Polestar Targets Zero Emissions from Start to Finish

Polestar intends to make its electric vehicles 100% climate neutral by 2030. (Polestar)

Polestar, the electric performance vehicle subsidiary of Volvo Cars and Geely Holdings, announced today its goal of producing a truly climate-neutral vehicle by 2030. Polestar maintains that rethinking every part of the engineering and manufacturing activities will result in a vehicle sourced, produced, and ultimately recycled with zero net emissions.

All electric cars emit zero emissions in operation, but the manufacturing process to build them creates emissions and pollution. For example, sourcing materials for battery production, such as minerals like nickel and cobalt that require energy to mine, is a leading cause of emissions related to EV manufacturing.

Studies have also shown that building an EV may create even more emissions than building an equivalent vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE). In 2015, the Union of Concerned Scientists determined that manufacturing a long-range EV offering more than 250 miles on a single charge creates 68% more emissions than building an ICE vehicle.

However, before you conclude that EVs are dirtier than ICE vehicles, you must also take the following Union of Concerned Scientists finding into consideration. Within 18 months of an EV’s in-service date, carbon emissions equal an ICE vehicle, even accounting for the emissions produced by the power plants that generate the electricity required to motivate the EV. Thereafter, the EV is the cleaner and greener machine.

Climate change, a scientifically accepted result of human activity that results in carbon emissions, has set off a global movement to reduce the particles that drive the changes in the earth’s atmosphere. In the race toward meeting certifications and legislation for lowering carbon emissions, companies often choose to buy offset credits or repopulate forests instead of building zero-emission vehicles and taking concrete steps to eliminate carbon emissions from their sourcing and manufacturing processes.

Polestar maintains that this is not a long-term solution. Thomas Ingenlath, the CEO of Polestar, says “offsetting is a cop-out.” He used wildfires as an example of how a forest can be wiped out, along with all of its environmental benefits, for illustrating how offsets are not a sustainable resolution. Instead, he said, “we will have to question everything, innovate and look to exponential technologies as we design toward zero.”

Polestar estimates that currently, the life cycle of one of its vehicles produces 26.2 metric tons of emissions (about 28 U.S. tons), mostly from the sourcing and manufacturing of materials and battery production.

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