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Polestar leads on climate transparency

In, what is, an unusual move for a car company, Polestar is to publish full details of the climate impact of its electric vehicles.

The Swedish electric performance brand has announced it aims to be the most transparent in the automotive industry.

From today it will publish a headline number that indicates the climate impact of each of its EVs as they leave the production line. A complete Life Cycle Assessment will go even further to show the total climate impact of the car over its life cycle.

The move represents a significant shift for the car industry – which has long struggled to convince consumers of its commitment to sustainability.

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.”

– Thomas Ingenlath, CEO, Polestar

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

Using its own analysis the company found the new Polestar 2 has a 26-tonne carbon footprint when it leaves the factory. 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 CO2e* emissions are negligible. After 50,000km of driving though 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.”

Currently it is impossible for a consumer to compare the climate impact of different cars, an issue that Polestar now aims to lead the way in addressing.

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, Polestar. “What we’re saying at Polestar is, as an industry, let’s help consumers make the right choice.”

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

*Carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) “Carbon dioxide equivalent” or “CO2e” is a term for describing different greenhouse gases (GHG) as a common unit.

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