Volvo’s new stand-alone performance arm, Polestar, has launched its first new fully-electric family car – and it’s ready to take lead (and plug) from Elon Musk’s Tesla.
Priced from around £35,000 and capable of accelerating from rest to 62mph in under five seconds, the sporty new five-door Polestar 2 is described as a zero-emissions fastback designed to compete with the Tesla Model 3 and Jaguar’s award-winning I-Pace.
It has a range of 310 miles, a vegan interior – using man-made fabrics that avoid animal leathers and wool – and seats that double as a keyless ignition switch.
Attempting to take the lead (and plug) from Tesla: This is the new Polestar 2 – an all-electric family ‘fastback’ that’s due to arrive in the UK next year
Polestar chief executive Thomas Ingenlath said the Polestar 2 also has no conventional key or start button.
Instead, the ignition switch is embedded into the seat.
Mr Ingenlath said: ’We put the start button into the seat. When you sit in the seat, it recognises your phone. No key to turn. No start button to press.’
Burnishing its 21st century credentials further, customers can only order the Polestar 2 online.
The launch version of the car will cost from around £52,113 (€59,900) compared to the cheapest model arriving at a later date, which rings in at around £34,713 (€39,900), with the prices subject to confirmation.
Volvo’s offshoot is also planning monthly mobile-phone-style subscriptions as a new method of financing the hi-tech model that will be ‘one monthly bill, hassle free, with no surprises’.
And the Polestar is certainly hi-tech.
Propelled by two electric motors and a 78kWh battery, the all-wheel drive vehicle produces 408 horsepower – equivalent to four Ford Fiestas – which car bosses say will deliver a zero to 62mph acceleration time of less than 5 seconds.
‘Targeted range’, according to the brand, is up to 310 miles (500km).
How does that compare? The rival Tesla Model 3 promises a range of between 220 miles and 310 miles, depending on spec, and a zero to 60 acceleration time as quick as 3.3 seconds.
Entry models will cost from around £34,700, though the launch version that arrives first in 2020 will be closer to £52,000
It uses two electric motors – supplied by a 78kWh battery – linked to an all-wheel drive systems to produce 408 horsepower, which car bosses say will deliver a zero to 62mph acceleration time of less than 5 seconds
‘Targeted range’, according to the brand, is up to 310 miles – though this has yet to be proven
The 27-module battery pack is integrated into the Polestar 2’s floor which contributes to the rigidity of the chassis and reduce vibration.
As a result, road noise has been reduced by 3.7dB compared to a traditional chassis.
Polestar 2: Will it fit in my garage?
Price from: £34,713 (Euro 39,900
Launch price: £52,113 (Euro 59,900)
On sale: from 2020
Built in: China – Collaboration Volvo and Geely
Drive train: Two pire electric motors linked to an all-wheel drive system
Battery: 78 kWh battery capacity from 27-module battery pack
Style: Sporty ‘Fastback’ hatchback
Power: 408 horsepower
Top speed: up to 155mph (estimated)
O-62mph: under 5 seconds Range: 310 miles (500km)
Order: Online only
Rivals: Tesla Model 3, Jaguar I-Pace
Production of the new car begins early next year in China for global markets including the UK.
The new Polestar 2’s global launch was made virtually over the internet before the new car makes its first physical public appearance at next week’s Geneva International Motor Show. A world-wide roadshow across Europe, North America and China will follow throughout the rest of the year.
The new electric fastback will also be available in a network of soon-to-be-opened boutique showrooms called Polestar Spaces.
These will mostly be in shopping centres and on the high streets of key markets – including cities such as London, Munich, Shanghai and Los Angeles – to provide customers with physical viewing and test drive opportunities.
Initial launch markets include China, the UK, Sweden, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway, with more countries planned.
Both Polestar and Sweden’s Volvo, from which the electric performance brand has been spun off, are part of the rapidly growing empire of Chinese car firm Geely which also owns Britain’s sports car firm Lotus in Norfolk and the London Taxi Company LEVC based near Coventry.
The car is based on the Volvo Car Group’s flexible and adaptable ‘compact modular architecture’ platform.
When it comes to charging on the go, Polestar is setting up strategic collaborations to give owners ‘easy and hassle-free access to the world’s largest public charging networks’.
Mr Ingenlath added: ‘Polestar 2 is our first fully electric car and first volume model. Everything about it has been designed and engineered with passion and dedication.’
Vegan friendly: Every part of the cabin is covered in man-made materials to appease potential vegan customers
The seats act as the keyless start button. When the driver’s chair recognises your mobile phone, the vehicle is activated
Production of Polestar 2 begins early next year in China for global markets including the UK.
Man-made fabrics should also mean the cars will appeal to vegetarians and vegans.
Maximilian Missoni, head of design at Polestar, said: ‘We have also designed a standard vegan interior with progressive textiles that will appeal to the forward-thinking audience.’
Polestar, which originally launched in 2017, is the new electric performance car brand jointly owned by Volvo Car Group and China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding, which also owns Volvo itself.
Its first car is the £155,000 Polestar 1 – a powerful 600hp low-volume electric performance hybrid GT combining a 2.0-litre petrol engine with two electric motors which has an electric-only range of 93 miles – claimed to be the longest of any hybrid car in the world.
After Polestar 2 will come the Polestar 3 – a fully electric performance SUV about the size of a Porsche Cayenne.
Technology developed by Polestar will also trickle down into mainstream electrified Volvo cars.
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