Polestar CEO Lays Out Brand’s Performance EV Plans
Polestar’s performance EV plans seem to follow closely in the footsteps of Tesla, though the company appears to be much more on top of its timeline.
With Polestar 1 (the gorgeous 2+2 plug-in hybrid coupe with 93 miles of electric-only range) ready for production, and plans in place for Polestar 2 and 3, which will closely follow the initial halo car, the Volvo-owned EV entrant seems to have its ducks in a row. Autocar visited with Polestar CEO (and Volvo’s Chief of Design) Thomas Ingenlath at his design facility in Volvo’s Gothenburg plant. The publication explained:
“Whatever the key reasons for Polestar’s eye-catching nature, this former producer of hot Swedish saloons and winning WTCC racers, bought out of private ownership by Volvo in mid-2015, has a fascinating future ahead, a neat mixture of surprises and logic. To better understand the strategy, we took a trip to Ingenlath’s design lair inside Volvo’s mighty Gothenburg factory, where the Polestar 1 has now reached production readiness (and awaits completion of its Chinese manufacturing plant for a 2019 launch) and the Polestar 2 and 3 are almost finished. Preparations are under way to meet the marketing challenge: Polestar wants to meet its customers mostly online; providing them with chances to see cars in three dimensions but avoiding the usual plodding showroom experience.”
The brand is simply awaiting its Chinese factory to be complete and is targeted for initial production in 2019. As revealed by the company, the first car won’t be cheap, nor will it be produced in high volume, but instead, it aims to attract attention to the brand. The plan is for it to become a standalone automaker utilizing resources from Volvo. Ingenlath told Autocar:
“It has taken almost two years to get where we are. When Polestar 1 was still the Concept Coupé, it attracted lots of attention. Everyone wanted to know if we were going to build it, but it was always clear it wouldn’t work in the normal Volvo way, and not just because of the business case. It also had design features that stretched Volvo too far – yet we felt its proportions ideally fitted the GT category.
Polestar 1 is very much a halo product. We’re going to need those for the future, just as we’ll need lower-priced models to bring flair and feeling to a much broader audience.”
In fact, the plan for Polestar 1 involves hand-building about 500 copies per year, which will be priced at upwards of $200,000. However, the 2 (midsize BEV hatchback), which is set to be a prime Tesla Model 3 competitor, will hit production in 2019 and come with a much more competitive price tag ($49,000). It’s also intended to come to market as a higher volume vehicle.
Much less is known about the 3 except that it’s a larger, battery-electric SUV. Ingenlath shared that the hope is for about 50,000 total units in five years (between all three models), with further expansion at that point. Ingenlath promised a lineup of vehicles that are unconventional yet appealing, including “fastbacks, hatchbacks and whateverbacks”.
Both the 2 and 3 will rely heavily on Volvo for interiors, among other things. Ingenlath explained that it only makes sense to use whatever resources and components it can from the parent brand. This is the economical way to go about it. However, he assured that Polestar vehicles will have their own unique “shapes” and exterior styling, and no Polestar will share a Volvo “body-in-white.” He said:
“This is a family. So we have some common values. Our products will share a certain quality of build and a certain degree of usability. And there’s the safety. We’ll never compromise on safety in a Polestar car.
In a place like this, you never do your job on your own,” he says, easily. “We have many good people here, and they are the reason it works.”
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