MILAN (Reuters) - Tests by automaker Stellantis show that 24 types of internal combustion engines in European vehicles produced by the group since 2014 can use advanced e-fuels without modification, it said on Tuesday.
The group formed through the 2021 merger of Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot maker PSA, said in April that it was testing 28 engine types on synthetic e-fuels made with renewable energy as part of efforts to decarbonise its European fleet.
That was only weeks after the European Union opened a legal exemption for vehicles running on e-fuels to remain on sale beyond the 2035 deadline for the phasing out of carbon dioxide-emitting cars.
A Stellantis spokesperson said that four of the 28 engine types tested are still awaiting validation.
Stellantis, owner of brands including Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Opel, Jeep and Maserati, on Tuesday said that the 24 engine types it identified as compatible with e-fuels represent about 28 million vehicles on the roads in Europe.
The tests were conducted using surrogate e-fuels provided by Saudi oil giant Aramco.
Advanced e-fuels can have a "massive and almost immediate impact on reducing the CO2 emissions" of the existing Stellantis vehicle fleet, said the company's engineering and technology chief, Ned Curic.
The world's third-largest carmaker by sales said it estimated that the use of low-carbon e-fuels in as many as 28 million vehicles could reduce Europe's CO2 emissions by up to 400 million metric tons between 2025 and 2050.
Low-carbon e-fuel has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions from existing internal combustion vehicles by at least 70% on a life cycle basis compared with conventional fuels, Stellantis said.
The scenarios presented, however, are theoretical given that they rely on car owners opting to use e-fuels rather than conventional fuels.
The group has targets to halve its carbon footprint from 2021 levels by 2030 and become carbon net zero by 2038.
(Reporting by Giulio Piovaccari; Editing by David Goodman)