As well as detailing the energy and CO2 produced in the manufacture of the 2 compared with a petrol-engined Volvo XC40, Polestar said it is planning to reveal more about the wider environmental impact of building electric vehicles.
Company boss Thomas Ingenlath said: “Car manufacturers have not been clear in the past with consumers on the environmental impact of their products. That’s not good enough. We need to be honest, even if it makes for uncomfortable reading.”
The firm’s analysis showed the 2 has a lower environmental impact over its lifetime than a petrol-engined XC40, but it also stated that “going green isn’t quite as simple as just buying an electric car”.
It added: “It’s tempting to assume that we can achieve a sustainable and emission-free future by simply getting everyone to drive electric cars. But the truth is a lot more complicated.”
Polestar says manufacturing a 2 creates 24 tonnes of CO2e (CO2 equivalents), compared with just 14 tonnes of CO2e to make a petrol-engined XC40. This extra CO2 is largely attributable to the production of the battery pack needed for the EV. Depending on the source of power used to charge the Polestar during its lifetime, the EV will eventually offset the XC40’s lower manufacturing CO2 footprint, becoming the ‘greener’ of the two cars.
There has been considerable controversy in the automotive industry about the ‘embedded energy’ in battery packs, with claims that manufacturing large batteries particularly results in a ‘carbon footprint’ that makes nonsense of claims that EVs are the energy-efficient future of motoring.
Over a lifetime of 125,000 miles, Polestar says, the XC40 (a petrol version rated at 163g/km of CO2) releases another 41 tonnes of CO2 through the use of fossil fuels, which is where the 2 EV starts to gain its advantage. Even so, the low-CO2 mileage required for the 2 to negate its greater production CO2e is much higher than you might imagine.
In an ideal world, with the Polestar charged using entirely renewable wind power, a driver would still need to travel 31,000 miles before the EV’s carbon footprint becomes smaller than the petrol XC40’s. This wind-powered scenario would involve just 0.4 tonnes of carbon being released over 125,000 miles of travel.
If the 2 is charged from what Polestar calls the ‘European grid’ – the average electricity mix across 28 countries – the EV has to travel 50,000 miles before its lifetime carbon footprint is lower than the petrol XC40’s.
Clearly, the mix of wind and nuclear power across Europe significantly helps to reduce the CO2 load when recharging an EV. Polestar’s calculations, based on the average global energy mix, show it would take 70,000 miles before the 2 had a CO2 advantage over the petrol XC40.