We’re often told by OEMs how versatile certain of their vehicle platforms are. Geely’s Compact Modular Architecture must be one of the most adaptable yet.
Back when CMA was new for certain Volvo and other Geely group brands, drive was to the front and in higher-priced cars, back axle too. Three years ago, that was the case for the then-new Polestar 2, a model which has almost single-handedly driven sales. That’s not to forget the 1, but that electrified coupé was a high-priced/low-volume car.
Tall hatchback, crossover or SUV?
Now comes an update for the high-riding hatchback, extending to a modified front end, more power, new permanent magnet motors and silicon carbide inverters. Not forgetting that switch from FWD to RWD for single-motor versions.
Polestar has also retuned the suspension, charging becomes faster and the range has been extended to as many as 635 km/395 miles (WLTP). In RWD cars, power is 220 kW (up from the former FWD variants’ 170 kW) with 490 Nm of torque (had been 330 Nm).
As for all-wheel drive cars, these two-motor variants have also been re-engineered for a RWD-bias. Supplied by Valeo-Siemens, a back axle-mounted motor is now the primary drive source, supported by a new asynchronous one up front.
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Outputs for AWD cars are 310 kW and 740 Nm, up from 300 kW and 660 Nm. There are claims of improved efficiency too, with the front motor automatically disengaged during times when it isn’t needed.
Along with RWD and AWD, the 2 also comes in 350 kW and 740 Nm Performance Pack form. Interestingly, specifications can vary for certain countries.
The battery capacity and charging speed for the Long Range dual motor version remains 78 kWh and 155 kW DC for the United States, Canada, China and South Korea. The Long Range single motor version in Korea also retains a 78 kWh battery and 155 kW DC charging speed maximum.
Stickers show specifications
European-spec cars come with a 75/82 kWh battery and it’s the gross capacity which appears on each of the front doors, along with power in kilowatts. This is also the only place on the 2 where you’ll see the brand’s name, the logo instead featuring at the front and rear of cars. That’s a bit of a curious decision when hardly anyone recognises the symbol.
The 75 kWh (net) rear-drive test car I tried is surely rapid enough for most people, hitting 60 miles per hour in 5.9 seconds, top speed being 127 mph. It tips the scales unladen at 1,994 kilos and is 1,985 mm wide including the mirrors. And even in freezing weather, fully charged it showed 320+ miles with its real world figure about 220-260 depending on how I drove it/how cold it was. A good result.
Good sized boot(s)
There’s a big boot (405 litres) with a hidden 41-litre compartment below a lift-up floor. Cables are stored not there but in a second cargo bay under the bonnet, this having a 35-litre capacity. Fold the back seats and the capacity rises to an official 1,095 litres.
The cabin is more spacious than some buyers new to EVs might have thought. Knee room is abundant in the back, the floor is flat, doors shut with a solid thunk and there is a lot of glass. Polestar has also specified recycled plastics for many surfaces and there is theatre lighting and soft fabric on the dashboard. All in all, a calming environment.
Even though almost all functions are controlled by a portrait-format and iPad-sized screen, it operates fairly intuitively. Most functions seem to work on the first press too. A large dial operates the volume. You can also hit pause/mute that way rather than faff about with the less handy alternatives of certain rival models.
The biggest treat in this car comes from how it steers: something else which gives the 2 a large advantage over a few other EVs in its class such as the VWs ID.4 and ID.5 or even the Mustang Mach-E.
Your first drive in this Polestar is enough to make you try to think of another RWD Swedish car with steering this good. Quite the revelation in fact and a sizeable advance over the FWD original. So if this is where the brand intends to stay – making electric cars which can be this engaging – Polestar’s sales targets deserve to be realised.
Polestar – Swedish or Chinese?
Whilst being based in Sweden, there is no production there, the 2 being built in the Chinese city of Luqiao. The factory is owned by Zhejiang Geely Holding but operated by Volvo Cars. People also seem to like the association with Volvo, strongpoints being safety, high quality, reliability and eco-credentials.
After a relatively quiet period in terms of actual additional models, the brand is about to gain a second vehicle. Production of the 4, a 4.8 m long SUV-coupé with no rear window, is now underway at Geely’s Hangzhou Bay factory. The model is RWD or AWD and has a 94 (net) / 102 (gross) kWh battery.
The 4 uses the SEA platform and has Luminar and Mobileye’s SuperVision-based ADAS which Polestar calls ‘Chauffeur’ capability. With this SAE Level 3 automated system, the driver can take their eyes off the road for a limited time.
Chinese market deliveries commence this month but cars won’t reach Europe until the third quarter of 2024. Then in 2025, this model goes into production at a second factory, that being Renault Korea’s Busan plant. Vehicles made there will be for the domestic market and North America.
The brand’s numbers don’t refer to the size of the cars, so the 3 is in fact positioned above the 4. Production of this model is soon to begin, also in China, though at a different factory: Chengdu. This big crossover – it’s 4.9 m long – will also be made by Volvo Cars at its factory in South Carolina from the summer. All versions announced so far are to have a 111 kWh battery pack.
Possibly around the same time as Korean build of the 4 is getting underway (H2, 2025), Polestar will commence production of another model, that being the 5, a GT. One year later comes the 6, a prototype of this roadster having premiered at Monterey Week in August.
Initially it was stated that only 500 examples of the 6 would be built. However, since orders for each of these were quickly filled, more might be manufactured, says Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.
Finally, the 2 should go to a second generation in 2027 though with the current car being facelifted this year it could well be replaced as soon as 2026. And for now, the division isn’t saying whether or not there might one day be a new Polestar 1. Potentially, the brand’s original model might be a supercar/hypercar for its second iteration.