Volvo’s electric sub-brand, Polestar, has announced that its new battery-powered fastback will offer a range of around 310 miles.
Following on from the svelte Polestar 1 hybrid, which was launched in October 2017, the imaginatively named Polestar 2 is a more direct competitor for the Tesla Model 3. The company is even promising price parity with the Tesla, albeit with a heavy caveat. The headline price tag is €39,900 (around £34,100), but for the first year of production, Polestar will only sell you the €59,900 (£51,100) “launch edition” model.
That’s roughly what you’d pay for a well-equipped Jaguar XF or BMW 5 Series, and for that you get a five-door fastback body with a 78 kWh battery and an electric motor that produces 402 bhp - enough for a 0-62 mph time of less than five seconds.
And if sporty driving is what you're after, Polestar will also sell you a Performance Pack designed to improve the car's handling characteristics. Serving up Öhlins dampers and Brembo brakes, the pack is singled out by its gold seatbelts and brake callipers, which peek out from behind the unique 20-inch forged alloy wheels.
But Polestar isn't just focusing on the performance credentials that made its name on the world's motor racing circuits. The company claims it has also dealt with the thorny issue of charging with a “connected digital solution” and planned partnerships with some of “the world's largest charging networks”.
The high-tech approach will continue inside, too, becoming one of the world's first cars to use an Android-based infotainment system. Polestar says the system makes for a “solid and adaptable” platform for apps and vehicle functions, as well as enabling the inclusion of Google services such as Google Maps and the Google Assistant.
Polestar will also let you use your phone as a key, and the on-board computer will be able to sense your approach, then predict your movements and configure the car's digital display accordingly. For example, the car will enlarge the range and charging status display as you approach to make drivers aware of the battery level before setting off.
“Polestar 2 is our first fully electric car and first volume model,” said Thomas Ingenlath, the chief executive officer of Polestar. “Everything about it has been designed and engineered with passion and dedication. As an electric performance brand, and through the forthcoming launch of a portfolio of fully electric cars, Polestar is determined to address the world’s air quality challenges. Polestar delivers electric performance cars that are great to own and drive.”
Maximilian Missoni, head of design at Polestar, added: “We decided to bring something different to the segment. Our avant-garde design has evolved from Polestar 1 into an edgier, bolder statement. We have also designed a standard vegan interior with progressive textiles that will appeal to the forward-thinking audience who will subscribe to Polestar 2.”
The Polestar 2 will go into production next year at the company's factory in China, and the car will only be available online. However, the brand is planning to open “Polestar Spaces” to offer potential customers the chance to look around the cars and take test drives.