Polestar Aims to Produce a Carbon Neutral Car by 2030

In Polestar’s just-released first-annual review and sustainability report, released today in accordance with GRI reporting standards, Volvo’s EV/performance car brand announced its goal to create the first truly climate neutral car by 2030.

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The Polestar 0 project as it’s called, aims to cut carbon emissions by changing the way cars are made, rather than using traditional processes and then, say, planting trees to offset CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent, a term for describing different greenhouse gases in a common unit). Polestar says its new approach will encompass “collaboration across the entire development process and value chain, from suppliers to retailers.”

Polestar points out that environmental experts have warned the model of offsetting being used today is not sustainable in the long run. Uncertainties regarding the long-term carbon-storage capacity of forests and soils remain – a forest could be logged, devastated by fire or altered by climate change, the company says.

“Offsetting is a cop-out,” says Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath. “By pushing ourselves to create a completely climate-neutral car, we are forced to reach beyond what is possible today. We will have to question everything, innovate and look to exponential technologies as we design towards zero.”

Polestar’s Head of Sustainability, Fredrika Klarén, says even though Polestar builds EVs and doesn’t have to worry about combustion engines producing toxic emissions “that doesn’t mean our job is done. We will now work to eradicate all emissions stemming from production of our vehicles. Now is a historic and exciting time for car manufacturers, an opportunity to seize the moment, do better and dare to build the dream of climate-neutral, circular and beautiful cars.”

The company says that climate action is already being incorporated throughout its business. As an example, the company says that “climate targets have been implemented as a formal corporate performance metric of the Polestar business.

“The company KPIs (key performance indicators) feeding into the board of directors contain sustainability targets,” a Polestar official told Autoweek. “At the moment this means a target of a measured reduction in carbon footprint for 2021, vs 2020. This will be very difficult as we expand into new markets, increase volume, and in 2020 of course nobody was travelling. That will also give us the baseline for a ‘new normal’ which we will set increasingly difficult targets to beat over time.”

Sustainability declarations, more common in food and fashion, will be applied to all future Polestar models, the company said. Starting with the Polestar 2, the brand’s EV on sale now, these will initially disclose carbon footprint and traced risk materials. The labeling will appear on the company website and in Polestar Spaces, what Polestar calls dealers, setting a “unique precedent of transparency for the industry,” the company said, adding that more details and information pertaining to sustainability updates will be added to the declarations over time.

Ingenlath added: “Consumers are a huge driving force in the shift to a sustainable economy. They need to be given the right tools to make informed and ethical decisions. This makes things very clear. Today, Polestar 2 leaves the factory gates with a carbon footprint. In 2030, we want to present a car that does not.”

Speaking of Polestar 2, Ingenlath previewed what looks like could be a sportier version of the car, posting a couple of photo on his Instagram account. The car has an Öhlins suspension, also available in the Polestar 2’s Performance pack, and Ingenlath mentions Brembo brakes, too. The car looks lower than the standard 2 and has 21-inch wheels. Power figures aren’t given, so we don’t know how much increase if any there is over the 2’s 408 hp and 487 lb ft.

We’ll keep a close eye on this one.

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