Polestar to Utilize Former Saab Plant as European R&D Facility

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Polestar is reportedly taking over Saab's defunct plant in Sweden to expand upon its European research and development operations. The 15,000-square-meter building, located in Trollhattan, is said to be focusing on the brand’s powertrain development.

Automobilwoche, and Western-counterpart Automotive News, reported that the site will first attempt to tackle the all-electric motors going into the Polestar 5 (a rival for the Tesla Model S) and the Polestar 6 roadster. The company will reportedly be renting the facility from the city of Trollhattan.

The site was last used by National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) after Saab folded in 2011. Its plan was to manufacture electric vehicles based on Saab’s 9-3 platform by 2017 and had acquired the necessary assets to accomplish this. Unfortunately, NEVS likewise collapsed after Chinese parent company Evergrande was revealed to be in copious amounts of debt.

From Automotive News:

Polestar also has R&D facilities in Gothenburg, Sweden, which is about 90 km south of Trollhattan, and in Coventry, England. In England the automaker is developing its own lightweight bonded-aluminum platform that will underpin Polestar 5 and Polestar 6.
The Polestar 5, which will also compete against the Porsche Taycan, is scheduled to go into production in 2024 at a plant in Chongqing, China. The Polestar 6 hardtop convertible will also be built at the plant, likely starting in 2025. The plant is owned by Geely and operated by Polestar. Polestar's new platform has not been named yet.
The cars will share an 800-volt electric architecture that in addition to providing nearly 900 hp of power will offer 900 newton meters of torque, 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) acceleration in 3.2 seconds, a top speed of 250 kph (155 mph) and an estimated range of more than 480 km (300 miles), the automaker said.

Despite technically being a Swedish automotive brand tied to Volvo Cars, both companies are presently subsidiaries of China’s Geely and Polestar production takes place in Asia. When asked about the possibility of the Trollhattan site being used to manufacture automobiles, the company stated that it would continue relying on preexisting factories.

While the brand sells in limited quantities, targeting just 80,000 units annually, it’ll still need to find space at the other plants — many of which already build higher-volume products intended for other marquees and have additional Polestar products on the docket.

The mid-sized Polestar 2 is currently manufactured in Luqiao, China, and shares the Compact Modular Architecture (CMA) platform used by a slew of vehicles wearing Lynk & Co, Geely, and Volvo emblems.

While the Polestar 3 and 4 haven’t yet gone on sale, they’ll also be sharing space. The 3 is a large SUV that utilizes the updated Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform responsible for some of Volvo’s larger products built in Chengdu, China, and Charleston, South Carolina.

Meanwhile, the Polestar 4 is supposed to be a “coupe-like” SUV underpinned by the Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA) platform designated for a slew of EVs from Volvo, Geely, Smart Automobile, Zeekr, and even Lotus. The Polestar 5 is also assumed to use the SEA platform, resulting in early rumors that it will likewise be assembled in Hangzhou Bay, China. But that no longer appears to be the case.

In the interim, the Trollhattan facility will be responsible for powertrain development and battery testing and Polestar's attempts to become profitable. While it has reduced its production capacity after failing to reach last year’s target volume, the company still thinks it can achieve 290,000 global sales by 2025 and become a money-maker by 2024.

[Image: Robert Way/Shutterstock]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Apr 21, 2023

    Confusing family DNA.

    While I really like the look of the Polestar cars inside and out, producing a 'Tesla killer' would be a David-Goliath task for this company. The Model S is ancient but still competitive.

    80k units is way short of profitable (I think Tesla became profitable at ~300-500k annual units). Polestar is not known for its EV efficiency, so their range is not competitive. Their options are 4-figure expensive, too, and the base price is high.

    Tesla said at the outset that the Model S/X were not the goal, and not the path to profits - that depended on the Model 3/Y for volume.

    Polestar is going to be stuck in the premium EV category trying to make money on low volumes - so far, that's not a recipe for survival.

  • Slavuta Slavuta on Apr 21, 2023

    Trollhättan is a great place for cars. They get burned there regularly

    • See 5 previous
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      Art, I can't believe how sore you are from Taliban. Do Finland soldiers get a ticket for a ride on the C130 chassis when s--t hits the fan? Do you see that American military auto industry does not have a good time?

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