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December 18, 2020

Transparency around electrification

Transparency Around Electrification
You are what you do, not what you say. While this may seem like an odd choice of phrase to introduce a report of this kind, as our efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change become more urgent by the day, it is more relevant than ever.

Volvo Cars is fully committed to electrification. We continue to add new models and electric powertrains to our vehicle portfolio and research and development in new areas of sustainable mobility is our highest priority. It is accepted by us and many of our competitors that an electric future will be good for both the planet and society. However, as we said above, words won’t define our future. We need to assess our actions and their consequences, and in this case, the harsh reality is that producing fully electric vehicles (BEVs) alone will not address the car industry’s impact on our climate. BEV production is currently more carbon intensive than producing an ICE-engine vehicle. We also need to consider the fact that the distance they need to be driven to have a lower carbon impact than an ICE vehicle is dependent on how the electricity that powers them is generated. It’s not all bad news though. Over their lifetime the carbon footprint of a BEV is less than an ICE, irrespective of the electricity source.    


Complete transparency when it comes to the full carbon impact of our electric vehicles (EVs) is something we see as a corporate and social responsibility. That’s why we have produced a comprehensive lifecycle analysis (LCA) of the carbon footprint of our first BEV, the XC40 Recharge, and compared it to an XC4O ICE. As fully electric Volvos are introduced in the future, we pledge to continue to produce similar LCAs. You can find further details and the full report here. LCA’s also fulfil another purpose in that they enable us to work within our own operations and supply chain to target carbon intensive materials and processes – helping us achieve our climate goals, as well as true zero emission mobility.


Behind any kind of meaningful change there is always a fundamental knowledge shift. In this case, Volvo Cars is striving to be a catalyst that encourages people to reconsider accepted truths. By doing so, we hope they can more fully understand the consequences of their choices, make informed buying decisions and ultimately, encourage them to charge with renewable energy.


Change is happening - but it remains a work in progress. We encourage other automotive manufacturers, suppliers, organisations and individuals to join us because it is only by co-operating like never before, we can overcome the challenges that lie ahead.

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