Volvo’s Polestar unveils competitor to Tesla’s Model 3
Polestar, a plug-in performance car brand that was spun off from Volvo, revealed its first all-electric car Wednesday. The Polestar 2 will be a direct competitor to the Tesla Model 3.
The base price for the Polestar 2 will be around 40,000 euros, the equivalent of about $45,000. That’s roughly the starting price of a Tesla Model 3 today. Like Tesla, though, Polestar will produce more expensive versions of its car first. The Launch Edition of the Polestar 2, which will be made during the first 12 months of production, will cost about 60,000 euros, the equivalent of about $68,000.
Production will begin in early 2020 in China, home of Geely Holding Group, Volvo’s parent company and Polestar’s co-owner.
The four-door all-wheel-drive car will have two electric motors with an expected driving range of 500 kilometers on a full battery based on European and Chinese standard driving tests or 275 miles based on US EPA driving tests. The company promises zero to 60 acceleration in under five seconds. An optional Performance Pack will give the car performance-tuned shock absorbers, brakes and tires for better handling.
Like Tesla’s cars, the Polestar has “vegan” interior materials, rather than leather. Drivers will be able to use their smart phones like a remote key fob, another feature found on Tesla cars. An optional Pilot Package will give the car automated driving assistance features, such as Lane Keeping Assistance — which keeps the car in its lane — and the ability to park itself without a driver in the car, a Polestar spokesman said.
While the car is available for purchase, the company will heavily market a subscription plan under which drivers will pay a monthly fee that includes insurance costs as well as the cost of the car itself in a single monthly payment. The rates for the subscription service have not been decided upon, a Polestar spokesman said. The cars will also be available for sale, though, for customers who would rather simply buy one. The Polestar 2 will only be sold online through Polestar.com. The company is planning to have some physical locations, though, similar to Tesla Galleries.
“In the major cities around the globe, we will have what we call the Polestar Space downtown in the city, a place where you can go experience the brand, see the car, touch it, test drive it,” Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath said.
The Polestar 1, the brand’s first car, is a high-performance plug-in hybrid that is being produced in limited numbers. The Polestar 3, which has not yet been unveiled, will be a fully electric SUV, the company has said.
Polestar was originally the name of a Swedish company, Polestar Performance, that created racing versions of Volvo cars. Volvo bought that company in 2015 and added its name to performance-tuned versions of its own cars. The Polestar name will still be used on hybrid and electric performance-tuned Volvo cars in addition to being its own separate car brand.