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Porsche claims synthetically fueled cars can be as clean as EVs

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1967 Porsche 911 S Targa restored by Porsche Classic Factory Restoration

Is synthetic fuel the savior of internal combustion? Porsche thinks so. An executive recently told British car magazine Evo that cars running on synthetic fuel could be as clean as EVs.

Synthetic fuels will deliver an 85% reduction in carbon emissions, Dr. Frank Walliser, Porsche vice president of GT cars and motorsport, said at the launch of the 2022 911 GT3. That will equal lower “well to wheels” emissions than an electric car, once emissions related to manufacturing are factored in, he said.

A synthetic fuel should be ready for testing in 2022, Walliser said, adding that this fuel could be used in all of Porsche’s current internal-combustion engines without modifications.

That fuel will come from a pilot plant in Chile named Haru Oni. Announced in late 2020, it’s being overseen by a consortium that includes Porsche and fellow German firm Siemens. The plant will use wind-generated electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen will then be combined with carbon dioxide from the air to produce methanol, which in turn can be used to create synthetic gasoline, diesel, or kerosene aviation fuel.

1967 Porsche 911 S Targa restored by Porsche Classic Factory Restoration

Porsche previously said the plant would produce 130,000 liters (34,340 gallons) of fuel by 2022, ramping up to 55 million liters per year by 2024, and 550 million liters per year by 2026. Approximately 40% of the fuel produced will be gasoline, of which Porsche will be the primary consumer initially.

In addition to new cars, Porsche sees synthetic fuel as a way to keep classic cars on the road as supplies of conventional gasoline dry up. Keep in mind that around 70% of all Porsches ever made are still on the road.

Synthetic fuels have been discussed for years, and while Audi has made small amounts of synthetic diesel, so far no company has managed to produce them on a commercial scale. Even if the production process can be scaled up, cost may be an issue. In a 2020 Hagerty interview, Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said synthetic fuel costs about $10 per liter, equivalent to about $37 per gallon. Blume said researchers were working on reducing the cost to $2 per liter, but that would still make synthetic fuel very expensive compared to today’s gasoline.

Despite the obstacles, Porsche isn’t the only automaker investigating synthetic fuels. BMW invested in startup Prometheus Fuels last year, and McLaren is expected to start testing synthetic fuels in 2022.

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Autos

Turn back time with this retro 2021 Ford F-150

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2021 BFP Retro Ford F-150

After launching a retro design package for the Ford F-150 about two years ago, Ohio dealership Beechmont Ford is back with another version for the redesigned 2021 F-150.

First spotted by Motor1, the 2021 BFP Retro Ford F-150 features basically the same ingredients as before, including a two-tone vinyl wrap, retro 17-inch wheels wrapped in 35-inch all-terrain tires, and a 3.5-inch lift kit. A chrome bed rack and KC Hi Lights complete the look. The default Satin Pearl wrap can also be substituted for actual paint.

While the previous retro F-150 was based on the XLT trim level, the 2021 model shown here is based on the higher-level Lariat model. You can still get the retro package on an XLT, or a different 2021 F-150 trim level should you desire. Beechmont Ford does recommend the factory Chrome Package, which matches the bed rack and polished wheels.

2021 BFP Retro Ford F-150

Beechmont is asking for a $500 deposit on the package. Customers must order their trucks directly from Ford and specify delivery to Beechmont, which will then add the retro extras.

The dealership noted that wait times are longer than usual due to the global microchip shortage, which has heavily impacted truck production. It’s currently estimating a six-month wait time for delivery.

Beechmont doesn’t just do retro trucks. This is also the dealership that began offering a 750-hp supercharged Ford Mustang for $44,994 last year. Beechmont takes a stock 5.0-liter V-8 Mustang GT and adds a Roush Phase 2 supercharger, which is normally a $7,999 item on its own. You even get a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.

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Should you use racing oil in your road car?

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Ford Mustang NASCAR Xfinity Series race car

Every part of a modern race car is optimized to extract maximum performance—including the fluids that go into it. Specialized racing oil is a must in the paddock, but is it a good idea to use that in your road car?

“Engineering Explained” host Jason Fenske answers that question in this video, talking to engineers from Mobil1 (which also sponsored the video), engine builder Roush Yates Engines, and NASCAR team Stewart-Haas Racing.

First off, Fenske emphasizes that racing engines don’t have much in common with road-car engines. Pushrod V-8s like the ones used in NASCAR disappeared from the average American car decades ago, and racing engines in general have a very different duty cycle. They’re flogged (a NASCAR V-8 can rev to 10,000 rpm and spend 90% to 95% of a race at full throttle), but also have fairly short maintenance intervals. NASCAR engines have their oil changed about every 500 miles and are only expected to last about 1,500 miles, Fenske noted.

 

Ford Mustang NASCAR Xfinity Series race car

NASCAR oil is also fairly unrestricted (rules can vary by race series), giving teams more leeway to look for competitive advantages, Fenske said. Teams tend to use thinner-weight oils to reduce frictional losses and maximize power. That’s not great for longevity but, remember, the engine only needs to last 1,500 miles. Road-car engines, on the other hand, are expected to last hundreds of thousands of miles, so that kind of tradeoff isn’t possible.

Racing oils and road-car oils do have some commonalities, though. They use a lot of the same additives, such as detergents, dispersants, anti-foaming agents, antioxidants, and rust inhibitors, Fenske noted.

However, the difference is in the details. Oils used for road cars are designed to meet a long list of regulations and requirements set down by individual automakers. In NASCAR where, again, rules governing oil are fairly loose, teams can optimize an oil for one specific engine design. It’s really that process that makes racing oil work, and it’s just not practical for individual road cars. Unless you have your own laboratory and a lot of patience, at least.

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Autos

Bugatti Chiron Super Sport, 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid, 2022 Ford Maverick: This Week’s Top Photos

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Tesla Model S Plaid specs

Bugatti this week launched a new variant of the Chiron packing 1,578 hp. It’s related to the recent Chiron Super Sport 300+ but features a lower top speed and tuning that prioritizes comfort.

Tesla Model S Plaid specs

If you’re looking for a car that accelerates quicker to 60 mph than the Bugatti above, look no further than the 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid. The electric super hatch started deliveries this week, and owners can look forward to 0-60 times in less than two seconds and a quarter-mile ET of a bit over nine.

2022 Toyota Land Cruiser

2022 Toyota Land Cruiser

A new Toyota Land Cruiser was revealed this week, the iconic off-roader’s first redesign in more than a decade. It features a new platform as well as twin-turbo V-6 power, and while it won’t be sold in the United States its hardware should end up in a redesigned Lexus LX.

2022 BMW X3 M Competition

2022 BMW X3 M Competition

BMW unveiled updated versions of its X3 and X4 small crossovers. The updates extend to the high-performance M versions which also benefit from a boost in torque figures for the Competition models. A redesigned BMW 4-Series Gran Coupe also made headlines.

2022 Ford Maverick

2022 Ford Maverick

Ford unveiled a compact pickup truck that goes by the name Maverick. It’s essentially a twin under the skin with the Bronco Sport, and it’s headed to showrooms shortly with standard hybrid power and a base price of about $20,000.

2022 Volkswagen Multivan

2022 Volkswagen Multivan

Another new vehicle in the headlines this week was Volkswagen’s T7-generation van, which debuted in passenger-oriented Multivan guise. Unlike the T6 generation, which uses a dedicated van platform, the T7 has moved to the more car-like MQB platform shared with multiple models sold by Volkswagen Group brands.

2022 Ferrari V-6 hybrid supercar spy shots - Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

2022 Ferrari V-6 hybrid supercar spy shots – Photo credit: S. Baldauf/SB-Medien

And finally, Ferrari was spotted testing its upcoming V-6-powered supercar. The new model will feature a mid-engine layout and hybrid technology, making it a rival to the recently revealed McLaren Artura.

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