Two up-and-coming electric vehicle companies, Polestar and Rivian, aren’t mincing words about their industry’s shortcomings. In a new report commissioned by the automakers from global management consulting firm Kearney, experts warn the EV economy remains “far off track” from doing its part to meet targets set by the Paris Climate Agreement. Signed by 196 countries in 2015, the Paris Agreement aims to keep the world’s temperature from increasing more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The team-up between two technically competing carmakers is outside the norm, but as Ellen Broomé, a spokesperson for Polestar, explained to The Verge on Thursday, the report’s “shocking and sobering” data confirmed their suspicions that “everything was moving too slow.”
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“We have both been frustrated by the lack of an honest, data- and science-led pathway for the car industry to remain in line with [Paris Agreement’s] 1.5-degree limit,” they added.
As the new report explains, despite the rising interest in EVs alongside automakers’ commitments to retiring internal combustion engines, companies’ primary focus on eliminating greenhouse gas tailpipe emissions is simply not enough. Instead, Kearney’s conclusions urge businesses to rapidly increase investments in renewable energy power grids, as well as reducing emissions generated across their entire supply chains. Polestar and Rivian concede carmakers haven’t been traditionally involved directly within these separate industries, but urge rethinking the approach to such topics in order to meet climate change goals. Potential avenues include vehicle companies investing more heavily in clean energy companies, or starting their own projects in the field.
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One of the main areas requiring improvement is battery sourcing and construction, by far the largest source of pollution within EV production. Automakers must simultaneously focus on vastly reducing emissions, the authors of the report argue, alongside revising what materials are used in the batteries themselves.
The report’s conclusions depict an extremely tall order, one that will require unprecedented cooperation between automakers across the board to accomplish the already lofty goals. “We need to come together to create a plan to tackle the challenge and deliver on that plan as quickly as possible,” the paper’s authors urged.