The Volvo Polestar 2 is an electric-powered sedan with a starting price of $63,000 and estimated driving range of 275 miles. The Polestar 2 targets rivals like the Tesla Model 3, Audi e-tron, Mercedes-Benz EQC, and Jaguar I-Pace.
- Polestar is Volvo’s new all-electric and performance-oriented division.
- The Polestar 1 was the division’s first stand-alone product. The plug-in hybrid sports coupe cost more than $150,000 and delivered in excess of 600 horsepower to all four wheels.
- Available to purchase outright or via subscription, the Launch Edition version of the Polestar 2 starts at $63,000.
For an automaker that built its reputation on safety, Volvo is taking a bold approach to electric cars. The Volvo Polestar 2 is an electric sedan with a beefy-looking exterior that gives it the air of a small sport-utility or crossover. Pitched against luxury rivals from Tesla, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Jaguar, the Polestar 2 is packed with two electric motors, all-wheel drive, and a dazzling infotainment system that uses the latest in Google’s Android in-car technology.
But how does the Polestar 2 stand out in an electric car market that’s becoming increasingly top-heavy, in terms of the amount of luxury-branded electric rivals competing in the same space? Keep reading to find out.
Sedan sensibility and some SUV sass
The 2021 Volvo Polestar (seen here) is five inches shorter than a Tesla Model 3 sedan. But the Volvo’s chunky exterior design mimics the style of a SUV or crossover. (Photo: Volvo)
Volvo is trying to offer the best of both worlds when it comes to the size and design of the Polestar. Technically, the Polestar 2 is a five-door sedan, with a hatchback used for the cargo hold. Yet, the chunky exterior gives it some crossover-like road presence. Considering the massive popularity of sport-utilities at the moment, this design flourish won’t hurt Volvo’s chances in the EV marketplace. For comparison, stretching 15 feet in overall length, the Polestar 2 is about five inches shorter than a Tesla Model 3. But at 57 inches tall, the Polestar is nearly the same height as the Model 3.
Eventually, Volvo will introduce the Polestar 3, an electric-powered SUV that’s scheduled to arrive in 2021. The Polestar 3 is expected to have a swept-back design and tapered tail that mimics the shape of a sport sedan or coupe.
Power and driving range
Volvo estimates the driving range of the 2021 Polestar at 275 miles. That’s significantly better than what’s provided in rivals like the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-Pace. (Photo: Volvo)
After price, the two most important things for any potential EV owner are power and driving range. In terms of the power on offer, the Polestar 2 is motivated by a pair of electric motors, one mounted at each axle. Working in conjunction with a 78-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the powertrain delivers 408 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard on the Polestar 2, though it remains to be seen if less expensive versions might opt for only one electric motor and a front-wheel drive format. This could help lower weight and increase driving range, since one electric motor would invariably demand less power the batteries.
When it comes to recharging, like with any other EV, a lot depends on the power source you’re tapping into. By Volvo’s estimation, plugging into an 11-kilowatt wallbox would recharge a completely flat battery to 100 percent in 8-10 hours. A dedicated fast-charger could slash this time, with a 10-80-percent recharge possible in about 30 minutes. This is equal to the recharging times of other EVs in the Polestar 2’s price range.
Technology and utility
The cabin of the Volvo Polester 2 features a large Google-based touchscreen that can be updated anytime, via over-the-air software. The interior is also vegan friendly, thanks to Volvo’s WeaveTech upholstery.
Step inside and you’ll see the interior of the Polestar 2 is dominated by a Google-based infotainment system in the middle of the dashboard. Not only can the system receive over-the-air updates, it’s also compatible with a full lineup of Android apps. In fact, Volvo is encouraging developers to create and customize apps specifically for the Polestar 2. The voice recognition system – sometimes a bugbear of even the best infotainment units – is based around Google Assistant, one of the more highly-regarded voice systems available today.
Standard safety equipment on the Launch Edition versions of the Polestar 2 include automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, blind spot monitors, 360-degree overhead camera, collision avoidance, adaptive cruise control, and much more. Many of these features are grouped into the Pilot package, which comes standard on the Launch Edition versions of the Polestar 2. As the name suggests, this option group also includes Volvo Pilot Assist, an autonomous driving aid found on other Volvo vehicles, including the XC90 sport-utility and S90 sedan.
The Polestar 2’s eco-credentials don’t stop with the zero-emission electric motors and battery pack. Fitted as standard is Volvo’s WeaveTech seat upholstery, which was inspired by wetsuits worn by divers. This material is also water-based, not solvent-based, which means you’re not saving cows by simply adding to the world’s fossil fuel usage. If you’re feeling less bovine-friendly, a leather interior can still be ordered.
For anyone who wants to put their EV to hard work, Volvo estimates the maximum towing capacity of the Polestar 2 is 3,300 pounds.
Volvo’s growing electric family
The Polestar 1 (seen here) is the sub-brand’s first stand-alone electrified model. With more than 600 hp and a price north of $150,000, this sports coupe was always intended to be a very limited production model. Photo: Volvo
The Polestar 2 is joining Volvo’s growing lineup of hybrid, plug-in, and fully electrified cars and SUVs. We recently drove the Polestar 1, a limited production sports coupe powered by a complex plug-in hybrid drivetrain that delivers 600 hp to all four wheels. We loved the power and poise of this Volvo sports car, and appreciate it still has a safety-first design ethos. Yet, we had reservations about the sky-high price, the car’s portly curb weight (of more than 5,000 pounds!), and modest performance when operating in electric-only mode.
The Polestar 2 takes Volvo’s electric division in a more mainstream direction, even if the early models still ring in at $63,000 – before factoring in federal and state EV-related tax incentives. Eventually, less expensive versions of the Polestar 2 will be available, though these are still expected to start around $55,000. That’s hardly pocket change, and it places the Polestar 2 about $6,000 above the current asking price for a Tesla Model 3 in Long Range trim.
Set to go on sale later this year, the Volvo XC40 Recharge is an all-electric version of Volvo’s smallest SUV. Photo: Volvo
Also coming to a Volvo dealership near you, the XC40 Recharge arrives later this year and will have a starting price of approximately $50,000. Volvo has yet to confirm exact specs of this full-electric version of its smallest SUV, though range is expected to be well above 200 miles for every charge. Total power output will be more than 400 horsepower in this all-wheel drive electric SUV.
When the Polestar 2 does go on sale in late-2020, keep in mind sales will initially be limited to the West Coast, in cities that include Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Orders can be placed online, for a $1,000 deposit, though it’s not clear when the Polestar 2 will be available on a more nationwide scale.
WHY THIS MATTERS
Volvo is taking a two-pronged approach towards electrification. The standard Volvo lineup is being augmented with more hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and full electrics. Meanwhile, the Polestar division delivers a slightly more upscale range of electrified offerings, too.