“For me, it’s a greenwash, because you can’t say the car is a wagon,” says Frederica Clarin, head of sustainability at Polestar.
Gothenburg-based Clarence was visiting Australia with her family over the New Year, but she made time to sit down with them. which car Polestar 0 to talk about Polestar’s first truly zero-emission vehicle by 2030. You can read the full breakdown here.
In addition to Polestar’s lofty emissions reduction plans, Frederica was eager to talk about the dangers of greenwashing in the automotive industry.
For those unfamiliar with the term ‘greenwashing’, it refers to when a company can use false or misleading information to emphasize a product’s environmental credentials.
“To say a car is a wagon is to lie to customers.”
In the automotive world, terms like ‘zero-emission vehicle’ and ‘wagon interiors’ are often exaggerated versions of the truth.
Are wagon car interiors possible?
In the words of Frederica, it is not possible for a car to be completely vegan “We have animal products everywhere: we have fat; we have animal material in synthetic materials. In plastics.
“To say the car is a wagon is a lie to customers.. Yes, you can have a vegan upholstery option, as we have because we want to make sure that as a vegan, if you buy a Polestar 2 you have the option to go away from leather. Yes – but we’ll never claim we’ve got you a complete wagon.”
Besides full vegan interiors being a myth at this point, the alternatives are often just as, if not more, harmful to the environment.
In the case of ‘vegan leather’ products (or vinyl upholstery for kids of the 60s and 70s), current status textiles rely heavily on polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PVC production requires chlorine and the process releases harmful dioxins and other toxins into the environment along with CO2.
Manufacturers, including Polystar, are turning to more recycled materials for fabric textiles. An example of recycled fishnet used in carpets – Audi’s Q8 E-Tron was a notable early adopter – or PET bottles in synthetic fibres.
But glossy, easy-to-clean faux ‘leather’ will rely on newly developed PVC, eg It is one of the least recyclable forms of plastic..
For Polestar, the leather used in its 2 sedan and upcoming 3 SUV comes as a byproduct of the meat industry and makes up less than one percent of the cost of the cow. Klarén says that as long as there is demand for meat farming, leather will remain the remaining waste of this CO2-intensive process.
The tanning process is also done with an eye to sustainability, meaning the polyester reduces the number of harmful chemicals used in the dying process of its leather.