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Polestar shoots for the first carbon neutral car come 2030

The Swedish automakers’ plan, dubbed Polestar 0, eschews carbon offsetting for the eradication of carbon emissions from production altogether.

A decade ago, electric cars were a novelty. A decade further, and they didn’t exist – at least in any commercial sense. Now though, many luxury automakers – some with more than a century of automotive history – have set their sights on an all-electric future. Think Jaguar, Ford and Bentley, marques famed for their longstanding line-up of gas-powered vehicles, completely ditching the internal combustion engine altogether come 2025, 2030 and 2035 respectively.

Swedish automaker Polestar is already all-electric – so they’ve set their sights on something bigger. Hello, emission-free production. Goodbye, long-term carbon offsetting by planting a forest of trees.

(Related: The electric vehicle that doesn’t need charging)

Says CEO of Polestar Thomas Ingenlath, “Offsetting is a cop-out. By pushing ourselves to create a completely climate-neutral car, we are forced to reach beyond what is possible today. We will have to question everything, innovate and look to exponential technologies as we design towards zero.”

The 25-year-old brand, once known as Flash Engineering, is more than young – its current, electric-focused iteration began proper in 2015, when the marque was acquired by Volvo Cars, and by extension its parent company Geely. Polestar, which began the production of high-performance electric vehicles under its own name and badge two years after its acquisition, doubles up as Volvo’s innovation lab for moonshot tech.

Which brings us back to carbon neutral, without resorting to carbon offsetting, the tried-and-tested method of achieving net carbon neutrality. Electric vehicles have already shifted some of the burden vis-a-vis toxic emissions to electricity-producing plants, as the vehicles themselves don’t let off any pollution. What they had left – the rest of the supply chain, and the production process.

 To that end, they’ll be incorporating sustainability declarations and full transparency with, well, tech that hasn’t been invented – or at least perfected – just yet. That includes newer and cleaner circular batteries, recycled materials and sustainable energy use across the supply chain.

(Related: What it takes to drive a luxury electric vehicle)

They’ve got just under nine years left, so their work is cut out for them. Thankfully, they’re already partly underway – they’ve got a factory in Chengdu powered entirely by renewable energy, designed by Swedish architecture firm Snohetta (who, incidentally, plan to go carbon negative within the next two decades).

Polestar 0 is a part of a bigger trend to make automobiles, one of the biggest carbon contributors, greener. Much of its greenhouse gas production comes from internal combustion engines, which are already being phased out – the rest of the production process is the next logical step. And well, Polestar wants the pole position in that endeavour.

Ingenlath says, “Today, Polestar 2 leaves the factory gates with a carbon footprint. In 2030, we want to present a car that does not.”

For more info, visit the Polestar website.