Polestar claims its upcoming Polestar 4 SUV coupe will have the lowest carbon footprint of any of its models to date.
Cars tend to be more efficient than SUVs, and smaller vehicles use less material, helping to contribute to a lower carbon footprint. But Polestar says the 4, which is set to arrive in the U.S. in the latter half of 2024, will have a smaller carbon footprint than the much smaller Polestar 2 hatchback currently in production.
That’s based on an internally conducted lifecycle assessment of the vehicle’s total emissions. Polestar made it a policy to publish these assessments starting in 2020, with the aim of summarizing a vehicle’s total climate impact in one number. To do that, Polestar considers factors related to supply of raw materials, manufacturing, and recycling, and calculating CO2 emissions related to each stage of a vehicle’s lifecycle.
Polestar claims the Standard Range Single Motor version of the 4 will have a carbon footprint of 19.4 tons of CO2 emissions. That grows slightly to 19.9 tons for the Long Range Single Motor and 21.4 tons for the Long Range Dual Motor.
The Long Range models’ larger battery pack makes a difference, as materials production and refining for battery modules represents 36%-40% of the carbon footprint. Aluminum had the next-highest share, at 23%-24%, followed by steel and iron at 20%.
In nearly all kinds of use conditions, EVs have lower lifetime carbon emissions than gasoline or diesel cars, when you consider the lower, cleaner energy consumed over the life of the vehicle, next to a somewhat higher footprint associated with manufacturing.
Elements of the manufacturing process that help reduce emissions include the use of hydroelectricity and solar power at the Hangzhou Bay, China, factory that builds the Polestar 4, as well as other models based on parent company Geely’s SEA platform. Higher use of low-carbon aluminum from smelters using hydroelectricity, as well as recycled aluminum, helps reduce the carbon footprint further, Polestar claims. The automaker has also been integrating sustainable and recycled materials starting with the 2.
The Polestar 4 will be preceded by the Polestar 3 SUV, set to arrive in the U.S. in mid-2024. A lifecycle assessment for that model had not been released at the time of publication. These assessments are an important part of Polestar’s plan to make a climate-neutral car by 2030, though. The automaker has pointed to “a disturbing lack of transparency” about carbon footprint from other manufacturers.
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