Polestar exec calls for more collaboration on sustainability

PARIS — Sustainability is the biggest challenge the automotive industry has ever faced, and the only way to meet the challenge of significantly lowering greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 is by acting together.

That was the key message delivered by Polestar executive Fredrika Klaren to the Automotive News Europe Congress here last week.

Klaren, who is the Swedish EV maker’s head of sustainability, said the world is facing a climate “crisis” and the industry has “an impactful solution which can be scaled, but it is so far underutilized: electrification.”

Polestar, which was co-founded in 2017 by Geely and Volvo, only builds full-electric cars.

Klaren said EVs are not 100 percent clean, but they are better than other powertrains. At the same time, he admits that EV makers have several challenges to work on as they scale up production.

For Polestar the company’s “moonshot” goal is of having a climate-neutral vehicle on the road by 2030.

“We are putting our engineers to the task,” she said. “We have carbon budgets for all of our car programs that they need to figure out how to stay under.”

Polestar is identifying where the emissions are in all steps from raw materials to the finished components in the car and then asking: “How do we eliminate them? No offsetting. How do we eliminate the emissions?”

Klaren said Polestar is finding a number of areas where it can achieve success. In the Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 SUVs the company uses a bio-attributed vinyl that replaces crude oil with pine oil in its construction. She said Polestar is also seeking ways to get net zero in steel production.

Klaren said Polestar can’t put a figure on how much it will cost the company to achieve its sustainability target, but it’s not alone.

“Sustainability professionals are asked to deliver clear plans and clear budgets for this,” she said. “But there is so much that we don’t know and we have to put our resources into figuring it out while being brave enough to set targets and communicate them.”

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