The first Polestar vehicle arrived in 2017 and more are on the way! Read about their unique vision, vehicles, and plans for expansion.
We may as well jump right into the question in the title of this piece: ‘What is Polestar?’ Polestar is a Swedish automotive brand that was established in 1996. They worked with Volvo on tuning racecars for years. Through a couple of sales, Polestar eventually ended up under the ownership of Geely Holding Group & Volvo Cars. Polestar is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden while their vehicle production takes place in Chengdu, China.
The answer to ‘What is Polestar?’ is a little more involved than that though. The company has particular products, a definite vision, and a long-term plan. Polestar specifically makes electric performance cars and they’re jumping right into that market, planning for success.
There are currently two Polestar vehicles available. The Polestar 1, made available in 2019, is a two-door, electric performance hybrid. That hybrid powertrain uses a twin charged 2.0L in-line 4-cylinder gasoline motor from the Volvo XC90 T8 to power the front wheels. Two additional electric motors power the rear wheels. The Polestar 1 makes 619 horsepower and 737 lb-ft of torque. Only 1500 of these coupes were produced worldwide so the MSRP is $155,000.
The Polestar 2, at a much more affordable $51,200 MSRP, is a fully electric EV. The 4-door hatchback includes a power liftgate. It combines the features of a crossover and the look of a sedan. With power up to 300 kw, it will make 408 horsepower and last a range of up to 265 miles. The Polestar 2 is available in AWD or FWD. Polestar offers packages that include a heated steering wheel, heated wiper blades, and heated rear seats. The panoramic roof is made of tinted, laminated glass and it reduces UV radiation. Frameless mirrors minimize drag, parking assist is useable for the front or rear, and the headlights are designed to produce more lighting.
Then there’s the Polestar Precept, a concept car that was going to be shown at the 2020 Geneva Motor Show. Plans in 2020 were unexpectedly delayed though. This car has rear-hinged doors, so when the front and rear doors are opened wide, there’s plenty of space for anyone to get into the vehicle. The digital screens inside the car aren’t full bright, bold colors and that’s intentional. Polestar says those screens are distracting to drivers, so their screens are different, in both color and spacing. They illuminate when a hand is coming towards it and then dim to a less distracting level. Designers also used a 3D knit material to cover the seats of the Precept. It was made from a single strand of yarn.
“We constantly question industry ideas and thinking,” Polestar says. They say not having a long legacy is in their favor when it comes to new ideas and designing cars. Since they are a newer company, they don’t have ties to the past and are free to think creatively, without focusing on what’s worked in the past. They can question the status quo.
Polestar likes the idea of a fully electric, climate-neutral future, so they are keeping that in mind when it comes to vehicle design and production. They say the western Chinese plant in the Chengdu Plain is the most ecologically sound manufacturing hub in China, winning awards for how environmentally responsible it is. A lot of the messaging on their website and social media channels is centered around their carbon footprint and sustainability. One way Polestar has been transparent is with labeling, letting customers know what CO2 and recycled or renewable materials are in their vehicles.
Not only do they have a vision for their vehicles, but Polestar also has a unique vision for their showrooms. Hoping to take the pressure off of the buyer, they design their dealerships and showrooms more akin to an art gallery than an automotive sales space. There aren’t actually any salespeople even in the Polestar showrooms. Instead, there are interactive screens that allow a shopper to configure their vehicle. There are product experts available to assist with questions and information, but they don’t make the sales.
The release of Polestar 1 certainly made a splash with car enthusiasts. The hybrid supercar impressed with its driving capabilities and energy usage. The Polestar 2 is a much more affordable product. It’s quickly becoming the brand’s main attraction. In the span of a handful of years, Polestar is now being mentioned in the same sentence as Tesla. That’s not bad for a vehicle that wasn’t its own brand until a few years ago!
So far, Polestar is selling vehicles in Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K., and the U.S. With limited availability in some of those markets, they’ve got to increase sales and their reach to truly compete with a company like Tesla. Polestar already has a game plan for that.
Polestar intends to go public after the consummation of a partnership with Gores Guggenheim, Inc. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2022. Getting listed on Nasdaq is a big part of their plan to accelerate their growth. They hope to jump into Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, and South Korea by the end of 2021, too. Several of those showroom locations are currently being built.
Three new Polestar vehicles – the Polestar 3, Polestar 4, and Polestar 5 – are expected to be introduced by 2025. They intend to create the first all-electric SUV in the U.S. Whether the financing, materials, and demand all line up to fulfill these production plans remains to be seen. Polestar has a plan though. They’re determined. They also have a lot of car shoppers already eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the early part of this company’s story.