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Is Polestar a game-changer for electric cars?Back

 

Competition in the electric vehicle market is hotting up as Volvo launches a new brand of long range cars that will rival Tesla’s Model 3.

Polestar, a joint venture between the car manufacturer and its Chinese owner Geely, will focus on high performance electric cars which aim to change the way people buy, sell and own their vehicles.

The first car, unveiled in Shanghai, will be a high-performance coupe powered by a hybrid petrol-electric drivetrain. It will be produced in a new purpose-built production facility in in Chengdu in southern China – the world’s largest market for electric vehicles.

 

Polestar 1

Set to roll off the production line in mid-2019, the Polestar 1 will be able to travel 93 miles on electric power alone, giving it what is claimed to be the longest range of any battery-powered car. When the engine is combined with the electric power system, the two-door car will be able to produce 600hp, placing it in the performance car market.

Volvo and Geely are investing £570m into the project, with two future cars planned over the next four years, one a small hatchback aimed at competing with Tesla’s Model 3, and an SUV.

Thomas Ingenlath, chief executive of Polestar, said: “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being a new standalone electric performance brand.”

When production begins, 500 examples of the Polestar 1 will be built a year and sold in China, the US and Europe. Later models will be produced in higher volumes.

 

New ownership model

Polestar will move away from the traditional ownership model. Cars will be ordered online and offered on a two or three year subscription basis. The zero-deposit, all-inclusive subscription will also add features such as pick-up and delivery servicing and the ability to rent alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar range.

Polestar uses Phone-As-Key technology, allowing the owner to share a virtual key with a third party, and also enables access to other on-demand features.

The ordering and configuration of Polestar cars will be conducted via an app or online portal. The brand will also open a network of showrooms around the world where future Polestar customers can interact with products.

 

Future is electric

Earlier this year, Volvo announced that it would become the first major manufacturer to produce all its new models from 2019 with electric drivetrain options.

Polestar, which currently makes high performance versions of Volvo’s S60 and V60 cars, is taking the brand in a new direction.

The new cars will be made using Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture, although half of the Polestar 1 uses new products such as lightweight carbon fibre to enhance performance.

Polestar 2, which aims to rival Tesla Model 3, will start production later in 2019 and will be the first battery-electric vehicle (BEV) from the Volvo Car Group.

Polestar 3 will be a larger SUV-style BEV, which the manufacturer says will create a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics.

 

Posted by Beth Rose on 17/10/2017