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World’s First Carbon Neutral car?

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

Polestar, the Volvo-owned Swedish Electric Performance car brand, has announced that it wants to launch the world’s first carbon-neutral car. It will be launched by 2030.

And this car, carbon-neutral, will be going beyond the concept of zero emissions. This could lead to it being the pioneer in the vision of Carbon-Neutral. The Automobile Industry and its immediate consequence, the transportation sector, contributes very very substantially to Global warming and climate change, due to its dependence on burning fossil fuels and the whole environment built around an automobile.

Global warming and climate change are issues that are affecting the health of the planet and all its denizens. The rising sea levels, frequent weather changes are affecting us all in this generation and the future too.

In the US, emissions from cars and trucks are said to be accounting for more than 20% of the total emissions.

In the UK, the trend of manufacturing large cars has to lead to the largest increase of carbon dioxide emissions measured during the period 2010 to 2018. These larger cars were found to emit 85% more greenhouse gases per km in comparison to their smaller version counterparts.

The Paris agreement, signed in 2015, had outlined clear plans for the European Union to reach carbon-neutrality by 2050 – the US has left the agreement in 2019, when Donald Trump was President and rejoined it in 2021 after Joe Biden was sworn in as President.

The UK government has outlined a vision to reduce its Carbon dioxide emissions by 68% by 2030. It could entail replacing about 46% of its 35 million cars with zero-emission cars.

The Automobile Industry has seen many initiatives being rolled to advance meeting this target much before 2050.

GM has announced a series of initiatives to go carbon-neutral by 2040. It will stop producing gas-powered vehicles by 2035. For the US to meet its commitments on reducing emissions, over 90% of its cars would need to be zero-emission ones by 2050. A tough, neigh impossible task, as per the experts. To meet the target, the US may set up a target to permit sales of only electric cars by 2035.

But is it enough to just sell electric cars to make the world carbon-neutral? Polestar, a Swedish electric performance car brand owned by Volvo, has planned to go beyond just car sales.

It wants to ensure that the entire manufacturing process, including its vendors and suppliers, addresses the concern to make a carbon-neutral car. Fredrika Klarén, head of sustainability at Polestar, emphasizes this point “We’re electric, so we don’t have to worry about combustion engines producing toxic emissions – but that doesn’t mean our job is done. We will now work to eradicate all emissions stemming from production.”

Many other companies are trying to achieve carbon neutrality by offsetting the emissions by planting trees. This strategy could clog the present forest, experts feel; and in case of forest fires, could have a more devastating effect, by the carbon emissions that are released.

Polestar is not planting more trees, it is trying to eliminate emissions that happen at the design and production stage itself. This is a more sustainable strategy, Polestar feels.

Polestar wants to set the example for the rest of the industry to follow, as the World moves towards becoming Carbon-neutral.

Polestar is also asking the Automobile Industry to be completely transparent about carbon footprint right down to the supplier level. This will surely lead to better practices in design and production as the emissions reduce and the world moves on its mission of being Carbon-Neutral.


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