The Polestar 4’s driving impression embargo is officially up, and generally, most are digging into what the rear windowless four-door crossover is offering. It’s chic, sharp to drive, and relatively reasonably priced. Of course, the lack of a rear window isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (it certainly wasn’t mine). Still, the Polestar’s strong execution shows off that its Geely SEA-based roots are a strong base for future development of any future Geely, Zeekr, Polestar, Volvo, Lotus, or any manufacturer or brand that uses the platform.

Still, while driving Polestar 4 in Spain, I couldn’t help but wonder: was this truly the best this car could be? On, paper and perhaps a bit behind the wheel, it didn’t feel like it was the best iteration of the SEA platform I had driven. Believe me, I’d know. I had driven nearly all of them a few weeks before on a Beijing racetrack.

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Zeekr Outsells Polestar

Both Zeekr and Polestar are fully electric brands run by the Chinese company Geely. In 2023, Polestar sold 54,626 cars globally. By comparison, Zeekr sold 118,685 globally during the same time period. 

On paper, the Zeekr 001 would be the best value SEA-based car. Dynamically, it’s down to personal taste whether the Zeekr or Polestar is the better vehicle. From a technical standpoint, the Zeekr 001 is the more advanced car. It has ultra-stiff mega-cast single-piece chassis members and an 800-volt electrical architecture that makes it one of the fastest-charging EVs on the planet.

Despite the Polestar 4 and Zeekr 001 being made in the same factory (until Geely’s South Korean plant is up and running, which will make the Polestar 4), the Polestar 4 misses out on those upgrades. To add insult to injury, the Chinese market Zeekr 001 is slightly cheaper than the Chinese market Polestar 4. It's not great for a brand that really needs to up its sales in China as well as everywhere else.

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While evaluating the Polestar 4 in Spain, I asked Polestar’s CEO, Thomas Ingenlath, if the brand plans to integrate the upgrades from the refreshed Zeekr 001. 

“Certain technology upgrades we will do with them….but there’s a very big cultural difference between brands,” he said. “Yes, we will do certain things together with [Zeekr], but we don’t do everything and every movement together, because it has to fit our brand and our goals.” Although Ingelnath was happy to have access to the Geely toolbox, it’s unclear if the Polestar 4 would get some updates that could improve the charging and driving experience.

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The Zeekr 001s sold outside of China are pre-facelift models without the megacast rear end or the 800-volt architecture. If Polestar managed to bring those upgrades to the 4, it’d be the fastest-charging electric crossover on sale in the United States. The updated Zeekr 001 can charge from 10-80% in less than 12 minutes, peaking at speeds of over 500 kW. 

Hopefully, Polestar will see the light and we’ll get an updated Polestar 4 with an even stiffer chassis and show-stopping charging abilities. 

Contact the author: kevin.williams@insideevs.com   

 

 

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