Selling as many cars as possible is what the vast majority of carmakers want, but not all are interested in huge volumes that would rival Tesla, which sold around 1.8 million cars worldwide in 2023. Polestar offers models that compete directly with those of Elon Musk's brand, such as the Polestar 2, which is targeting sales of the Model 3, but it wants to position itself as more upmarket and attract more customers used to high-end brands such as Germany's Big 3 or Porsche.

Gallery: 2024 Polestar 2 First Drive Review

Where does Polestar stand?

Australian media outlet Drive spoke to Graeme Lambert, Polestar's global communications manager for design, innovation and APAC (Asia-Pacific), who explained the brand's different directions. He noted that Tesla was "looking for volume" and that it was "a mass market player", while explaining that Polestar is "a premium luxury brand with volume targets to match".

Gallery: Polestar 4 Live In New York

This is evident in Polestar's much less ambitious annual sales target, which has been set at between 155,000 and 165,000 vehicles by 2025. This is considerably less than Tesla, which is expected to sell around 2.2 million vehicles this year, although in the first quarter of the year it made more cars than it could deliver and is now offering significant discounts to those who agree to buy from the remaining stock.

Gallery: 2024 Porsche Macan EV

Tesla is known for its unexpected and often large discounts, and this is another aspect of its business model that Polestar could not hope to match. Lambert mentioned one of Polestar's new models, the Polestar 4, as a direct rival to the Tesla Model Y, at least in terms of size and range. However, he explains that Polestar is actually hoping to attract buyers of the Porsche Macan EV (see above), which is another electric vehicle of similar size, but much more expensive.

Volvo out of the picture?

Although Polestar began life as a sports and electrified spin-off from Volvo, the Swedish manufacturer has announced that it has no intention of continuing to financially support the 100% electric brand. It is still owned by Volvo's parent company, Geely, and the latter has announced that it has secured some of the funding needed to stay afloat. In the future, we are likely to see an even greater divergence between the vehicles sold by Polestar and Volvo, although they will still share platforms and technologies.

Gallery: Tesla Model Y (2023)

The Polestar 4 electric SUV coupe starts at £59,990, but can go up to £66,990 with a dual-motor drivetrain. That makes it a little more expensive than the Tesla Model Y (see above), whose base variant costs £44,990, but it's less than the Porsche Macan EV with its starting price of £69,800 (or £95,000 in Macan Turbo form).

Gallery: Porsche Taycan (2021)

Polestar is also working on a rival to the Porsche Taycan, which will be called the Polestar 5, and should go into production by the end of the year. It should start at around £85,000 (just like the Taycan), and will offer almost 900 PS in top trim and a range of around 300 miles with its 103-kilowatt-hour battery. It will also be a rival to the Model S.

Gallery: Polestar 5 Prototype at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed