It’s no secret that there is no such thing as a perfectly clean vehicle, one that is completely free of environmental impacts.
Whether these emissions and oils are used to manufacture and operate a conventional combustion engine car, or burned to charge rare earth minerals and coal mined to build (most but not all) EVs, cars. Some don’t come without baggage. .
Much of the opposition to electric vehicles – which is not solely focused on driving range – will contribute to the proven harmful production process and (Shrinking fast) number of EVs in Australia that are charged with energy from coal-burning power plants.
It’s the kind of thing that sparks heated debates on social media, like politics and vaccination. Misquotes of articles lead to various attempts at reasoning, and links to study after study, both sides repeating “Google it” and “do your research”.
Automakers aren’t immune to the debate, though, and most have been taking steps for years to dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of their vehicles. Of course, revolutionizing every aspect of supply, production and transportation is not a cheap process – and most processes cannot yet be completely zero-emissions – but most brands would argue that the pace Innovating from
Polyester print for durability
- The company says it is working to improve recycling and remanufacturing.
- Cobalt and mica batteries are now recognized for ethical responsibility.
- The leather is sourced exclusively from ‘animal welfare’ sources.
While talking to the media. Global reveal of its new ‘3’ EV this weekPolestar’s Head of Sustainability Frederica Clarin said the brand is going to great lengths to ensure it is using the most ethically sourced minerals and materials, through new traceability and accountability programs.
Batteries on blockchain… mostly
On the subject of Minerals essential for batteriesClarin says uses polyester. Blockchain technology to trace the origin of cobalt and mica Used in the manufacture of batteries made by its supplier, China’s CATL – the world’s largest manufacturer of batteries for EVs.
In the case of cobalt, human rights issues surround the mining of the world’s main source, the Democratic Republic of Congo in central Africa. CATL claims that it has taken steps to ensure that human rights are respected in the mines it uses and has stakes in.Source)
“We know that the minerals in our batteries come with both environmental and human rights risks,” Klarén said. “So for us it became a focus on traceability.
“The Polestar 2 was the first car on the market to use blockchain to trace cobalt. We know that if we can trace the material, we know we can make sure that we to meet the requirements they set on their suppliers.There are now many material traceability schemes.
“When it comes to minerals – a very corrupt supply chain – there is no strong traceabilityBut we’ve been able to use blockchain to build these schemes, and it’s been an amazing journey for us. But of course, responsible sourcing, and really working with our suppliers to meet those requirements – our suppliers are working to reduce their emissions and move to more renewable energy.”
Less transparent is the treatment of lithium mine workers within Chinese borders. Forced Labor Report Given ongoing human rights concerns over the treatment of Uighurs in the region’s west of the country, it is difficult to confirm or disprove. However, more new mines are opening in Western countries, and while human rights are less of an issue, environmental impacts are still a major concern.
Lithium and nickel are not yet included in blockchain traceability systems, but Kristen Ennoxen – head of acquisitions at Volvo, which is both the parent and partner of the Polystar under the Geely banner – said in 2019 that the company “will Working on getting it. Also in blockchain”.
Scientists are also working to establish a program for Determining the origin of lithium in batteries by its atomic signaturean even more accurate and reliable method than blockchain – which is effectively a more sophisticated paper trail.
Mining companies, too, are aware of the growing need for transparency and traceability to meet rising sustainability expectations. In Australia, mining company Mincor has recognized the need – and financial benefit – to meet these goals.
“With this fundamental change in the market, if you can produce clean, green nickel, because it will be detected by the vehicle, then you probably have a good future ahead of you,” former Mincor boss David Southam said. told ABC In August 2022.
Opening of a new mine in Canada Snow Lake Lithium has announced that it will. Extract lithium in a “no harm” project.Supplying North American manufacturing with enough lithium for about 500,000 EVs per year for the next 10 years. Polestar has confirmed that it will build a large number of its Polestar 3 EVs at Volvo’s plant in the US (for markets outside of China, although it is “undecided” whether that might include Australia is), and the US may have strong new legislation regarding Chinese imports. Look at a company using lithium sourced from a company like Snowlake.
Recycling and remanufacturing
Klarén said end-of-life is another area of focus for the brand, particularly the recycling and reuse of its batteries and vehicle components.
“We have partnerships for battery recycling – they can repair broken batteries (for refurbishing), build remanufacturing capacity at these partner centers.
“However, the infrastructure for recycling currently has limitations. There is much about cars that is recyclable, but there is still much more to be done. We are here to work to develop a broader infrastructure. Ways are being explored, but we can’t talk too much about it right now,” Clarin said.
When asked if Polystar should start its own recycling program instead of relying on partners, CEO Thomas IngenlathAlso present for a question-and-answer session, added: “The recycling business; no we don’t need to get into that business, but we need to engineer our cars to be easily recycled in a meaningful way. .
Leather sourced with an ‘animal welfare’ origin
Interior trim is another area where innovation is keeping pace with the wider materials market, with more brands combining sustainable plastics, bamboo, cork, coffee grounds, cactus leaves and that old favorite with wool. Looking for clothes.
For its standard trim, the polyester uses “bio-attributed microtech,” a synthetic ‘vegan leather’ made mostly from recycled polyester without the PVC or polyurethane historically used to make vinyl. happens). But while some brands don’t offer a real leather option in their EVs at all — making the material incompatible with the EVs’ purpose — Polyester will continue to have real leather available. With a twist.
For the 3, and already for the 2, Polystar offers an option of what it calls ‘animal welfare leather’, sourced from UK company Bridge of Weir, which specializes in works with leather taken as a by-product of the food industry – and only from cattle. Ethical treatment is done from birth to slaughter.
“We were really pleased to be able to work with Bridge of Wear around the leather in the Polestar 3, an amazing company in terms of its desire for sustainability,” said Klarén.
“They have full traceability back to the farm, and also they only have animals that come from the food industry – which means it’s a by-product for the food industry.”
However, this specially sourced leather won’t come cheap. In Australia, leather in the Polyester 3 will cost from around $8000 (already available in the 2 for $6000), while leather usually adds around $3000-5000 to the purchase (depending on grade and brand).
If neither option appeals, the Polestar 3 will also be offered with 100 percent traced wool upholstery.
All Polestar 3s will also feature a block of text on the back of each front seat, proudly announcing the carbon footprint of the chosen material.
Klarén says that in an effort to make vehicle manufacturing a sustainability-focused industry, Polestar wants to collaborate with other brands on innovation and setting standards – but, she adds, breaking down barriers can be difficult.
“It’s bigger than Polestar, which is what we’re trying to achieve. We see a lot of other brands doing amazing things. We know there’s a lot of sustainability work going on at all car companies now. But we are in a very traditional system, so it’s very difficult for us to communicate and collaborate with each other – for very good reasons, it’s very regulated in the car industry,” said Klarén.
“But now in this new era, we need to do like other industries – the fashion industry, and others, for example to really team up to meet the enormous challenges we face in the supply chain. So, it’s a bit confusing. Which is, that we are stuck in this system, but we are trying to figure out how to get out of it.
“Our Pollster 0 Project A good example of this is where we’ve been very clear about our top-down target. We don’t yet know how to approach this, but we are inviting others to participate in this project. We launched our third call to action a few weeks ago, and we’re seeing amazing interest from industry players and other OEMs, startups, etc. So, yeah, I hope we can sort that out as well.