Polestar is working to reduce supply chain emissions from its global finished vehicle and inbound logistics operations through the use B30 marine biofuel for ocean shipments, which can reduce emissions by approximately 20-25% compared with conventional sulphur fuel oils.

Polestar FV yard covers

Polestar is cutting emissions on ocean transport of finished vehicles between China and Europe

Last year Polestar delivered around 54,600 cars, a growth of 6% compared to 2022.

The luxury electric vehicle (EV) maker is using renewable fuels for ocean freight shipments of finished vehicles from China to Europe, which it said account for around 75% of total transport emissions. Polestar makes the majority of its vehicles in Chengdu and Taizhou. It is also operating its vehicle processing centre (VPC) in Zeebrugge, Belgium on 100% renewable electricity. All vehicle imports to Europe are processed through the port of Zeebrugge, now part of the port of Antwerp-Bruges.

The company said that renewable fuel will initially be used for approximately 65% of the outbound vehicle volume from China to Polestar’s VPC in Zeebrugge.

Those vehicles are transported by Wallenius Wilhelmsen and Höegh Autoliners. Polestar is purchasing renewable biofuel through its agreement with Wallenius Wilhelmsen using a mass balancing model, which allows for a gradual transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

Wallenius Wilhelmsen is also Polestar’s main terminal processer in Zeebrugge. The carmaker also works with terminal operator ICO at the port.

Cleaner container shipments 
Polestar also announced it is making efforts to decarbonise intercontinental inbound and service parts distribution by ocean, which are now running 100% on B30 biofuel, which contains 30% fatty acid methyl esters (Fame). The carmaker said that reduced greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 84% compared to fossil fuel. Fame is based on renewable sources, including waste cooking oil, but does not use feedstock related to palm oil or palm oil production, according to the company.

The carmaker is working with a number of ocean container carriers using the biofuel.

Polestar also plans to use the renewable fuels on freight from North America during the second half of this year, as production of Polestar 3 expands to Ridgeville, South Carolina. Localised production of the Polestar 3 in the US will help the carmaker avoid EV import duties that the Biden administration has announced will rise from 25% to more than 100%. The carmaker said that most of the content on the vehicles made in the US would sourced locally, with the rest sourced from Europe and China. 

“Our asset-light model for contract manufacturing with our partners around the world is a strength in this regard,” said a spokesperson for Polestar. “Production of Polestar 3 in South Carolina is an important part of our ability to provide an attractive car for customers in the US. The production site will also be used for export to European customers.”

The Polestar 3 will be manufactured at Volvo’s Charleston plant, which is located in Ridgeville. Earlier this year Volvo announced it would end funding for Polestar but would continue to collaborate on production and R&D with parent group Geely.

Sustainable growth 
Polestar will also start manufacturing vehicles in Busan, South Korea in the second half of 2024. That development follows an agreement between Polestar, Geely and Renault Korea Motors (RKM), that will bring contract manufacturing of Polestar 4 vehicles for South Korea and for export to North America.

“This is an important step in Polestar’s goal to reach climate neutrality by 2040,” said Jonas Engström, head of operations at Polestar. “Becoming truly climate neutral means eliminating all GHG emissions across our operations, and all phases of our cars’ lifecycles, including emissions from the supply chain. As we enter an accelerating phase of growth with our model line-up and manufacturing footprint expanding, there is an extra emphasis on the need for sustainable logistics solutions.”

In its recently published Sustainability Report for 2023 Polestar reported that GHG emissions per sold car were reduced by 9% during 2023 compared to 2022.