The new all-electric Polestar 2 is a very Volvo challenger to Tesla’s Model 3
In the runup to the Geneva auto show, Volvo/Geely sub-brand Polestar introduced its first volume model, the Polestar 2. It is also the brand’s first pure battery electric car, following the hybrid-powered luxury Polestar 1 coupe.
A “premium compact electric,” the Polestar 2 is intended as a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3. It will eventually be priced from about $45,500, but for the first 12 months you’ll just be able to buy the loaded $68,000 launch edition. Those prices do not reflect any possible tax credits for buying an EV. The Model 3 is currently priced from $44,000 to $62,000.
“As an electric performance brand, and through the forthcoming launch of a portfolio of fully electric cars, Polestar is determined to address the world’s air quality challenges. Polestar delivers electric performance cars that are great to own and drive,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar.
The five-door fastback is driven by two electric motors with a total of 408 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque, all powered by a 78 kWh battery with a range of 275 miles. The Polestar 2 is built off of Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture platform, which also underpins the compact XC40 crossover. The battery pack is apparently a structural part of the car, integrated into the vehicle’s floor, and improves chassis rigidity, and reduces NVH. For recharging away from home, Polestar is establishing strategic partnerships with other players in the EV world to access existing public charging stations using a cellphone app or a utility built into the car.
Electric-driven performance is supposed to be Polestar’s raison d’etre and the Polestar 2 lives up to that credo with a 0-60 mph time of less than 5 seconds. There is an optional Performance Pack for better road dynamics, including Ohlins shock absorbers, Brembo brakes, and bespoke 20-inch forged alloy wheels. The brand’s signature gold brake calipers and valve caps accent the exterior styling, while gold seat belts do the same for the interior. The brand’s frameless side mirrors are also, thus far, a trademark styling element.
The Polestar 2 is supposed to be a tech showpiece. Towards that end it is one of the first vehicles to be offered with an Android based infotainment system using an 11-inch touchscreen. The Android software is upgradable and features embedded Google apps including Google Assistant, Google Play Store 5, and a version of Google Maps that has been optimized for electric vehicles.
The new electric compact also comes with Phone-as-Key technology that senses the driver as they approach the car, and allows for car sharing and concierge pick-up and delivery when service or repairs are needed. Artificial intelligence is used to monitor the driver’s preferences to present the driver with a “prepared cabin”. I assume that means it is heated and cooled to your choices and the seat and steering wheel are positioned for you. A few years ago, Jaguar made startup theater de rigueur with their rising gear shift and rotating vents, and the concept has spread across luxury brands. Further, Polestar uses Pixel LED headlights and proximity lighting to create a “welcome sequence”.
Polestar’s head of design, Maximilian Missoni, used words like “avant-garde,” “edgier,” and “bolder,” to describe the styling. The “vegan interior” uses “progressive textiles” chosen to appeal to a “forward-thinking audience.” A panoramic glass roof is standard, the better for reflecting an illuminated Polestar logo.
Per the Polestar dealer-less sales model, the Polestar 2 will only be able to be purchased online. Apparently similar to Tesla’s factory store format, a network of “Polestar Spaces” will be established so consumers can see, feel, and test drive the new EV.
Production will begin in China in the first quarter of 2020, with both right- and left-hand-drive models made for all global markets. The Polestar 2 will initially go on sale in China, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK, with other markets in consideration.