Polestar to car industry at COP26: too little, too slowly

As the COP26 conference prepares for transport day, Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO, calls for an accelerated shift to climate neutral mobility and increased transparency from the car industry in order to meet climate ambitions.

Commenting on the ‘Glasgow Declaration on Zero Emission Cars and Vans’ launched today, where a number of companies commit to phase out fossil fuel vehicles between 2035 and 2040, Thomas Ingenlath says: “Car companies are still talking about selling petrol and diesel cars until 2040. Considering the lifetime of a car, they will still be driving and polluting the second half of this century. They are delaying one of the most powerful climate protection solutions available to us.”

This statement comes as large parts of the automotive industry seem to be switching to electric vehicles as slowly as they can. Car companies continue to invest in developing new petrol and diesel powertrains, that without more ambitious phase-out plans will still be on the roads in 2050 and beyond – instead of using the huge related development funds to push innovation that leads to climate-neutral mobility.

Thomas Ingenlath understands the complexity of the challenge for traditional car makers, as well as the costs involved. He welcomes moves by OEMs to develop electric cars. But he fundamentally disagrees with their decisions to develop new generations of petrol and diesel engines.

Too little, too slowly
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“This is not the time for incremental change, but radical change,” Thomas Ingenlath continues. “Can you imagine describing this to a child today: 30 years from now, cars will still produce toxic gases, making the air harsher to breathe?

“Building and selling electric cars isn’t the end point, it is the beginning. We will need at least as much attention on creating a clean supply chain and ultimately recycling. An electric car is a good start, and a pathway to true climate neutral mobility, but, clean means clean from start to finish. Polestar is not perfect, but we are working at being better.”

Polestar publishes full details of the CO2e footprint of its cars and has introduced an industry-unique Product Sustainability Declaration, making it easy and intuitive for consumers to consider the climate impact of different Polestar vehicles, along with price and range.

The company also uses blockchain technology for supply chain transparency, with an ambitious scope that aims to track all risk materials including nickel, manganese, graphite and lithium, in addition to the cobalt that is traced today.

In addition, Polestar has announced an industry-leading goal to create a truly climate neutral car by 2030, without relying on carbon offsetting.  

Polestar believes that climate action takes ambition but also accountability. At this crucial conference, Polestar will be taking notes, quite literally set in stone. Climate goals from car manufacturers at COP26 will be etched into a granite cube, creating a historical document for future generations to judge whether the industry did enough.

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