Volvo is generally a bit of a sedate, safe company, but its Polestar cars like the S60 are performance-oriented, refined road-going machines. Polestar is being spun off into a standalone brand, and its first car is a 450kW hybrid-electric monster with a boatload of torque.
The Polestar 1 is a carbon fibre-bodied 2+2 grand tourer with a 450kW electric motor capable of developing 1000Nm of torque through twin electric motors on the rear axle, all while travelling 150km on battery power alone from its three batteries. That range is supplemented by an internal combustion engine operating as a range extender, too, so you won’t be caught short. It looks pretty luxe inside and outside, too, and it’ll be built in a brand new production facility being put together by Volvo in Chengdu, China.
Polestar cars, the company says, will be ordered entirely online and offered not for straight-up ownership (…boo) but on a two- or three-year subscription basis. No deposit, inclusive of servicing, and with the ability to loan out other vehicles from the Volvo stable, but still, you don’t own the car you’re paying for monthly. You won’t even get a key — the Polestar 1 will have a virtual key through your phone, and you’ll be able to share it with friends.
Even the business model is Tesla-ish. With ordering done online, no dealerships will need to be created. Instead, “Polestar Spaces” in standalone facilities — not Volvo showrooms — will be put together to show off the company’s cars. Tesla has done this for a while, including in the US where it uses its “galleries” to get around some states’ byzantine car dealership legislation.
But here’s the kicker. The next car from Polestar will be the inventively named Polestar 2, which will be a purely battery-electric vehicle starting production some time in 2019. Even Polestar says it will join “the competition around the Tesla Model 3”, and a la the Tesla Roadster-to-Model-S transition, the Polestar 2 will be built and shipped in significantly higher volumes than the 1. [Polestar]