Volvo unveils first ‘electric’ Polestar
Volvo’s stand-alone electric performance brand Polestar has spawned its first model, the Polestar 1, which will arrive on the market in 2019. Indeed, this sleek 600 hp and 1,000 Nm GT coupé bears a strong resemblance with the awe-inspiring concept car Volvo presented in Frankfurt in 2013, itself a reincarnation of the legendary P1800 – at least aesthetically. Production is allegedly limited to 500 units per year.
Contrary to what Volvo had us believe when it announced that Polestar would become a separate and ‘electric-only’ brand, the Polestar 1 won’t be fully electric, but a plug-in hybrid. The Swedish carmaker claims an electric range of 150 km, which means the battery will be much larger than the one used in the T8 versions of the current Volvo series (XC60, S90, V90, XC90). The high-performance coupé has the same platform, nonetheless.
Ordered online, subscription instead of sale
Polestar will also move away from the traditional ownership model. If you want a Polestar, you have to order it online, either via an app or a dedicated website. Those who want to see the car in the flesh and physically interact with the brand can still go to dedicated ‘Polestar Spaces’, which will not be part of the existing Volvo dealer network.
After you have ordered your Polestar, you don’t become an owner, but kind of a lessee: Volvo offers its Polestar products on a two or three year subscription basis. This requires no deposit and can include services like pick-up and delivery, or the rental of another vehicle for a limited time. Moreover, Polestar ‘subscribers’ can share their car with family and friends via Phone-as-Key-technology. This also allows access to a series of on-demand features.
Model 3 killer in the pipeline
Volvo and its owner Geely are currently building a dedicated factory for Polestar in Chengdu, China. This Polestar Production Centre will be ready by mid-2018. That alone indicates that the carmaker expects to sell the lion’s share of its Polestar output in the People’s Republic, where government quotas force OEMs to go all out on electric.
The Polestar 2 will also be out in 2019 and indeed become the first fully electric vehicle built by Volvo. The press release explicitly states that this first EV will compete with the Tesla Model 3. Finally, the Polestar 3, the shape and size of which are not known yet today, will complete the performance brand’s line-up probably a year later.
Picture copyright: Polestar, 2017