Polestar, Volvo’s performance brand, has unveiled its first product and its appropriately called Polestar 1.
The company also announced a purpose-built production facility in China, and announced plans for its initial product line consisting of two additional models (because you can’t launch a car line with only one car), all of which will be sold via an online retail model.
“Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar. “A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it — a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand."
Destined as the halo car of the new brand, the 600-hp hybrid electric Polestar 1 (with a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-litre 4-cylinder engine, with an integrated starter/generator, driving the front wheels, and two 80-kW electric motors at the rear), which puts out combined torque of 738 lb-ft.
Three battery stacks — one in the centre console tunnel and two at the rear — store 34 kWh of juice, and their positioning grants the Grand Touring coupe a weight distribution ration of 48% front and 52% rear.
Among the technologies in the new car is the first production application of an Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi), as well as the afore-mentioned double electric rear axle supplying torque vectoring for maximum cornering grip, stability and response.
The 2-door, 2-plus-2 carbon-fibre-bodied luxury performance coupe is based off Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA), with roughly 50% of it new or bespoke, including a host of new technologies. The car is set to roll of the line in China in mid-2019, following the facility’s completion in mid-2018.
It will be followed by the battery electric Polestar 2 — a mid-size 4-door rival to Tesla’s Model 3 that is expected to be the brand’s top-seller. It goes into production later in 2019, followed up the electric Polestar 3 crossover, which will provide a different take on the performance and driving dynamics of the previous two offerings.
All three will be acquired under a business model that will move away from the traditional ownership concept. Vehicles will be ordered online, and offered on a 2- or 3-year subscription alternative to traditional financing and leasing. The nothing-down, all-inclusive subscription will offer pickup and drop-off for servicing and the ability to try out the other models in the line, all for one monthly payment.
The flat rate monthly fee means that having a Polestar car becomes a hassle-free experience for the customer, further facilitated with Phone-As-Key technology, which also enables a host of other on-demand features, including remote starting, and cabin temperature control.
Potential buyers will configure and order their vehicles online or via a mobile app, although they will be able to touch the cars and sit in them at Polestar Spaces outlets that will be set up in various cities around the world. Polestar Spaces will be standalone facilities, and not in or associated with Volvo retailers.
Purchasers of the Polestar 1 can start the application process right away, at Polestar.com.