The transport sector is the fastest-growing greenhouse gas emitting sector, expected to reach a share of more than 30% of the total emissions in the future. Today, Polestar unveiled 12 new partners — which will join the four previous ones — to its special project to accelerate the work to eliminate these greenhouse gas emissions.
— In automobility, we have a powerful solution to step up in time in the climate crisis; the electric vehicle, Polestar’s head of sustainability, Fredrika Klarén, said during a presentation. Looking at the situation in the world today, only 1,5% of the global car stock is electrified and that is not where we need to be in 2022. So the transition is going way too slow and we do our best to advocate for this solution and, for that, we need the transition. But we also want to talk about how we produce a car in a completely sustainable way. And we believe that we need to tap into four key areas: sustainable development, circularity, transparency, and inclusion. And this flagship project that we work with relates to all these topics.
— When we developed Polestar 2, we were able to calculate its carbon footprint through a Life Cycle Assessment. Compared to a car that was built on the same platform — the Volvo XC40 ICE, which is a fossil-fuel car — it was very clear that we can stop debating whether electric vehicles are better or worse when it comes to the climate. Regardless of how you charge your Polestar 2, it has a lower Life Cycle Climate Impact than that of its fossil-fuel alternative. More importantly, what we saw is that we can go for full climate neutrality on electric cars and that this is what we need to do now in the industry to try to fulfil the commits that electric vehicles deliver of climate-neutral mobility. So, we set ourselves some ambitious goals, where we wanted to be climate-neutral throughout our value chain by 2040 and we also wanted to create a sense of urgency, that it is indeed now that we need to figure out how to bend the curve. We then set out this goal of creating a truly climate-neutral car by 2030. And by doing that, we wanted to tap into the power creativity of our designers, engineers, and buyers, but also the industry as a whole.
The twelve new partners operate within industries such as metals, plastics, composites, and chemicals. Each of them is now actively working on the Polestar 0 project and will focus on certain materials, components, and processes involved in the production of cars. They include steel engineers Ovako, mining company Boliden, and Sekab.
Emil Källström, CEO at Sekab, can you explain what you do and share more about your partnership with Polestar?
— Yes, we are ’a 100-year-old startup’ which has trained on our processes. We work with ethanol, primarily from Swedish forest but also other biobased ethanol, from which we create a number of basic industrial chemicals, such as acetum. We now see a significant demand for bio-based chemicals — our constraint is that we are not able to expand our operations at the same pace as client demand from the chemical industry on fossil-free alternatives.
— With Polestar, we are early in the value chain while they, in many ways, are the end consumer. What we need to do is to build a completely new value chain between ourselves, between our green basic chemicals and their finished car. What we’re looking at right now is to turn green basic chemicals into adhesives and some forms of plastic but this collaboration may well lead to other areas as well where these basic chemicals can find a way into many different parts of the car.
The Polestar 0 project consists of research between 2021 and 2025, discovering sources of CO2 emissions in present supply chain and building collaborations like the ones unveiled today. Between 2025 and 2027, the company is aiming for building and running pilot lines for new materials and processes. In 2027, the ambition is to build all production sites, finalize the complete supply chain, and kick off vehicle development.
Other partners are research consortium Mistra Carbon Exit, and Swedish startups Stilride, using green metal manufacturing and mobility through proprietary technology, and Papershell, a fibre composite company. For the latter, the details of the partnership is yet to be disclosed.
Anders Breitholtz, CEO, what is Papershell and how will you and Polestar work together?
— Our idea is that if we take trees and make paper, why don’t we reverse the cycle and turn it back into wood, or advanced wood. We take the cellulose from craft paper and then we reintroduce hemicellulose and lignin and then we build back wood. So, our product is wood, but it doesn’t burn, it’s much stronger than wood, it doesn’t absorb water, and it’s half the strength of aluminium but also half the weight, so it’s sort of ’nature high-tech’. Our company started a little bit more than a year ago and we’re scaling super fast. The first collaboration that we went public with was Cake, the electric bike, and now, Polestar. Onwards, we will be launching collaboration projects within consumer goods, interior architecture, and the transport sector. With the Polestar 0 project, we are challenging each other and we are looking at several things, which I can not disclose. But, we have a pilot now and in our partnership, we’re aiming at becoming a Tier 1 supplier.
Polestar now opens a second call for collaboration, targeting transformative solutions for new technologies.
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