The intention of German transport minister Volker Wissing was reportedly to convince countries to sign a document, which would then be announced at the IAA. The signatory countries would thus declare that they fully support the development of e-fuels and see it as a fully-fledged alternative to the battery-electric car that is now almost universally put forward as the solution.
However, according to Politico, Germany only received three countries: the Czech Republic, Japan, and Morocco. The fact that more countries did not sign does not mean that there are no countries that see something in e-fuels. The reluctance was also due to disagreement over the text, which stated, among other things, that signatories had to invest in e-fuel factories.
Germany has long been a champion of synthetic fuels, which in theory also have serious advantages. Such a fuel, made from green hydrogen and CO2 extracted from the air, makes the existing fleet climate-neutral in one fell swoop. It can also ensure that some of the German knowledge and expertise in the field of combustion engines can be retained, and Germany is understandably interested in this.
It seems clear that there is a future for e-fuels, but that does not mean that they will also be used for passenger cars. For example, the EU sees much more potential for aircraft, for which the battery-electric solution is considerably less suitable. Trucks and freight ships are also mentioned as future potential major consumers of synthetic fuels.
Germany was previously also at the helm of a plan to make e-fuels an exception if every new car in the EU must be electric from 2035. Then it got more countries behind it. The IAA statement is separate from this and that possible exception for the European deadline is reportedly still being worked on.