Polestar will soon start producing the 1, a low volume PHEV super-coupe that will be joined in 2020 by a BEV crossover and then an SUV. Can this company, co-owned by Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding, gather as strong a following as Tesla and make money?
The Polestar Production Centre is now in the final stages of completion. Due to be inaugurated later in 2019, this bespoke factory in Chengdu will at first build only the carbon-body 1 super-coupé. The prototype shown in 2017 looked a lot like Volvo’s Concept Coupé from 2013.
The first cars will be delivered to buyers in the USA, China, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands. Polestar hopes to find buyers for 500 vehicles a year with total production potentially being around the 1,500 mark.
The 1’s supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine produces 382hp. All of this power goes through the front wheels as there is no mechanical link to the rear axle. Each back wheel has a 109hp motor, so the total is 600hp. Torque is 1,000Nm. At low revs, only the supercharger provides boost, then in the mid-range, the turbocharger joins in and at high revs the supercharger is disconnected. The only transmission is an eight-speed automatic gearbox. There are three 33 kWh battery stacks: One in the middle of the car and two at the rear.
As the 1 was effectively be a six-year old car by the time it went on sale (the original Volvo concept dates to 2013), Polestar will probably only build this model for two to three years.
Pricing for China, Europe and the USA was announced at the Beijing motor show in April. It was as follows: RMB1.45m, EUR155,000 and USD155,000. No prices were announced for Sweden or Norway.
The 2, revealed in February just ahead of its world debut at the Geneva motor show, looks much the same as the Volvo 40.2. That was a design study which was shown to journalists at a special event back in May 2016.
Power is quoted as 300kW (408PS), torque is 660Nm (487 lb-ft), there are two motors, a 78kWh battery pack (72kWh in China) with a ‘targeted range of 500km’ under WLTP (Europe) and NEDC (China) test cycles. The targeted range for the USA is 275 miles (EPA).
Polestar says the car has ‘a standard vegan interior’ which is a clever move: going after those customers who find it difficult to know if a car contains components which caused suffering to animals and who therefore normally reject many brands. Also, unlike the 1, the 2 will also be available with right-hand drive.
Production of the 2 does not begin until early 2020 and the car will only be made in China. Europe is expected to be the second largest market, followed by the USA. The manufacturing location was announced in April: the Luqiao plant which is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding and operated by Volvo Cars.
“Initial launch markets include China, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK. Other markets are under consideration for future expansion”, Polestar stated as part of its February media briefing. Only a high-priced Launch Edition will be available during the first twelve months of production with the division’s CEO Thomas Ingenlath stating at the Geneva show that he sees 50,000 sales per annum.
The third model for Polestar will be an SUV called 3. Due for market launch during the second half of 2020, it will be aimed directly at the Audi e-tron, Tesla Model Y, Jaguar I-Pace, BMW iX3, Mercedes EQC and others in that class of electric crossovers and SUVs.
Once Volvo has launched the second generation XC90 in 2021, its SPA 2 architecture could be used for another Polestar crossover. The 4 might be of a similar size and so, it would compete with the replacement for the Tesla Model X from 2021 or 2022.
Reports for many other manufacturers’ future models are grouped in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.
Future product program intelligence
More detail on past, current and forthcoming models can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE.
The next OEM to be featured in the future vehicles series will be Daimler. That will include the following brands: Denza, smart and Mercedes-Maybach; Mercedes-Benz cars; Mercedes-Benz SUVs; Mercedes-AMG; and Mercedes-Benz EQ.