McLaren has revealed that it will proceed with the creation of a development vehicle that runs on synthetic fuel, serving as proof that the technology is a valid alternative to battery-electric vehicles. Company COO Jens Ludmann told Autocar that synthetic fuels could lower the ecological impact of motoring.

The project is still in the midst of the planning stage, but Ludmann and the company believes that synthetic fuels can be a viable alternative to EVs, if the production of batteries is included as part of the car’s total CO2 impact.

“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. Today’s engines would need only small modifications, and I would like to see this technology get some more airtime,” Ludmann said.

However, he doesn’t think that synthetic fuel engines will replace battery-electric vehicles. “It’s too hard to say with certainty how far off synthetic fuel is from reaching production reality, whereas battery technology is here. Then you also have the potential to combine synthetic fuel with a hybrid system, which would make it cleaner still.”

“I’m not saying this to hold back battery technology but rather to highlight that there could be valid alternatives that we should consider,” he added.