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Mercedes-Benz doesn't foresee synthetic fuels as a practical solution

Instead, the German carmaker will be all about electrification.

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The future? It's electric.
Mercedes-Benz

British carmaker McLaren thinks synthetic fuels could save the engine as we know it. Over in Germany, Mercedes-Benz thinks the solution "isn't viable."

The brand's head of research and development Markus Schafer told Autocar in a Thursday report the idea of synthetic fuels will likely benefit a different sector first: aviation. Further down the road could be cars, but the R&D head doesn't see it happening in the next 10 years. Further, he believes using energy to create any sort of synthetic fuel is counterproductive. It sort of boils down to spending energy to create new energy, while engineers could simply funnel energy into a battery.

Mercedes-Benz's parent company Daimler told Roadshow its strategy is "electric first," but it also has "an eye on alternative fuels and do actively participate in research and testing." "Daimler is not relying on a solitary drive form, but on a coexistence of different technologies that are optimally tailored to the respective customer needs and vehicle types," the company added.

Instead, the company is looking strictly at electrification technologies to meet emissions standards. Schafer reiterated when Mercedes-Benz looks at a new platform, electrification comes first and foremost. We've seen this strategy increase across the firm's lineup of vehicles with more mild-hybrid systems included.

So far, batteries and electric cars appear to be the short-term winner with the auto industry. Synthetic fuel research remains in the early stages while companies continue to refine batteries and make them more efficient. We've even heard about units that could skip out on cobalt, a rare metal that doesn't make batteries very eco-friendly.

Perhaps another automaker will have a breakthrough, but at Mercedes, it's full speed toward an electric future.

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