Thomas Ingenlath, the CEO of Polestar EV, a pure-play electric vehicle company in Sweden, proudly identifies himself as German after 13 years in Sweden. He still subscribes to German newspapers and watches German news programs every evening.

However, the Polestar CEO lambastes his home country’s reluctance to fully embrace the reality of the electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

In a recent speech at the IAA Mobility conference in Munich, Ingenlath mentioned an interview with Hans-Werner Sinn. Sinn is a former president of Germany’s Ifo Institute for Economic Research and a current member of the German economy ministry advisory council.

Ingenlath strongly disagrees with Sinn’s claims that EVs accelerate climate change, harm the German auto industry, and increase oil consumption in other countries.

During his speech, Ingenlath received a warm reception from the Munich crowd as he called Sinn’s views “BS.” He emphasized that the passenger vehicle industry is projected to exceed its CO2 budget set by the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C limit by 2035. It will overshoot limits by at least 75% by 2050.

Ingenlath believes that unlike other sectors, the passenger vehicle industry has a solution to climate change in the form of battery electric cars. While acknowledging that EVs are not perfect and alone cannot address all environmental challenges, he sees them as integral to transitioning into a modern, high-tech economy.


According to Ingenlath, taking no action will result in a much higher cost, as it allows others to take the lead while Germany falls further behind. The challenges faced by Germany today are not because the transition to a digital green economy is moving too quickly, but rather because it is moving too slowly.

As reported by EV in Focus, the Polestar CEO asked the audience, “Instead of doubling down on our reputation for being slow-moving, polluting and opaque, what if our industry turns its extraordinary engineering skills and capital towards a truly sustainable innovation?”

Ingenlath also criticized those who stubbornly cling to fossil fuels, accusing them of spreading disinformation to maintain the status quo.

According to the Polestar chief, the fossil fuel lobby is trying to discredit EVs by saying that carbon capture is the solution, lithium-ion batteries have insurmountable flaws, and hydrogen should be embraced instead.

Ingenlath went on to say that the actions of business leaders today are more important than ever. Business leaders  must resist the temptation to stick with outdated practices that fail to address decarbonization. Within the next decade, leaders must reinvent all of their technology to operate an industry and society with zero CO2 emissions.

Ingenlath concluded by saying that these changes should be perceived as an opportunity for the automotive industry, rather than a threat. For Germany, it represents a chance to apply its world-leading engineering knowledge and make this decade a golden age. “I believe that this is the only option,” Ingenlath said.

Image Source: Süddeutsche Zeitung,