Polestar calls for auto sector to be more transparent about full life-cycle emissions

Thu 17 September 2020 View all news

Polestar, the electric performance brand jointly owned by Volvo and parent company Geely, is to publish full details of the climate impact of its electric vehicles (EV). The company says it aims to be the most transparent in the automotive industry.

The Swedish company has revealed calculations showing that it could take 50,000km of driving - powered by 'green' energy - before the emissions of a fossil fuel-powered car exceed the climate impact of the electric Polestar 2, when full production-related emissions are taken into account.

The move represents a significant shift for what Polestar says is an industry that has struggled in recent years to convince consumers of its sustainability credentials. Polestar says it aims to set new standards for other car makers to follow.

Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO said: “Car manufacturers have not been clear in the past with consumers on the environmental impact of their products.

“That’s not good enough. We need to be honest, even if it makes for uncomfortable reading.”

Polestar found the new Polestar 2 leaves the factory with a 26-tonne carbon footprint. Compared to a Volvo XC40 with a petrol internal combustion engine, Polestar 2 has a larger footprint in the manufacturing phase, mainly due to the energy-intensive battery production process.

Once the EV reaches the customer, if charged with green energy, further CO2e1 emissions are negligible. After 50,000 km of driving, the fossil fuel car surpasses the EV in total CO2e emissions.

Thomas Ingenlath adds: “The message is clear...Electric vehicles offer a route to climate neutrality and we will use the insights from this report to reach that goal.”

Polestar says that it will share its entire methodology and is now asking other car makers to be more transparent. A range of different methodologies for evaluating life-cycle emissions from vehicles have been used by different manufacturers in the past.

The full methodology for Polestar’s Life Cycle Assessment and the analysis of the Polestar 2 carbon footprint can be found on the company's website here.

The LowCVP has long championed the importance of life-cycle analysis in evaluating new vehicle technologies and of policies to support their introduction. The Partnership is currently running a project as a part of its new work programme to examine the impact of life-cycle CO2e across vehicle segments and policies.

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