Friday 18 January 2019

The shape of things to come as Polestar has Tesla in its sights

Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

Polestar yesterday unveiled its first standalone production model and promised there's much more to come.

The Polestar 1 hybrid GT coupé pinpoints its plan to become the new electric performance brand (Tesla, among others will have something to say about that).

Polestar is now the standalone performance brand within the Volvo group.

And yesterday it confirmed not just its new status but also details of its first three models, which will be built in China, and a new way for customers to buy - purely through an all-inclusive monthly subscription.

First off is the Polestar 1, an electric performance hybrid that begins production mid-2019.

With a claimed range of 150km on pure electric power, it will also have a 4cyl Volvo petrol engine and pump a combined 600bhp.

In so doing the company says it will act as a technology spearhead for the Volvo group (but will obviously rely on elements from the mothership too).

They will only build 500 models a year of the 2dr four-seater which, although based on Volvo's SPA platform, brings 50pc bespoke change to the set up. It's 4.5m long (the S90 is 5.15m) with 320mm cut from the wheelbase and 200mm in the rear.

There is a new double electric motor system driving both rear wheels.

A new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) with advanced chassis technology should make it a sharp handler, something they are emphasising as a USP v Tesla. Most body parts are lightweight carbon fibre.

It will be followed by a fully electric mid-size Polestar 2, which starts life late 2019 and will rival the Tesla Model 3.

Then Polestar 3 will be an larger, electric SUV slotting between the other two on price.

It will be interesting to see how the subscription system works out. It's all-inclusive and there's no deposit, just flat monthly payments that even cover pick-up and delivery servicing.

When the subscription term is finished, Polestar take back the car for it to be refurbished and sold second-hand.

The company says Polestar facilities "will not be located within an existing Volvo retailer showroom".

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