NOV 2, 2021

Wanted: clean energy for full climate benefits

Our C40 Recharge Life Cycle Assessment report is out – how are electric car benefits affected by access to clean energy?

Pure electric Volvo C40 Recharge plugged in for charging.

The C40 Recharge LCA report illustrates how much CO2 the car is expected to emit over its entire life cycle.

We aim to be a fully electric car company by 2030. And we have an ambition to be a climate neutral company by 2040. They’re motivating targets but as you read this, carbon emissions are still common across our operations.

We believe that solving a problem starts with acknowledging there is one and being transparent about it. One way we do this is by compiling and publishing a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) report for every new fully electric model we launch. We started this transparent and proactive reporting with the XC40 Recharge, and today we launch an LCA for the C40 Recharge.

Each LCA is first and foremost a guide for our customers, so they can make an informed decision about their purchase of a new Volvo. The report illustrates through a number of scenario’s how much CO2 the car is expected to emit over its entire life cycle, including both the manufacturing and the use phase.

A crucial finding in this new LCA is that it matters a lot whether you charge your C40 Recharge with clean energy sources or not. No surprises there; we’ve been saying for years that a switch to electric cars should be accompanied by significant investments in clean energy and public charging infrastructure. The LCA, however, provides clear and hard data to support this view.

“A switch to electric cars should be accompanied by significant investments in clean energy and public charging infrastructure.”

The report shows that when you charge a C40 Recharge with electricity generated from clean sources, its life cycle CO2 footprint comes down to approximately 27 tonnes of CO2, compared to 59 tonnes for an XC40 powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE).

However, if you charge it with the average energy mix available around the globe (which contains around 60 per cent energy generated from fossil fuels), its life cycle CO2 emissions can increase to as much as 50 tonnes, significantly reducing the environmental gains versus an ICE car.

In other words, people worldwide need the help of governments and the energy sector if our cars are to realise their full carbon reduction potential. As we continue to make this point and call for more investments in clean energy and public charging stations – for example at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow – we’re also actively seeking to reduce our own carbon footprint.

For example, we aim to cut the lifecycle carbon footprint per average car by 40 per cent between 2018 and 2025; including through reducing carbon emissions in our supply chain by 25 per cent by 2025. We also aim for climate neutral manufacturing by 2025, and already now, all our plants in Europe run on 100 per cent clean electricity.

To read the full C40 Recharge Life Cycle Assessment Report, click here.

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