The California car gets competition.
***Update: With the official of the Polestar 2, we now have a lot more significant information and have added it to this post.
The Tesla Model 3 broke a lot of new ground when it first started rolling from the company's Fremont factory in 2017. And while it has served as a yardstick for electric offerings from other manufacturers, it hasn't faced any direct competitors. Until now.
Tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM EST, The first all-electric from Polestar cometh. You can watch the reveal livestream here on InsideEVs)
The Polestar 2 is, arguably, the first real offering from the new Volvo electric sub-brand. Yes, there is a Polestar 1, but limited to 500 very expensive (base price $155,000) examples in its first production year and being a performance plug-in hybrid, it's an hor d'oeuvre to the 2's main course.
Now that a solid alternative to Model 3 is on its way -- the company has stated outright that it "is designed to compete with Tesla Model 3" -- we thought now would be a good time to compare the two cars. They are similar in a host of ways, starting with their names. Both are represented by a single numeral derived from its order in their company's production plan. As mentioned, the 2 is the second vehicle from the Polestar brand, while the 3 is the third from-the-ground-up Tesla. Originally, the California car was to be called the Model E and thereby spell out "S-E-X-Y" with its lineup but the threat of a lawsuit from Ford caused them to change that plan. The acronym -- S-3-X-Y -- still works, however.
Both cars are four-door sedans
of similar size, but although the Polestar 2 is said to target the Tesla Model 3, it is notably smaller in every dimension, save height. Here's how they compare:
Polestar 2 - length 181.4 inches, height 58.2 inches, width 70.9 inches, wheelbase 107.7 inches
Tesla Model 3 - length 184.8 inches, height 56.8 inches, width 76.1 inches, wheelbase 113.2 inches
Though the Polestar 2 is referred to as a fastback, it appears from the overhead view revealed on the car's app, that it,
like the Model 3, will have a trunk nd not a hatch features a rear hatch opening. We would be happy to be wrong about that, though. Also noticeable from this image is the large panel of glass that covers the passenger compartment of the 2. Model 3, of course, also has a glass roof, which is awesome.
Frunk fans will be happy to learn that the 2 does indeed have a front trunk, albeit quite modest. The company says it can hold 34 liters (1.2 cubic feet) and is insulated. By contrast, the Model 3 frunk holds 424.8 liters (15 cubic feet).
As for range and price, the competitors seem to be very much in the same ballpark. The Polestar 2 should have an EPA-rated range in the 300-mile neighborhood, maybe slightly higher. For its part, the Model 3 is currently available in two battery configurations: Mid and Long Range, yielding an EPA-rated 264 miles and 310 miles, respectively. The Polestar price ranges between 39,900 euros and 59,900 euros for the Launch Edition (U.S. price is $63,000 for that top spec). Similarly, the Tesla currently ranges from $42,900 for the rear-wheel-drive Mid Range to $60,900 for the Long Range Performance.
Speaking of performance, it seems the Polestar 2 will be no slouch. It boasts a set of 150-kW motors and so in the all-wheel-drive configuration puts out 408 peak horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque. The top spec Model 3 offers 450 hp and 471 lb-ft of torque, so performance-wise, the 2 is pretty close. Its 0-to-60 time will be under 5 seconds, with 4.7 seconds targeted. The Model 3 Performance does the deed in 3.3 seconds, while the Long Range Dual Motor does it in 4.5 seconds. The Mid Range clocks in at 5.6 seconds.
Both vehicles, of course, offer DC fast charging. Tesla has the edge here, due to the availability of its Supercharger network which is extensive and still growing. However, the Polestar will be able to take advantage of the Electrify America network in the .S., which should be quite large itself once deliveries begin. It may even be able to charge more quickly, as it is rated for up to 150 kW. The Model 3 currently (no pun intended) tops out at 120 kW, though that should increase with the rollout of Supercharger V3 as CEO Elon Musk mentioned recently.
Also similar will be the retail experience. Tesla famously sells its products over the internet and through small company-owned boutique shops. Polestar will be taking a similar approach, though they will be sticking with the dealership franchise model. The stores will not carry a ton of inventory and be staffed by non-commissioned personnel. As well, the brand will put plenty of info online to help inform customers. One difference, though, is that Polestar will also offer cars as a subscription service, meaning you pay a flat rate every month and all incidental expenses (save for electricity) are covered.
At 50,000 units a year, production numbers for the 2 are not nearly as ambitious as they are for the Model 3. Tesla delivered 139,782 copies of the mid-size sedan in 2018 and expects to increase that figure over the next couple of years. If the Polestar 2 manages to capture the imagination of customers in a similar manner, we could see higher production in the coming years, but unless there is a substantially increased investment in battery supply, we're not sure it will approach that sort of volume any time soon.
Yes, the Polestar 2 has a rear hatch.
Finally, styling wise, the vehicles have similar philosophies, though with different execution. The Tesla Model 3 has soft exterior lines and carries some styling cues over from the Model S and Model X. It is known for its spare-but-comfortable interior that features a single display touch screen in the center of the dash.
Judging from the teaser images, the exterior lines of the Polestar 2 will be more crisp, and carry cues from the Polestar 1. We can only imagine the interior will also be somewhat spare, though stylish, with a "Scandinavian" feel. Though aesthetics are a very subjective thing, we expect we'll like it very much -- possibly more than the Model 3 which, to this writer at least, lacks a certain spark in the passenger compartment.
If you are a fan of the brand, or intend on buying or picking up a subscription, be sure and stop by the Polestar section of the InsideEVs Forum to share your enthusiasm and experiences. We believe this vehicle could be a smash hit and we look forward to it introducing lots of new folks to the electric driving experience.