Fledgling Spanish car maker Cupra is racing towards a 2030 future made up purely of electric vehicles – but it is also supporting a growing movement to develop synthetic fuels.

The global head of Volkswagen-owned Cupra, Wayne Griffiths, says synthetic fuels that when burnt have net-zero carbon emissions would not only benefit sports cars that could keep the sound and emotion of firing cylinders but also the tens of millions of older cars that for now rely on petrol.

Cupra is preparing to launch the Born, its first electric car.

Cupra is preparing to launch the Born, its first electric car.

“The synthetic fuels, particularly for super sport brands could be a solution,” says Griffiths, who is to some extent toeing the company line given other brands within the Volkswagen Group – such as Porsche, Audi and Lamborghini – are pushing to continue with liquid fuels.

It’s all about keeping cars such as the Porsche 911 and Lamborghini V12 supercars making big noise and big power – rather than going silent under the whir of electric motors.

Griffiths believes the benefits would filter through to used vehicles on the road today.

Porsche is investing heavily in synthetic fuels to keep its halo cars such as the 911 alive well into the future. Source: Supplied

“It’s something very interesting that we should be supporting because when we arrive in 2035 and we’re not allowed to sell or register new cars with emissions any more [in Europe] we will still have a huge fleet of cars out there in the world with the old combustion engines. If that fleet of cars can then use synthetic fuels with zero emissions, then that’s going to help the environment.”

For Cupra, though, the focus in on the relatively rapid shift to electricity.

Griffiths wants them to be exciting and enjoyable to drive – and he believes software will plan an important role.

He says Cupra is looking at synthesised sound to effectively replace the noise of an internal combustion engine.

Cupra is investigating whether to have fake engine sounds in its electric cars.

“I miss the excitement around the combustion engine sound, so I think we need something that can replace that,” he told Australian media this week.

“The emotional sound of an electric car should be something more like Star Trek for me.

When I drove the Porsche Taycan I was amazed by the sound experience … the acceleration together with a sound that emotionalises that acceleration.”

The brand also wants to push into the US market, something Griffiths says could ultimately benefit Australia.

“The US has specific requirements,” he says. “We would need a bigger car and the bigger car would also have to be an SUV.”

That yet-to-be-confirmed SUV would likely come to Australia.

“The car we would do for the US would also be a great car for you guys in Australia.

It would be a global product.”

Extracted in full from: How synthetic fuels can keep older petrol cars on the road | news.com.au — Australia’s leading news site

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