From birth to death: Polestar reveals life cycle emissions outputs of its latest electric vehicle


Polestar discloses the lifecycle carbon footprint of its latest Polestar 2 electric car – and the data looks positive for electric vehicle fans and proponents.


Volvo’s electric-car offshoot Polestar has revealed the whole-of-life climate impact of its latest Polestar 2 electric vehicle (EV) variants, from production to disposal – and is calling on the wider automotive industry to do the same.

Polestar’s Life Cycle Assessments (LCA) consider a range of factors tracked through a car’s life cycle from the production phase, through the use phase, and to the end of its life. These factors are expressed through a single easy-to-comprehend ‘CO2e’ (carbon dioxide equivalent) number.

Calculations reveal that the two variants of Polestar 2 – Long Range and Standard Range – have a higher carbon footprint through production and disposal phases than petrol-powered, internal-combustion engined (ICE) cars, but have far lower emissions outputs over the course of the use phase.


In turn, these LCAs of Polestar 2 variants end up being lower overall than equivalent internal-combustion engined cars (compared against a petrol-powered Volvo XC40 in this instance). Naturally, benefits to the climate are improved if the electric cars are powered using sustainably-sourced energy.

Polestar’s research flies in the face of online rhetoric stating that electric vehicles (EVs) have just as high a carbon footprint as combustion-engined cars, owing to the relative high carbon output through the production phase.

The carbon impact of Polestar’s EVs takes into account CO2 produced through extraction of raw materials, energy used to produce the cars, and recycling impacts. By collating these factors into one number, Polestar says it enables consumers to make quicker and more educated decisions when buying a car.

Research commissioned by Polestar revealed only one in four consumers trust car manufacturers to be transparent and to operate in the best interests of society, and over half of consumers wish for more transparency in the ability to compare carbon footprints between cars.

The Volvo-owned manufacturer called upon other manufacturers to do the same with their respective ranges of vehicles.

“Carmakers need to take full responsibility. Every week, we see a new announcement that an automaker is changing direction towards electrification. But going electric alone is not enough. Making cars electric is not the end game, it is a starting point. We need to be honest and transparent,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.

All new vehicles sold in Australia are required to display a Fuel Consumption Label on the windscreen which describes CO2 emissions among other figures. However, this CO2 figure only describes what a vehicle outputs once it’s on the road driving.

Polestar believes the adoption of an industry-wide lifecycle standard could be the key to better transparency.

Tom started out in the automotive industry by exploiting his photographic skills but quickly learned that journalists got the better end of the deal. He began with CarAdvice in 2014, left in 2017 to join Bauer Media titles including Wheels and WhichCar and subsequently returned to CarAdvice in early 2021 during its transition to Drive. As part of the Drive content team, Tom covers automotive news, car reviews, advice, and holds a special interest in long-form feature stories. He understands that every car buyer is unique and has varying requirements when it comes to buying a new car, but equally, there’s also a loyal subset of Drive audience that loves entertaining enthusiast content. Tom holds a deep respect for all things automotive no matter the model, priding himself on noticing the subtle things that make each car tick. Not a day goes by that he doesn’t learn something new in an everchanging industry, which is then imparted to the Drive reader base.

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