Polestar 2

Polestar to publish environmental impact of its EVs

Polestar, the electric performance brand, will publish full details of the climate impact of its electric vehicles (EV). The company aims to be the most transparent in the automotive industry.

The Swedish company will from today reveal a headline number that shows the climate impact of its EVs as they leave the production line. Polestar’s complete Life Cycle Assessment goes further to show the total climate impact of the car over its life cycle.

The move marks a significant shift for an industry that has struggled in recent years to convince consumers of its sustainability credentials and sets new standards for other car makers to follow.

“Car manufacturers have not been clear in the past with consumers on the environmental impact of their products,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. “That’s not good enough. We need to be honest, even if it makes for uncomfortable reading.”

Using its own analysis, 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 carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions are negligible. After 50,000 km of driving, the fossil fuel car surpasses the EV in total CO2e emissions.

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

Polestar points at the disturbing lack of transparency across the industry, as it is today impossible for a consumer to compare the climate impact of different cars.

One significant issue is that there is a range of different calculations used for Life Cycle Assessments by various car makers. Polestar is sharing its entire methodology and is now asking other car makers to open up and be more transparent.

“Fragmentation will only lead to confusion. Car manufacturers have to come together and be more transparent,” says Fredrika Klarén, Head of Sustainability at Polestar. “What we’re saying at Polestar is, As an industry, let’s help consumers make the right choice.”

Here’s some more detail about Polestar’s Life Cycle Assessment and the analysis of the Polestar 2 carbon footprint:

Making the carbon footprint easier to understand

It’s obvious that electric cars don’t produce any tailpipe emissions, but the level of emissions produced during the manufacturing process has been unclear. An industry-wide lack of transparency makes it difficult to understand electric cars’ full environmental impact, and almost impossible to compare cars from different manufacturers. Polestar is leading by example, revealing the lifetime carbon footprint of all its new models, starting with the Polestar 2, and the full methodology behind it. Polestar hopes that this will help people to fully understand the impact of electric cars, make conscious purchasing decisions, and motivate them to charge renewably.

Polestar 2 carbon footprint in numbers

The numbers below compare the lifetime CO2 footprint of the Polestar 2 to the conventionally fuelled Volvo XC40. They reveal that “going green” isn’t quite as simple as just buying an electric car. The numbers come from the Polestar 2 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) performed by Polestar. The LCA includes emissions from materials production, manufacturing and logistics, the cars’ use phase, and the end of life.

Materials and battery production

Producing an electric car’s materials and its battery pack actually results in higher CO2 emissions than a conventional car.

Volvo XC40 materials: 14 tonnes
Polestar 2 materials & battery: 24 tonnes

CO2 emissions during car use phase

The fuel you use to power your car has a significant impact on carbon emissions. Recharging an electric car using energy from renewable sources reduces these emissions almost to zero.

Volvo XC40 fossil fuel: 41 tonnes
Polestar 2 Global power mix: 23 tonnes
Polestar 2 Wind power: 0.4 tonnes

Break-even point with conventional car

The break-even point shows how far you have to drive in a Polestar 2 before its carbon footprint becomes smaller than a Volvo XC40.

Global power mix: 100,000 km
European power mix: 80,000 km
Wind power: 50,000 km

The full methodology for Polestar’s Life Cycle Assessment and the analysis of the Polestar 2 carbon footprint can be found here:

https://www.polestar.com/uk/electric-sustainability/transparency/