Pole Position: Polestar Offers Software Upgrade With 68 Horsepower

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
pole position polestar offers software upgrade with 68 horsepower

We’ve all seen the jokes about stickers or go-faster stripes adding 5 horsepower to your car. Hey, it looks faster, right? These days, it’s possible to make some cars much speedier than when you brought it home – without ever cracking the hood release. Software upgrades, it seems, are the new underdrive pulleys and shorter gears of this new era of electric vehicles.

Polestar, in case you’ve forgotten, is the Swedish performance EV brand with don’t-say-it ties to Volvo. Today, it announced a newly-available software upgrade for its Long-Range Dual-Motor Polestar 2, one which boosts the vehicle’s power output to 476 all-electric ponies and 502 lb-ft of torque. Those are improvements of 68 and 15, respectively, over a stock vehicle. Acceleration from 0-60 mph should drop to a hair over 4 seconds, says Polestar, with the additional thrust primarily felt at speeds between 45 and 80 mph. 

In other words, hauling out to pass that slow coach on the interstate will be noticeably more rapid. Apart from increasing the car's power and torque, the performance software upgrade also changes the pedal mapping. Left unsaid is the effect frequent sampling of these new ponies will have on range, if at all. In fact, Polestar asserts the newfound power does not affect Polestar 2's energy consumption, suggesting the total driving range on a full battery will not change after the download. Also part of the software upgrade is a launch control feature which should slingshot your Polestar 2 towards the horizon controllably but dramatically.

This upgrade is the first time Polestar has leveraged software tuning to an electric car. Since the upgrade is purely based in lines of software code via an over-the-air (OTA) download, this boost in performance can be downloaded directly to the vehicle without a trip to a Polestar service center – which, it must be said, Polestar refers to as ‘service points’. The upgrade is permanent and comes with a one-time price tag of $1,195. This is light years better than a subscription service in which one needs to re-up every year to keep their Super Cruise or heated seats or any of the increasing number of features that are being turned into monthly recurring revenue streams for OEMs.

On the surface, this seems like a good deal. Your author has, in the past, spent far more than twelve hundred bucks chasing a few measly horsepower. A guarantee of 68 fresh horses, without the need to get yer hands dirty, at a reasonable price and including launch control? Sounds like a win to us - and beats a 5+hp sticker hands down.

[Image: Polestar]

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5 of 16 comments
  • Jwee Jwee on Dec 07, 2022

    I think it is short sighted and detrimental to the brand. The company should be generous to its locked-in user base, treating them as a resource, not a revenue stream.

    This is what builds any good relationship, generosity to the other partner. Apple does with their products. My iPhone is 5 years old, but I keep getting the latest and greatest updates for free, which makes me feel valued as a customer and adds actual value. When it is time for a new phone, Apple past treatment towards me certainly plays into my decisions (as did BMW's - so long subscription extracting pigs, its been a great 20 years).

    Imagine how much good will and love (and good press) Polestar would get from their user base if they gave them all a "68 fresh horses" update overnight, for free. Brand loyalty would soar (provided their car is capable).

    • See 1 previous
    • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Dec 07, 2022

      Apple does this too. For instance, there's no technical reason why the iPhone 13 can't use the Photonic Engine computational-photography feature of the iPhone 14. The SOC is the same and the physical camera is nearly the same. But the iPhone 14 needed a little something extra to make it worth the additional $100, and Apple decided to make the Photonic Engine that something extra.

  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Dec 07, 2022

    As much as the Orwellian nature concerns me I must say to "add a turbo" as it were to net roughly 20% more bhp for $1,195 doesn't sound too bad. In days of old the V6 -> V8 upgrade was upwards of 20-30% of the base model cost.

    • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Dec 07, 2022

      Those 'chip' upgrades required specialized software and often some hardware changes to engines. This is a software change.... the hardware was already there.

      It's better that it's a 1 time purchase, but should have been rolled out as a $199 thing to endear Polestar to its customers. And maybe even get some to visit a dealer to check out the upcoming models.

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  • ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
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