Electric Performance Brand
Polestar has been building special high-performance versions of Volvo models since 2013, and now Volvo is taking the brand to the next level. Not only is the Polestar 1 an all-new model debuting at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, it also represents the launch of Polestar as a standalone electric performance brand.
Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar said in a statement, “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it — a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand”.
The first of at least three prospective models from the Polestar brand, Polestar 1 is a 2-door GT car with seating for four, built on Volvo’s new Scalable Platform Architecture . Although the car possesses clear styling cues associated with the Volvo brand — most notably the “Thor’s Hammer” headlights — the Polestar 1 is unique to the new brand.
As a showcase of what to expect from Polestar, the Polestar 1 features a plug-in hybrid powertrain that produces 600 horsepower and 738 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid system consists of a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged 4-cylinder engine that sends power to the front wheels while two electric motors drive the rear wheels. There is also a third electric motor that acts as an Integrated Starter Generator. With a total of 34 kWh produced by three battery stacks, the Polestar 1 can travel up to 93 miles on electric power alone.
It takes more than simply massive power to create a proper performance car, and the Polestar 1 has all the components necessary to take full advantage of its 600 horsepower. A planetary gear in the rear axle allows power from each rear electric motor to be applied to a single wheel, providing torque vectoring for better handling during cornering. Rather than employing the traction control to apply brakes to the inner wheel, this system adds power to the outer wheel, driving the car through the corner.
Polestar 1 also makes use of the brand’s experience with Ohlins suspension with the introduction of Ohlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension. This advanced chassis technology constantly monitors driver input and road conditions and in a mere 2 milliseconds shock absorbers can react and adjust as needed. Suspension settings can also be changed by the driver for a more sporting or more comfortable ride.
As important as it is to go fast in a performance car, stopping power is even more crucial. The Polestar 1 is fitted with powerful 6-piston brake calipers built by Akebono, which apply stopping power to large 15.7-inch discs.
The Polestar 1 is also designed to be lightweight for better efficiency and performance — accomplished by extensive use of carbon fiber in most major body parts. Not only does this reduce weight, it increases torsional rigidity by 45 percent.
“Most electric cars are fast — that’s a product of the attributes of an electric motor. However, for Polestar, performance is far more holistic than just straight-line speed. It’s about acceleration, of course, but it’s also about cornering, braking, suspension control, chassis feedback and steering feel. This is what Polestar calls Progressive Performance,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.
Not only is Polestar taking a different approach to its all-electrified lineup, the brand will offer its vehicles via a subscription service, designed to simplify the buying process. A flat monthly payment with no deposit covers insurance and scheduled maintenance, as well as a concierge service that includes vehicle pick up and drop off for servicing. The subscription also provides owners with temporary access to larger Volvo models for those occasions when more space is needed for hauling or a family vacation.
New Way of Buying / Owning
“Our vision is that the Polestar subscription model and services that we will offer will define the Polestar brand as much as our cars will. Services that exceed the needs, desires and expectations of the premium performance car customer are at the heart of Polestar, removing the inconvenience of ownership and allowing customers to purely concentrate on the pleasure of driving a Polestar car,” said Jonathan Goodman, COO of Polestar.
Built in China
All Polestar models will be built in a new Polestar Production Center in Chengdu, China, made possible thanks to Volvo’s parent company Zhejiang Geely Holding. The facility is currently under construction and slated to be complete this summer.
More to Come
The Polestar 1 is expected to be available to consumers in the middle of 2019. Later in 2019 the Polestar 2 will go into production. Polestar 2 will be a midsize fully-electric sedan and is expected to go head-to-head with the Tesla Model 3. A pure-electric larger SUV-style model will arrive shortly thereafter as the Polestar 3.