The @ILuvAmp team had the opportunity to test drive the new Polestar 2 EV (www.polestar.com) in Santa Monica, CA today. If you are not already aware, Polestar is a spin-off from Volvo that represents their EV line of cars.
Polestar is taking reservations to take a half-hour solo test drive of their Performance configured Polestar 2. After signing a release form, you are handed the keys and can take off on any route you like. Kory and I elected to take our test drive up Hwy 1 from Santa Monica up into Malibu and back. This offered us street, some highway, and a good sample of curvy roads and hills.
Gallery: Polestar 2 Test Drive
The Polestar 2 is an aggressive-looking “5-door sedan” with wrap-around head & taillights, blacked-out “grill,” and a front integrated spoiler. There are six colors available, ours was called Magnesium which is a light silver metallic. The only “free” color is Void (black), while the other colors will put you back $1,200.
We drove the Performance Edition which includes Öhlins Dual Flow Valves dampers, Gold Caliper Brembo brakes, 20” Y Spoke Black Alloy Wheels, Gold Seat Belts front and rear, and a High gloss black expansive roof.
Some cool additional features are the frameless exterior mirrors which are auto-dimming & foldable and hands-free power-operated tailgate.
Charging is on the left rear and supports AC and DC Fast Charging
Our interior was Charcoal WeaveTech with Black Ash deco trim. It uses recycled materials and is vegan. The only leather option available is a tan/beige Napa Leather for an additional charge of $4,000, but it does get you ventilated seats. You have two large screens, like the Tesla Model S, typical info screen behind the steering wheel and a large vertical screen in the center. Infotainment is powered by Android Automotive. What sets this apart from Android Auto found in other cars is that the Car’s entire infotainment UI is Android itself, not simply an App like Android Auto/Apple CarPlay. The car recognizes you via your phone and adapts by implementing your preferred seat position and preferred home screen apps. Homelink™ is included (Tesla, are you listening?). The center screen is still a work in progress and lacks the option for Apple CarPlay (coming mid-2021 via OTA update).
Premium audio is provided by Harman/Kardon, includes FM, Spotify, and Bluetooth streaming. I did not see an option for SiriusXM, but we assume there will be downloads from the Google Play store for other streaming services. Currently, Bluetooth audio does not support album art or song lyrics from the iPhone we connected with.
Inductive 15W for smartphone charging and 4 USB-C connectors are included and LED lighting is used throughout.
Having Volvo heritage, the Polestar 2 comes with a winter package that includes heated seats, steering wheel and wiper blades.
Overall, there was very little road noise inside and the seats were very comfortable, offering amazing lumbar support.
The Polestar skate has two Electric Motors (300 kW / 408hp) on the rear and front axle with a combined 487 ft-lb of torque and an EPA estimated range of 233 miles / WLTP rating of 292 miles. Many articles we have read have stated that to get the best “real-world range,” just take an average of the EPA and WLTP rating (here, 262.5 miles); however, this will be highly dependent on how one drives the vehicle. Range is low compared to Tesla, but similar to others like the Audi e-tron and Jaguar I-PACE.
Acceleration is fast and progressive. 0-60 in 4.7 sec, while not neck-snapping like a Tesla Model 3 Performance, is definitely capable of beating many ICE vehicles off the line.
Handling and performance feels like a Sports Sedan, think BMW M5 or Mercedes-AMG, but unlike an ICE car, the Polestar 2 supports one-pedal driving. You really do not need to use the brakes for typical driving, and the Polestar 2 supports “hold” mode when stopped. Brakes are reserved for more aggressive driving or maybe a track day.
Pilot Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control & Driver support with 360° Camera are included. We tried this on PCH, and it is behind Tesla AutoPilot, as the system often told us to take control while going around the curves of Malibu. We did not get to try Pilot Assist on the freeway, so our experience may not have been the best representation of the viability of its use.
Team ILuvAmp take
If you have an ICE and are looking for a second car, or you mostly commute around town and want to get into EVs, the Polestar 2 would make a fantastic vehicle. The ability to avoid the pump and charge at home for a fraction of the cost of gas is a huge benefit. We recommend giving the vehicle a chance, as what you compromise in range and charge convenience, you gain in build quality. Also, unlike Tesla, Polestar has the full $7,500 tax credit available, and your state may have other incentives. See https://pluginamerica.org/why-go-plug-in/state-federal-incentives/
If you plan on using your EV for long commutes or taking road trips, it’s our recommendation you consider the Tesla Model 3 or Y. The range and available charging for the Polestar will limit your ability for reliable stress-free trips until the infrastructure catches up to Tesla. See www.plugshare.com or https://www.electrifyamerica.com/ for the current charging infrastructure.
Kirk Nason is a Climate Reality Leader and longtime EV Advocate who is often seen taking extended road trips in his Tesla Model X 100D
Kory Nason is a car enthusiast, M.B.A. Graduate and J.D. Candidate, 2022.
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