant in Punta Arenas, Chile.

The investment in eFuels, a synthetic material that can reduce emissions across the automotive, shipping and aviation industries, gives Porsche the opportunity to position itself as a pioneer in using the zero-emission fuel substitute.

However, it’s unclear exactly when these eFuels will be widely available to Porsche owners. Porsche may use the synthetic fuel in its vehicles plying the tracks at its seven Porsche Experience Centers located throughout the world, including Atlanta and Los Angeles.

The eFuel produced there may also support Porsche’s plans if it decides to compete in Formula One. The international racing organization announced last year that it will begin incorporating sustainable fuels by the middle of the decade, “a huge step in the right direction,” according to Michael Steiner, member of the executive board for research and development at Porsche AG. Formula One has also set a 2030 deadline to go carbon neutral.

Meanwhile, the investment in eFuels could be seen as a hedge against an ongoing battery shortage due to the current global supply chain crunch.

Porsche announced in March plans to expand its battery-electric portfolio beyond the Taycan sedan to include the Macan and 718 by 2025, and to build a proprietary global network of charging stations next year.

HIF Global confirmed Wednesday that it plans to begin construction on an eFuels plant in the U.S. next year, followed by similar facilities in Chile and Australia in 2024.