► LHD-only hybrid
► A 592bhp GT from new Volvo spin-off
► Available to order now
Volvo's spin-off electrified car company, Polestar, has announced how you can buy its first car, a handsome 592bhp hybrid coupe. According to a new release, the Polestar 1 is available to pre-order in 18 countries – including the UK, USA, China and Germany – from today (13 March 2018).
‘With over 7000 people interested in owning a Polestar 1 since its reveal, we are extremely encouraged by the passion shown for our product,’ said Polestar CEO, Thomas Ingenlath. ‘We will now take the next steps towards delivering this beautiful car to our first customers,’
Polestar says buyers will have to put down a fully-refundable €2,500 or $2,500 (UK prices aren’t available yet) and they’ll be able to use a car configuration tool to further hone their order.
And one more thing.If you’re looking to pre-order a Polestar 1 in the UK, you’ll be fine with it being LHD – as that’s the only configuration available right now.
Polestar 1: everything you need to know
In October this year, Geely announced Volvo-offshoot Polestar was to become an entirely separate EV company, with the Polestar 1 being the first car. The project started three years ago with plans to develop a Volvo S90 Coupe. ‘As it evolved, we knew we had something special,’ says Ingenlath. ‘When we started testing it on Swedish roads, it became our first Polestar.’
The Polestar 1 is based upon Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture, which you’ll find under the S90/V90 and well as the XC60 and XC90. It’s shorter, lighter, and thanks to extensive use of carbonfibre in its underpinnings, it’s stiffer. That shortened chassis is 230kg lighter than the one it’s based on, and around half of the new model is unique to the 1.
The carbonfibre-bodied car new car looks good – a cross between Aston Martin and Mustang, with plenty of Volvo DNA thrown in. The two-door, 2+2 seater Grand Tourer Coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain that will drive almost 100 miles on battery alone. In full-blooded hybrid mode, its 600hp power output is backed up by 1000Nm of torque.
Inside it’s almost pure S90 – a good start, truth be told - with a little jewellery to justify the additional premium.
Polestar 1: how will it drive?
Polestar claims the Polestar 1 has exceptional torsional rigidity, which is 45% stiffer than the S90 it’s based on. In short, a stiffer body, means more predictable handling. It gains an interesting new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) suspension set-up, with comfort and handling modes.
And its carbonfibre body significantly reduces weight compared with the S90 it’s based on. The drivetrain mates a twincharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with a rear axle housing a pair of stonking electric motors that push out 160Kw. They are controlled independently to create torque vectoring.
When can I buy one, or should I say, subscribe to one?
The company will also be offering its new car on a subscription model, as per new Volvos including the XC40.
The dealer won’t be involved at this stage – if you want a Polestar 1, you’ll need to buy it online, and then choose whether you want it on a two- or three-year subscription basis. The zero-deposit, all-inclusive subscription gives you concierge servicing alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar range, should you need something roomier.
To aid this subscription model, a Polestar 1 comes with Phone-As-Key technology that means the owner can share a virtual key with a third party. So, it can be remotely lent out, while being able to access personalised on-demand features.
The dealership isn’t dead, though, because Polestar says it will open a network of what it calls Polestar Spaces. This is where future Polestar customers can interact with products and the brand. Polestar Spaces will be standalone facilities and not within existing Volvo retailer showrooms.
Polestar 1: what's the price?
The Polestar 1 will cost £115,000 in the UK. The first markets to get the car will be the U.S.A., China, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands – and sadly not the UK.
These markets will feature the aforementioned Polestar Spaces and they’ve been picked based on initial customer demand.
If you're in the UK getting sweaty palms about the idea of wafting around in this 592bhp hybrid, there's a catch.
According to a tweet from Polestar’s Global head of PR, Duncan Forrester, the Polestar 1 will be coming to the UK – but not in right-hand drive. In a tweet below to CarThrottle, Forrester says that despite the lack of RHD, customer interest in the UK for the coupe is still high.
If you're okay with a LHD car, but don’t want to take part in Polestar’s leasing scheme, the new hybrid coupe will set you back a whopping £115,000.
Is Polestar a performance brand at all?
Not exactly. Volvo may have launched Polestar as its performance brand, but it’s all about electrification, a spin-off brand to go chasing Tesla. Early adopters love Tesla for not being part of the internal combustion engine problem – Volvo hopes that start-up Polestar will be seen in a similar way. Despite this car having an internal combustion engine.
The real story begins in 2020 with the Tesla Model 3-rivalling Polestar 2. It will be a mid-sized BEV, where big sale potential is anticipated. It will be followed by the Polestar 3, a larger SUV-style BEV, which will also be aimed at drivers.
Can Polestar succeed?
It’s significant that this Polestar 1 is being launched in Shanghai. It’s arguably the capital of the new world, and Volvo’s pumped up Polestar is a local product with added European kudos that could do well there.
Polestar might have had performance beginnings, but it’s clearly gunning for Tesla with its ‘electrified-digital’ message. We’ll see if its innovative purchasing and ownership model takes off, too.
It’s a crowded market, with mixed success for its entrants. But the electric-focused model lineup and new way of buying these cars adds some variety – whether it can convince more hard-bitten European and American enthusiasts, where brand means all, we remain to be convinced.
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