Volvo Says That Without Clean Energy, EVs Can’t Deliver the Promised Climate Benefits

Ever since electric vehicles were introduced as the answer for tackling climate change, naysayers have been pointing the finger at the environmental impact of battery production, hydrogen production, and electricity obtained through fossil fuels. Volvo is addressing these issues, by emphasizing governments’ and energy providers’ responsibility.
Volvo calls on decision-makers and energy providers to increase investments in clean energy. 7 photos
Photo: Volvo Cars
Hakan Samuelsson, Volvo Cars chief executiveEV ChargingXC40 RechargeXC40 RechargeXC40 RechargeXC40 Recharge
Volvo says that electric cars can’t accomplish their potential for climate change unless decision-makers and energy providers also help with providing clean energy, which means bigger investments. Since the launch of its first electric car, the XC40 Recharge, in 2019, the carmaker has been issuing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) report for each of its electric models, showing their CO2 impact and overall climate footprint.

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.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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