Polestar 1 may be the first exciting hybrid sports vehicle from Volvo and Geely's EV-obsessed spin-off, but it's the prospect of shaking up the auto ownership experience that could really change the marketplace.
Polestar started out as a performance brand that tuned Volvo cars. A maximum of 500 cars will be built per year and all those will be offered on a subscription basis. Polestar 1 measures 4,500 mm in length and compared to the Volvo S90, the wheelbase is 320 mm less and the rear has been shortened by 200 mm. It also debuts the use of carbon-fibre on major body parts for the first time on a auto of Volvo Group. A 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine drives the front wheels. It also gets a new torque vectoring system that sends the required power to wheels on either side instead of braking the inner wheel while cornering. In pure electric mode, the auto behaves like a rear-wheel-drive vehicle with a claimed range of 150 km. In pure electric mode, it can go 90 miles. The automaker hasn't indicated what sort of driving range buyers can expect out of the Polestar 2, but a subscription model wherein one could temporarily trade an EV for a hybrid model for longer trips would help curb the sort of range anxiety that can accompany traditional EV ownership. Polestar 3 will be an SUV-styled vehicle which will be priced between the Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 in terms of volumes and pricing. To take a significant share of the global electric vehicle market, a carmaker is going to have to move down to the much larger market for mid-priced cars like General Motors Co.'s (NYSE: GM) Chevy Bolt and the Tesla Model 3. The costs will include insurance and maintenance. Indeed, it's also possible that those who can afford to consider what will likely be a six-figure vehicle may be more comfortable with the idea of outright ownership than the temporary possession inherent in a subscription. Polestar will also provide additional services including concierge and on-demand services for customers at an added charge.
Ordering and configuring your new Polestar will be dealt online but the company will also open a network of so-called "Polestar Spaces" around the world, which will be standalone facilities and not within the existing Volvo showrooms.