Increasingly stringent emission requirements mean that the world’s car manufacturers have to adapt. Therefore, we have also seen an enormous growth of hybrid cars and pure electric cars in recent years.
It is no secret that electric cars are very positive for local emissions. But in the global picture, the whole thing is a little more nuanced than that.
Among other things, the large CO2 emissions are linked to production, especially of the battery packs. Another factor is all the countries where cars get power from non-renewable energy sources, such as coal and gas.
To the newspaper The Telegraph, the top manager of Polestar, Thomas Ingenlath, expresses a wish that car manufacturers should be honest about the emissions associated with electric car production.
– We must be honest
Ingenlath believes it is immoral to tell customers that electric cars are completely clean.
He writes this to The Telegraph, under the title «Car manufacturers must be honest: Even electric cars are not clean».
Polestar itself emphasizes that they as a manufacturer aim to become the most transparent player in today’s car industry.
– Car manufacturers have previously not been clear enough with customers on how the products they sell affect the environment. That’s not good enough. We have to be honest, no matter how uncomfortable it may be, says Ingenlath.
Large CO2 emissions during production
Using its own analyzes, Polestar has revealed that the new electric car Polestar 2 leaves the factory with a carbon footprint of a total of 26 tonnes.
Compared to a similar Volvo XC40 with an internal combustion engine, the electric car has a much higher CO2 emission in the production phase, due to high energy consumption in the production of the battery.
While the production of a Volvo XC40 with a fossil engine has a carbon footprint of 14 tonnes, the corresponding figure for the Polestar electric car is 24 tonnes. In other words, CO2 emissions from electric car production are almost twice as high.
Must drive 78,000 kilometers
Polestar has also published the so-called “balance point” for Polestar 2. It shows how far you have to drive the electric car before the carbon footprint becomes smaller than a fossil car.
The figures are based on a life cycle analysis, which includes emissions from material production, car production and logistics, the car’s use phase and disposal.
Based on a global electricity mix, it is only after 112,000 kilometers driven that the total CO2 emissions will be lower on the electric car versus the XC40 with a fossil engine.
Based on the European electricity mix, the figure is 78,000 kilometers.
In other words: Before you have passed 78,000 kilometers in Polestar 2, you emit more CO2 than your neighbor’s fossil car, according to the life cycle analysis.
If you exclusively charge the car with wind power, the figure is 50,000 kilometers.
Towards climate neutrality
Polestar emphasizes that they put a lot of effort into ensuring that the minerals used in the batteries are extracted in a responsible manner, with full respect for human rights and minimal pollution.
– The message is clear; electric cars offer a path to climate neutrality, and we will use the insights from this report to achieve that goal, says Ingenlath.
Polestar points to the disturbing lack of transparency in the industry which today makes it impossible for customers to compare the climate impacts of different cars.
A significant problem is that car manufacturers use different calculations for “Life Cycle Assessments”, ie life cycle analyzes. Polestar therefore shares its entire methodology and now demands more openness and transparency from other manufacturers.
– Fragmentation will only lead to confusion. Car manufacturers must stand together to be more transparent, says Fredrika Klarén, responsible for sustainability at Polestar.
– We at Polestar believe that we, as an industry, can help customers make the right choices, she concludes.
The case was first published on Broom.no