Electric cars do not emit CO2 when they are driving, so in that sense they are much cleaner than cars with a combustion engine. However, it is fairer to also look at the CO2 emissions during the production process and the extraction of the raw materials. That’s why Polestar conducted a Polestar 2 Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) last year.
This also includes the emissions that are released during the extraction / production of materials, the assembly of the car itself, the logistics of getting the car to the consumer, the use by the consumer and the recycling of the car. Polestar has compared the Polestar 2 with a Volvo XC40 with a combustion engine.
Polestar 2 is cleaner than Volvo XC40
The latter has an advantage when it comes to the production of materials (a Volvo XC40 emits 14 tons of CO2, while a Polestar 2 comes to 24 tons), while the Polestar is cleaner to use. When charged with wind energy alone, an average Polestar 2 emits just 0.4 tonnes of CO2 over its life cycle. But that is not the case in practice.
So Polestar has also looked at the global electricity mix. And then a Polestar 2 emits 23 tons of CO2 over its life cycle. That is still much less than the Volvo XC40 with combustion engine, which emits 41 tonnes over its life cycle. Ultimately, the Polestar 2 is cleaner than the Volvo XC40, but the break-even point is a long way off.
The tipping point is still far away
Looking at the European way of generating electricity (a combination of renewable and non-renewable energy), the Polestar 2 only becomes cleaner after 80,000 kilometers than the Volvo XC40. Worldwide, that point lies at 100,000 kilometers. If the electricity only comes from wind, at 50,000 kilometers. So a completely climate-neutral car still seems very ambitious to us.
Compensating CO2 is not sustainable
And Polestar knows that too, which is why its climate neutral target has been set at 2030. Polestar wants to reduce the carbon emissions of the Polestar 0 by making extensive adjustments to the production process, not by simply offsetting CO2 by planting trees. Because compensation is not sustainable in the long term.
“Compensation is a way out,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath. “By committing ourselves to creating a completely carbon neutral car, we are forced to go further than what is possible today. We will have to rethink everything, innovate and apply exponential technologies to move to zero emissions. “
Polestar Sustainability Statement
Polestar wants to be the first manufacturer to start issuing sustainability declarations for its new models. Such statements are already common in the food and fashion industry. The first step is to disclose the Polestar 2’s carbon footprint and the traceable risk materials in the car.