In the past, a Polestar badge on a Volvo signaled that it was a performance model. In the future, that remains true, but all Polestars will be electrified. And they’ll be built in a brand-new factory located in Chengdu, China.
First to roll off the factory floor is the 2020 Polestar 1, a 2-door, 4-seat coupe equipped with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain offering 600 horsepower and an estimated electric-only range of 93 miles. Volvo says that production begins in mid-2019.
After that, a smaller but more practical and affordable model will emerge from the Chengdu factory. Called the Polestar 2, it will be a fully electric vehicle, the first of five EVs coming from the automaker under the Volvo and Polestar brands by 2021. And you can bet it has the Tesla Model 3 at the top of its competitive set list.
What is the Polestar 2?
A small luxury sedan, the Polestar 2 is estimated to deliver 400 horsepower and 300 miles of driving range. It will debut a new interior user-interface (UI) powered by “future-proof” Android software, ready for frequent automatic updates as technology marches on.
Always connected to the internet, this new UI uses Google Automotive Services for automatic over-the-air updates, and features Google Play, Google Maps, and Google Assistant. One benefit to the system’s Google Assistant integration is voice recognition technology that can easily understand widely variable dialects. Polestar promises a truly seamless voice control experience, and in addition to wireless Android Auto connectivity, the technology also supports wireless Apple CarPlay.
Polestar also sought to make it simpler, easier, and faster for a driver to find what he or she needs on the touchscreen display. Minimalist design, larger virtual buttons, a 4-tile grid menu and app-grouping system, shortcut buttons, and an “apps used often” screen intend to make the Polestar 2’s infotainment system easy and enjoyable to use.
To enter and drive the Polestar 2, the owner will use their smartphone. This Phone As Key technology will provide access to the vehicle, start the car, and allow the driver to preprogram destinations into the navigation system.
Ultimately, Polestar wants to “reinvent” the retail experience, too. It plans to build Polestar Spaces and Polestar Stands, located in city centers and staffed by “product nerds” who treat buying a car as anything but a commodity. You’ll also shop and buy the Polestar 2 online.
If this all sounds very Teslaesque, that’s because it is, but with a Scandinavian twist backed by Chinese cash.
We’ll have more details about the Polestar 2 following the car’s debut on February 27, 2019, in advance of its first public showing at the Geneva Motor Show.