EV manufacturer Polestar is on a mission to reduce CO2e-emissions in every vehicle produced, starting with the mining of materials for the battery and production of steel and aluminum for the chassis.
The goal is to cut current emissions in half by 2030, including in the new Polestar 3 SUV.
Polestar is so committed to sustainability that one of its top executives is charged (pun intended, since Polestar produces only electric vehicles) with the title of Head of Sustainability.
I interviewed Fredika Klarén recently, at the launch of the Polestar 3 SUV in New York City, just before the start of the NY International Auto Show.
“We wear our emissions on our sleeve – measuring and scrutinising every detail ensures we keep our eye on the ball,” she says.
“Electrification alone is not enough and pure EV-makers like Polestar have a lot of work ahead of us. Our focus remains unchanged as we double down on cutting emissions in our supply chain.”
Monitoring Human Rights Violations in Mining
Another focus is to minimize corruption and human rights violations in the mining of valuable components like cobalt and lithium, she told me.
It’s an integral part of the company’s Polestar 0 project, which uses blockchain to trace risk materials back to the mine, mitigating social and environmental risks in complex supply chains.
Material traceability now includes cobalt, mica, lithium, nickel as well as the leather and wool used for interiors, including upholstery.
The company goal is to create a truly climate-neutral car by 2030, and Polestar has partnered with some two dozen suppliers similarly focused on finding solutions to eliminate CO2e by rethinking the supply chain and production process.
Klarén is passionate about renewable energy, and believes that “all production facilities in the world” must operate on renewables, such as the factories which produce the Polestar 2, including four in China.
She is not alone.
The VW factory in Chattanooga, Tenn. is powered primarily by solar energy, and was the world’s first LEED certified auto manufacturing plant.
But I digress.
Polestar began as a division of Swedish car-maker Volvo, known around the world for safety. Polestar now is a separate company and wants to be known for its sustainability, along with well-designed functional vehicles.
“We have the backbone of their 90 years of expertise, and our independence makes us stronger,” she told me.
Polestar gets financial backing from both Chinese automaker Geely, which owns Swedish automaker Volvo.
Polestar has just issued its third annual sustainability report – one of the few automakers in the business to do so.
The Swedish EV-maker reports it reduced relative CO2e-emissions per car sold in 2022 by eight percent compared to 2021 levels, even as it increased production to just over 50,000 vehicles.
This is the second consecutive year the company combined rapid growth with carbon cuts – which is a better track record (sorry – another pun) than larger automakers. This puts Polestar on track towards its goals of cutting relative emissions in half by 2030.
The reductions come down to several factors, for example reduced average transports, high sales in markets with more renewable energy on grids, but also ongoing updates, pushed through by Klarén’s sustainability team,
One example is changing the supplier of aluminium for the wheels and battery trays for Polestar 2, to a more eco-friendly efficient hydro-powered smelter.
Also, the factory where Polestar 2 is built now running on 100 percent renewable electricity.
The Polestar 3 will be produced in the USA, at the same factory in Ridgeville, South Carolina (near Charleston) which is producing the Polestar 2 and two Volvo models, the S60 Sedan and the XC90 SUV – which has the same platform as the Polestar 3, according to Reuters.
The Polestar 3 base price is $85,300. It may – or may not – qualify for a $7,500 tax credit. It depends on the domestic content of its batteries. Stay tuned.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter is a journalist with 20+ years of experience as a newspaper and magazine writer, radio & TV news producer & reporter, and author of guidebooks and smartphone apps – all focusing on travel, automotive, the environment and your rights as a consumer.
ecoXplorer Evelyn Kanter currently serves as President of the International Motor Press Assn. (IMPA) and is a former Board Member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW)
Contact me at email@example.com.
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