By on February 28, 2019

Polestar, Volvo’s former performance division (which parent company Geely insisted be spun off as its own electric car brand), announced its second automobile on Wednesday. Whereas the Polestar 1 was a 600-horsepower hybrid coupe, Polestar 2 adds a set of rear doors and does away with internal combustion altogether.

For all the “Tesla fighters” out there, this one comes the closest to giving the Model 3 a run for its money. With a targeted range of 275 miles, accomplished via a 78-kilowatt-hour battery pack structurally integrated into the vehicle’s floor, Polestar 2’s in the sweet spot for range. But it also happens to be the correct shape (five-door fastback) and price to ensure its gets stuck in Elon Musk’s tastefully shorn hair. 

The launch version of Polestar 2 will cost $68,000 (59,900 euros) and should be followed by a subscription service and more-affordable variants next year — with the lowest coming in around $45,000. That’s roughly where the Model 3 lives, making it glaringly evident that the brand was taking notes on Tesla’s “entry-level” EV during the 2’s development.

While the Polestar hasn’t proven itself to be the better car, the company claims 408 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque from a dual-motor setup. That’s on par with the Model 3 Performance, but questions remain in regards to acceleration. Polestar says the 2 should boast a 0-to-62 mph blast of “less than 5 seconds,” but we know the top-tier Tesla is capable of the same in about 3.5 seconds. Its mid-range, AWD variant makes the dash in around 4.5 seconds.

Perhaps Polestar is just being modest.

However, even if it doesn’t turn out to be quite so fast as its main rival, there are other reasons shoppers might take an interest. Back in 2017, Google announced it was working on a native version of Android for use in automobiles, signing Volvo as one of its earliest adopters. The Polestar 2 will be one of the first vehicles to implement it, and the company is positively beaming over the opportunity to have one-upped the competition on technology.

From Polestar:

The Android backbone provides a solid and adaptable digital environment for apps and vehicle functions to coexist, and brings embedded Google services to a car for the first time — including the Google Assistant, Google Maps with support for electric vehicles and the Google Play Store. Natural voice control and a new 11-inch touch screen display bring the new interface to life.

Interestingly, the brand underplayed its best feature — as this version of Android can be updated remotely by Google or Polestar to keep it fresh. One of the biggest gripes with modern vehicles is how quickly their infotainment systems become dated. Now Google can keep updating features while automakers worry about slick designs and tailoring the interface to match their brand.

However, if you don’t care about that or find the whole idea of automotive connectivity unsettling, Polestar plans to offer enviable hardware through its Performance Pack. The bundle adds Öhlins dampers, Brembo brakes, and unique 20-inch forged wheels — as well as Polestar’s signature gold seat belts, brake calipers, and valve caps. Make no mistake, though — the company intends this to be a mass-market vehicle.

Whether or not that’s feasible is up for debate. Since the car is to be manufactured in China, home to Geely’s headquarters, there could be trouble getting it to the United States. But Polestar says it wants to see the 2 sold in China, the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Belgium as it considers other markets.

Pre-orders are open at the manufacturer’s website now, and production of the Polestar 2 is scheduled to commence in early 2020.

[Images: Polestar]

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27 Comments on “Polestar 2 Debut: China’s Response to the Tesla Model 3...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Interesting proposition, but needlessly strange proportions. I’m getting strong Subaru SUS vibes. The all touch everything is a downer too; I doubt seat heating controls are accessible through the steering wheel (modern infotainment’s only saving grace)

    • 0 avatar
      scott25

      “It’s not a high-standing SUV,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar’s CEO. “It is lower to the ground, but it has elements of that because, I think, it is really pushing for a modern interpretation of what used to be the sedan category.”

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      Real car makers clearly are still in the opinion that EVs are not economically viable. That’s the only reason why not make a mid-size and big SUV/crossover. Those sell, and there is a reason they’re not making electric cars that sell in serious numbers. They make coupés, sedans, ‘small city cars’, ‘supercars’… everything except what really sells.

  • avatar
    aajax

    I’m afraid the US turn to high tariffs is going to deny us this beauty unless they build a factory in North America.

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      So you’re saying no U.S. or western car maker can make a ‘beautiful’ car?

      I don’t understand what’s so beautiful about that Qashqai fastback. It’s just another econobox. There are lots of ‘pretty’ cheap, basic cars and even more coming to the US (Peugeots are crap but pretty).

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    So now Google’s services can spy on you in your car.

    “I’m sorry, I can’t take you to your destination, as it appears you haven’t sufficiently denounced Donald Trump.”

    • 0 avatar

      LOL. If it gets like the internet…
      -Ding “you are near Lotus Massage Parlor…they are having a special today”
      or
      -Ding “Maternity clothes are here for spring at Mom’s Closet”

      -Ding ” your car is over 100k miles. Local deals Chevy is offering…..”

      The privacy invasions are left to the imagination, unless they make a Ghostery or AdBlock for the car….

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It’s a beautiful car.

    “For all the “Tesla fighters” out there, this one comes the closest to giving the Model 3 a run for its money.”

    That would be amazing, given the fact that the Model 3 alone outsold *all* of Volvo by 50% last year in the US.

    Its range is disappointing, given how much battery it has. It’s hard to beat the Model 3’s efficiency.

    • 0 avatar
      Robotdawn

      Yeah, I like the look of the outside. Never understood why sedans kept getting lower and lower anyway. And it’s higher without the ungainly Crosstour look too.
      Inside is terrible though. Don’t understand the current minimalist movement in controls, and I’m a minimalist. A car traveling at 75 in traffic is no place to fiddle with submenus.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        What sedans have kept getting lower?

        And why would cars get lower? There’s this thing called physics. Higher cars are dynamically worse than lower cars. You know dynamics, driving…that thing that cars were originally meant to do before the advent of striving for overpopulated urbanity where I have no idea what is meant to do what, or if someone is even trying to make sense other than to make money off stupid people.

        (Well, there are developing countries of course: there you need to have ground clearance just because the roads are not maintained)

        • 0 avatar
          forward_look

          Put the battery in the floor and your physics is quite different. You can raise up the rest of the car so people can get in and out easy. Some people don’t like to lie down to drive. Some people can’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Lockstops

      Yeah, and Volvo outsold *all* of American car manufacturers in Sweden. Actually Saab used to do that earlier as well.

      “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        That’s great, but I’ll suggest that since the US car market is 50x larger than Sweden’s, the US market matters more to Volvo’s EV aspirations than does Sweden, especially if you’re going to take on the Model 3.

        Think Buick in China vs the US.

        • 0 avatar
          Lockstops

          What matters is your false use of statistics.

          It’s been said before so you should know full well that Model 3 has massive hype, pent-up demand due to previous inability to produce them, massive government incentives, and it’s a domestic brand.

          If Volvo was to stop selling their cars in Sweden for 2 years while hyping it up then suddenly start selling them, with $10K in tax incentives that others don’t get, plus massive amounts of lies about promised autonomous driving etc…well then they’d probably sell thousands of percent more than all U.S. companies do put together, not to mention Tesla.

          • 0 avatar
            SCE to AUX

            You mock my use of actual numbers, yet you offer this gem:

            “…well then they’d probably sell thousands of percent more than all U.S. companies do put together”

            We can play this game all day.

            My original point was that – contrary to the author’s contention (and hope) – the Volvo Polestar 2 doesn’t have a chance at rivaling the Model 3, but you think it could take over the entire US market if Volvo delays shipments and lies about its performance. That’s a winning strategy.

          • 0 avatar
            Lockstops

            Well, SCE to Aux, what says it all is that even if Volvos would have been better in every way than Tesla, noticeably, they still wouldn’t compare to Model 3 sales in the USA. Because of the aforementioned reasons.

            Now I’ve heard it all: being a local/domestic brand vs. foreign brand is inconsequential…

          • 0 avatar
            vehic1

            Lockstops: Of course, the US domestic companies received $Billions in govt. bailouts, which benefited even Ford, since its suppliers would have been out of business otherwise – and the oil companies get oil depletion allowances, worth $Billions – thus lowering fuel prices and assisting ICE autos.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      “That would be amazing, given the fact that the Model 3 alone outsold *all* of Volvo by 50% last year in the US.”

      And? Ford moved twice as many Fusions last month as Tesla did model 3’s. Lies and Statistics lol.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Wow! So bright and cheerful inside! Is this the DarkStar edition, or what?!
    Seriously though, some level of interior style to match the exterior. Please.

  • avatar
    arthurk45

    Neither long or midrange Model 3 can get to 60 in under 5 seconds – the Polestar will be faster.
    The Model 3 has not yet encountered a direct competitor but its sales have seemingly collapsed, at least in the U.S. and aren’t looking very good in China or Europe. The base Model 3 will not be competitive with the Polestar in any fashion and the long and midrange Model 3 cars will have a $7500 price disadvantage with the Polestar in the U.S. which will obviously allow the Polestar to completely outsell the Model 3 higher end versions and likely the base version as well.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @arthurk45: Incorrect. The long range does 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds. The mid-range is 5.5. Deliveries for Europe and China have just started and there are no official numbers yet – or for the US for that matter.

      One thing I’d worry about is what a Model Y unveiling will do to Model 3 sales. It’s not going to be good. They’ll probably open up Model 3 leasing at that point, so the blow will be softened a bit.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “…its sales have seemingly collapsed”

      “which will obviously allow the Polestar to completely outsell the Model 3 higher end versions and likely the base version as well”

      Where do you get such nonsense that you keep repeating it?

  • avatar
    Lockstops

    Thank you for the very good title. It describes the company correctly: it is an effort originating from China.

    Then add to the ominous use of Android, which many western car makers refuse to use at all due to Android misusing user data. You can’t trust that combo, and in any case giving them your little finger is not a good idea because of what they’ll do later if you build them up into a strong force in the marketplace.

    They are actually trying to use: “it’s always online and can always adapt” as a selling point! It should be the opposite!

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    “Interestingly, the brand underplayed its best feature — as this version of Android can be updated remotely by Google or Polestar to keep it fresh. One of the biggest gripes with modern vehicles is how quickly their infotainment systems become dated. Now Google can keep updating features while automakers worry about slick designs and tailoring the interface to match their brand.”

    I would imagine that the brand may actually be scared of their own technology. Because it’s not really theirs – it’s Google’s. (Even though it started out open source.)

    As on owner of a 4-year-old Android smartphone, I know firsthand that Google’s updates to Android quite often break old apps, disable features that you liked, leave devices near-crippled because of software-hardware incompatibility, or force app developers to update their code in such a way that the updated app is compatible with the updated Android, but incompatible with your device.

    In other words, maybe Polestar is worried that a multi-billion corporation will one day change something on a whim and leave all their customers with $68,000 paperweights.


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