Certified B Corporation Badge


In the driving seat

10 February, 2023

Greenwash-savvy readers may be familiar with claims about ‘zero-emissions vehicles’ not reflecting the whole truth: these vehicles produce zero emissions in use only, provided that they are powered by renewable energy. But Swedish car manufacturer Polestar has taken the zero-emissions vehicle challenge on in its entirety through its Polestar 0 Project, which is trying to create an electric car that produces no emissions across its total lifecycle, from manufacturing to disposal.

This certainly won’t be an easy ride. Electric vehicles are currently more emissions-intensive to manufacture than internal combustion engine vehicles, producing 8.8 tonnes of CO2e compared with 5.6 tCO2e. And given significant challenges in sourcing the rare minerals and components needed to manufacture a vehicle, many manufacturers are struggling to source these resources let alone ones that are themselves zero-emissions.

Of course, there are greener transport options. The humble bicycle can replace a large proportion of existing car journeys and takes a lot less energy to manufacture than a car, while buses and trains are much more energy efficient than cars to run.

But the collaboration that is inevitably at the heart of the approach will have broader benefits too. Polestar has already established partnerships with startups, universities and big multinationals that are looking for solutions across materials, car functions and supply chain. Cleaning up steel production, manufacturing processes and resource extraction are some of the key steps to shifting transport and our economies more generally to net zero.

And given our current reliance on cars, producing a zero-emissions car will be a massive step forward. We’ll follow with interest as Polestar’s collaborations drive progress towards both its own bold goal and the broader journey to net zero.

By Patrick Bapty

You might also like