The LCA report for Volvo’s newest EV, the C40 Recharge, shows the significant increase in terms of CO2 emissions, when using an “average global energy mix,” with more than 50% generated from fossil fuel. This drastically reduces the potential environmental benefit of an EV, compared to combustion-engine vehicles.
What’s even worse is that the production emissions of the C40 Recharge are higher than those of the petrol-powered XC40 – we’re talking 70% higher. This further cuts the potential benefits of EVs for the environment. And the main cause, according to Volvo, is the carbon intensity of battery and steel production, as well as the vehicle’s increased use of aluminum.
The answer to this problem? Batteries that use 100% renewable energy, and fossil-free steel. The carmaker intends to work with steel company SSAB and battery supplies, to make this happen. But, of course, this isn’t enough, as large-scale investments in clean energy are also required, for long-term changes.
Only when produced and charged with clean energy, can electric vehicles have a life cycle impact that’s 50% lower than that of traditional cars.
Volvo’s call to action is also backed by the International Energy Agency’s 2021 report, which finds that in order to maintain the global temperature below a two-degree rise, global clean energy investments would have to double before the end of this decade.
Nevertheless, the carmaker is determined to reduce the life cycle footprint for each of its models by 40%, as well as that of its supply chain (by 25%), within the next three years.