► Polestar 2: a new Tesla Model 3 rival
► 311-mile range, 402bhp and AWD
► Coming with £50k(ish) price tag
Well, here it is: Polestar’s second production car – the 2 saloon. The 2 is Polestar’s Tesla Model 3 rival and a rather interesting one. It's a significant launch, expanding the fledgling Polestar brand into higher-volume territory, as it bids to capitalise on the world's gradual shift away from fossil fuels.
Polestar says the 2 – or shall we say Polestar 2 – boasts an electric range in excess of 300 miles and will start at a confirmed price of £49,000 in the UK. For an extra £5000, Polestar will also give you the Performance Pack, which adds Brembo brakes on the front axle, Öhlins dampers and 20-inch wheels. The pack is more about handling than speed, so the rest of the car is unchanged, but you do get gold seatbelts and valve caps to spruce the car up further.
Was that the sound of EVs becoming a little more enticing?
The Polestar 2 looks very Volvo-like to us...
Right? Cast your mind back to 2016 when Volvo revealed two new concept cars named Concept 40.1 and 40.2. While the 40.1 was quickly turned into the chunky and loveable XC40 crossover, the 40.2 remained an enigma for some time.
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Now we know what happened. Polestar managed to get its cool, electrified hands on it and the Polestar 2 is almost unchanged from that first preview. A three-box saloon shape jacked up like a Cross Country model, slimmer 'Thor’s Hammer' headlights and a blocky wraparound rear light bar are the key design highlights.
Like the S60 Polestar Engineered, the 2 comes complete with a raft of gold colouring - provided you go for the optional Performance Pack that we’ll explain about later.
The move to electrification – and autonomy – provides new-found design possibilities, as the Volvo group's three most senior designers, Thomas Ingenlath, Robin Page and Maximilian Missoni explained to CAR in Stockholm.
The trio have prioritised ‘clean Scandinavian design’ inside and out, as Volvo moves to greater electrification. From 2019, all new Volvos launched will be either hybrid or electric – the first ‘mature’ car maker to make this move. Five fully electric new cars, including two Polestars, will be launched between 2019 and 2021.
‘Electric cars give us exciting opportunities,’ says design chief Ingenlath, now also CEO of premium sub-brand Polestar. ‘The lack of an engine, more compact powertrains and smaller radiators can mean sleeker front styling and roomier cabins. Underbodies will also be cleaner. This improves the aerodynamics, crucial for driving range.’
He says Polestars will be more boldly designed than Volvos. ‘Volvo has a design history defined by comfort, safety, practicality and risk-free nature. Polestar is not bound by [this]. Polestars will be designed more around the individual, and be more progressive and performance-oriented.’
What’s it like inside?
It’s not just a straight Volvo clone like the Polestar 1 coupe. The brand points to the all-vegan interior, as leather upholstery fast becomes such a 20th century idea. Design boss Maximillian Mission says it ‘will appeal to the forward-thinking audience’ who will be supposedly putting money down on one.
What’s more interesting is the new version of Google’s HMI running on the Polestar 2’s dash.
‘The Android platform which we have introduced in Polestar 2 has so much potential for innovation that we immediately identified the chance to engage with the developer community,’ said CEO Thomas Ingenlath. ‘Together with Google, our own digital team has created an exciting interface in the car, and we know that this system will enable great opportunities. We look forward to inspiring new ideas that could make the digital experience in Polestar 2 even better.’
Polestar says customers will be able to download a range of apps for the system, much like a smartphone. Google Assistant is baked-in to the Polestar 2's infotainment system, so apps can be voice controlled with commands such as 'Hey Google, play some music.' That also throws open the possibility of smart home integration in the future.
Google is releasing a SDK for app developers to speed up development of new apps, and ensure they follow driver-distraction guidelines and restrictions. Apps scheduled to be available in Polestar 2 include Bauer Media Audio’s Magic Radio and Radioplayer apps – as well as Spotify.
What powers the Polestar 2?
Nothing but pure electricity. Rather than a hybrid performance showcase like the Polestar 1, the Polestar 2 is designed to be more of a high-volume model that’ll take on the Tesla Model 3.
So, underneath the sleek bodywork is a 78kWh battery pack that claims up to 311 miles of range on one charge. All-wheel drive and a powerful motor makes 402bhp and 487lb ft, making the 2 capable of a sub-five second sprint to 62mph.
Polestar also says a Performance Pack will be available that, along with the aforementioned gold accents, will include Öhlins dampers and Brembo brakes.
The rest of the Polestar family
The Polestar 1, revealed in 2017, was based on 2013’s comely Concept Coupe. The Polestar 3 will be a large SUV, likely in 2021. Apart from Polestar 1 – a plug-in hybrid – all new Polestars will be fully electric from now on.
When can I buy a Polestar 2?
You can place a reservation now and it's only available to order online, with production starting in early 2020. Along with purchasing it outright, the Polestar 2 will be available on a subscription service much like its Volvo sibling, but the Polestar service provides more for your monthly payment, namely pick-up and delivery of your car for its service. Polestar expects the 2's ownership share to tilt more towards the subscription method rather than paying up front for one.
Is this the electric car to kickstart the EV rush? Be sure to comment below and tell us what you think.
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