The LFP version not offered to the US is a greener choice

In a life cycle assessment of the electric Volvo EX30 published on Thursday, the automaker highlighted that its upcoming compact EV has the lowest carbon footprint of any electric Volvo to date.

The team behind the EX30 analysis looked at two EX30 versions: one with the 69 kWh lithium-nickel-cobalt-manganese oxide (NMC) battery pack, the other with the 51 kWh lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) battery pack. And it pointed out a very significant difference that makes the LFP version by far the greener choice.

“The NMC battery has an impact per pack that is almost twice as high as the LFP battery,” Volvo summarizes, while offering only 35% more capacity.

Volvo EX30 NMC vs LFP battery production CO2, future potential profits

Volvo EX30 NMC vs LFP battery production CO2, future potential profits

That said, there’s a big asterisk behind this conclusion that points to the greenest EX30: Americans can’t choose it.

The LFP decision also appears to extend beyond the EX30. U.S. Volvo spokesperson Russell Datz confirmed to Green Car Reports that “Volvo’s current plans are not to offer LFP batteries in the U.S.”

Volvo plans to offer the EX30 only with the larger NMC package, for an EPA-rated 275 miles in single-motor rear-wheel drive form or 265 miles with dual-motor four-wheel drive.

2025 Volvo EX30 Electric SUV (Single Engine, Cloud Blue)

2025 Volvo EX30 Electric SUV (Single Engine, Cloud Blue)

2025 Volvo EX30 Electric SUV (Single Engine, Cloud Blue)

2025 Volvo EX30 Electric SUV (Single Engine, Cloud Blue)

2025 Volvo EX30 Electric SUV (Single Engine, Cloud Blue)

2025 Volvo EX30 Electric SUV (Single Engine, Cloud Blue)

LFP package for Europe and China has half the CO2 impact

The EX30 analysis remains one of the first such reports, following studies into the carbon footprint of the Volvo the purposes of this is so that it can be used to ‘make informed decisions’.

While it’s likely that many automakers keep such data and methodologies for internal reporting – or for data promoted in small chunks to shareholders in sustainability reports – Volvo is one of the few automakers to make it publicly available. Tesla includes some aspects of life cycle assessment, including EV battery life, in its Impact Report, but that has not been released since 2022.

Volvo estimated the EX30’s lifetime CO2, based on 200,000 km (124,000 miles), at 36,000 kg and 31,000 kg for the NMC and LFP versions respectively. Using the same method, Volvo had calculated that CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the XC40 Recharge amounted to 54,000 kg of CO2 equivalent.

Upgrade 2024 Volvo XC40

Upgrade 2024 Volvo XC40

To compare that with a petrol internal combustion model, Volvo’s previous report on the XC40 Recharge pegged a petrol version at 58,000kg.

In a graph of the total impact per life cycle phase, Volvo shows that the largest phase is of course the use phase itself. As vehicle use increases, the impact per mile (or km) continues to decrease – to the extent that the total CO2 emissions from all stages, per mile (or km), are only 65%, assuming a lifespan of 300,000 km (186,000 miles) than the 150,000 km (124,000 mi) baseline report.

It is also noted that, as Green Car Reports has pointed out in several ways, EVs start with a larger carbon footprint that pays for itself over the life of the vehicle, and your EV is as clean as the electrical grid you plug into socket, and the effective CO2 emissions of the EX30. The footprint is much smaller if the electricity grid is powered by renewable sources such as wind energy, compared to the expected composite global electricity mix.

2025 Volvo EX30

2025 Volvo EX30

Small car, big battery footprint – in terms of weight and CO2 emissions

It’s not unusual for the battery pack in the EX30 to make up almost a quarter of its curb weight. The larger capacity NMC package adds 858 pounds to the EX30’s approximately 4,000-pound weight, while the smaller LFP package weighs 902 pounds. Volvo notes that two different suppliers make the NMC cells, so the difference between the two is split.

In terms of materials alone, 44% of the CO2 footprint of the NMC version of the EX30 is in the battery pack. But the LFP advantage is not just that; Volvo says LFP cells have about half the CO2 impact per kWh associated with production. And the EX30 with LFP cells is also about 2% more efficient in the use phase.

Volvo EX30 CO2 lifespan related to various phases

Volvo EX30 CO2 lifespan related to various phases

Although the battery pack is by far the largest carbon-intensive part of the car, Volvo points out that the vehicle’s overall weight and material balance are related to both the EX30’s environmental impact and ease of manufacture. About 55% of the weight comes from aluminum, steel and iron, which contribute 58% of the vehicle’s climate impact, not including the battery pack.

The production and refining of materials, production logistics and the production of the vehicles themselves all also contribute significantly. Currently, the EX30 is built in a single factory in Zhangjiakou, China.

2025 Volvo EX30

2025 Volvo EX30

All in all: 16% lower CO2 emissions for the EX30 LFP version

Applied to the entire vehicle, taking into account other manufacturing and material aspects plus use, end of use and more, the EX30 with the LFP package has a carbon footprint that is 16% lower than the model with the NMC battery.

To put it another way, based on the results from the can then reflect switching from an equivalent petrol model to an NMC EX30.

It reinforces why some automakers have been moving toward LFP battery technology. Yet Tesla has only stuck with the American rollout of the chemical with the Model 3, and Ford and Rivian, among others, are not rolling out the technology as quickly as originally advertised.

The study starts with a vehicle lifespan of 15 years and 120,000 miles, with half of the total mileage accumulated in the first five years. It looks at emissions from cradle to grave and takes into account the replacement of portable items such as tires and windshield wipers, but not potential damage from road accidents. The electricity consumption itself is based on the WLTP driving cycle, which entails losses; since that cycle is often very optimistic about efficiency versus real world results, it may actually require a little more energy.

2025 Volvo EX30

2025 Volvo EX30

Various forecasts are also used, not only about what the global energy mix will look like by then, but also what the built-in opportunities to make the most of recycled vehicles might be by then.

The EX30 may also offer the lowest carbon footprint of any Volvo ever, but it’s not possible to compare these figures with the brand’s previous models, which had a reputation for longevity. Let’s hope the EX30 lasts just as long.

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