Making vehicle emissions easier to compare

NSW State Government

Making vehicle emissions easier to compare

NSW State Government

With sustainability at the forefront of how we operate and think as a studio, we jumped at the chance to collaborate with the NSW Government’s Net Zero Transport team on defining and designing their new Vehicle Emissions Star Rating (VESR) website.

Raising emission awareness and helping find cleaner alternatives


The Net Zero Transport team has developed a star rating scheme to compare the environmental performance of light passenger and commercial vehicles sold in Australia. In this scheme, vehicles are rated between 1-6 stars based on their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The aim of this program is to help the general public, customers, industry partners, and NSW Government agencies sustainably transition to electric vehicles and net zero emissions transport.

The site creates an opportunity for car owners to reduce carbon emissions from their transport through vehicle choice and for EV owners to consider their charging solution’s impact on emissions once they own their vehicle.

Accessible, intuitive, and in line with digital frameworks


In close partnership, Pollen conducted discovery, definition, detailed design, and validation of the Vehicle Emissions Star Rating (VESR) website, meeting WCAG 2.1 Level AA accessibility standards, being responsive, and featuring a star-rating vehicle comparison tool.


Collaborating with digital strategy, innovation, content, and marketing teams, our objective was two-fold – to design an intuitive vehicle star-rating comparison experience and raise emission awareness.

Conducting secondary research, running discovery workshops, and understanding the business context, we rapidly understood the business needs and expectations of prospective users of the site, enabling us to understand positioning, the end-to-end journey, and scenarios to be designed.

A needs-oriented approach ensured content surfaced when and where people expect

With a needs-based approach, concept and experience exploration began early and collaboratively. As fidelity increased, we ensured standard web conventions were leveraged and familiar comparison patterns integrated while adhering to the NSW Digital framework and VESR guidelines.


While secondary research provided some insight, we wanted to get the designs in front of the prospectives to validate or invalidate assumptions and design decisions made. This also provided the Net Zero team first-hand accounts of people using their product. We used a mixed-methods approach: qualitative testing in a moderated environment and quantitative unmoderated testing using a clickable prototype in Figma.

The validation helped iron out gaps in thinking and provided fresh perspectives, primarily around messaging and browsing behaviour.

Landing on the VESR site, people can quickly understand the star rating meaning, search vehicles, and learn more about reducing their environmental footprint - whether they’re looking for a car or not.


Vehicle comparisons enable at-a-glance star ratings, consumption details, and average petrol, electric, and hybrid vehicle costs. A minimal, clean design approach showcases key data points and relevant information when and where needed across the browsing journey.

I'm really hoping it comes out. I wish that every car website will link to this site.

— User validation participant

With an intuitive design, varying browsing options, and contextual content, we’ve designed a place to explore vehicle CO2 emissions, compare vehicle types, and learn more about emissions, environmental impact, and how you can make a difference.

View the site