Volvo has released a new report showing how electric vehicles (EVs) can significantly cut lifecycle carbon emissions when powered by renewable electricity from wind and solar versus recharging by energy sources derived from fossil fuels. The automaker is leveraging this report, which centers on the new 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge, to encourage and enlist government leaders and energy industry heads to boost their investments in clean energy as they meet at the UN COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland, this week.
Leading by example, Volvo Cars aims to become a fully electric car brand by 2030 and plans to roll out an entirely all-electric model line in the foreseeable future, making it one of the industry's most ambitious electrification efforts. In addition, Volvo's clean mobility strategy calls for the company's manufacturing and development operations to become climate neutral by 2040. However, the automaker says it needs help from world leaders and the private sector to achieve its full carbon reduction potential.
"We made a conscious strategic decision to become a fully electric carmaker and an industry leader, but we can't make the transition to climate neutrality alone," said Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive, Volvo Cars. "We need governments and energy firms around the globe to step up their investments in clean energy capacity and related charging infrastructure, so fully electric cars can truly fulfill their promise of cleaner mobility."
As seen in the new Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) report for the Volvo C40 Recharge, the application of clean energy for both manufacturing and charging an electric Volvo yields a significant positive impact in terms of carbon emissions produced. In general, the life cycle spans from gathering raw materials for the vehicle to the ultimate decommissioning of the car.
The report shows that charging a Volvo C40 Recharge with clean energy lessens the environmental impact of the vehicle by almost one-half of a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle. When charging with electricity generated through fossil fuels, that difference becomes much less significant.
As such, the lifecycle carbon footprint of the gas-powered XC40 compact SUV is roughly 59 tons. In comparison, the new 2022 Volvo C40 Recharge electric SUV (built on the same platform) has a CO2 footprint of 50 tons when charging with the average global energy mix—of which 60 percent comes from burning fossil fuels. But if the C40 Recharge were to receive its battery charge from renewable electricity (sourced from wind or solar), its lifetime carbon footprint would drop to just 27 tons.
The C40 Recharge example helps Volvo illustrate clean energy's impact as world leaders hammer out new global energy initiatives in Glasgow. The Swedish automaker issues a Lifecycle Assessment Report for each all-electric model the brand launches, providing complete transparency in terms of the car's CO2 impact as well as insights on the vehicle's overall climate footprint.