Background: Polestar is attacking the premium competition
Classy and different
The old Volvo spirit is back – noble and, above all, different. All of this makes Polestar, the electric sister brand, a little more modern and bolder than the veteran Swedes themselves. In the coming years, the former sports offshoot will bring an entire model range, regional production and, incidentally, autonomous driving functions.
Thomas Ingenlath was once head designer at Volvo Cars. But the former creative force with Volkswagen history has long since become much more as CEO of Polestar. The 59-year-old is leading the Chinese Swedes into a future that is modern, electric and, despite all the Chinese influences of parent company Geely, decidedly Scandinavian. Polestar – the smart way if you don’t want to drive an Audi, Mercedes, BMW or even a Porsche in everyday life. Polestar is chic, Polestar is classy and somehow different with its approach to sustainability. For a long time there was a problem with the right-wing products, because the Polestar 1 as a cool 600 hp coupé was a real show – but not a real Polestar, because the power hybrid was originally supposed to roll out to customers as a Volvo. Then everything changed and the Volvo Coupé received a Polestar badge.
Then the Polestar 2 came as a real debut in 2019 – not an electric SUV, but somewhat surprisingly a sedan, boldly cut with powerful power and a tight sports chassis. Just somehow different again. It took some time before the single player became a family. The Polestar range should be complete by 2026. The two new SUVs – the Polestar 3 and the also boldly styled Polestar 4 – are the linchpins. It shouldn’t stay that way, because from 2025 there will be a four-door Gran Turismo, the Polestar 5, and in 2026 there will even be an electric roadster that will convert the idea of the Polestar O2 into a series model that is well worth seeing. Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath: “With the launch of our two SUVs, Polestar 3 and Polestar 4, our portfolio grows from one car – the Polestar 2 – to three. The coming months will be among the most exciting in the history of our young company.”
But it’s not just about the vehicles, because that would hardly be enough to really be different from the competition. The Polestar 0 project aims to make a climate-neutral series vehicle a reality by 2030. This would put you a few years earlier than most competitors from the USA, Asia and Europe. Sustainability is a big issue at Polestar, but they don’t want to be relegated to the eco-corner. The new Polestar 4, which will also be manufactured in South Korea from next year, is available with a particularly elegant leather interior on request and there is plenty of performance to boot.
While the models for the Asian and European markets come from Chinese production in Hangzhou Bay, the Polestar 4 for the North American and South Korean markets comes from the Renault Korea Motors plant in Busan. RKM has corresponding cost advantages with its direct access to export ports and has 23 years of experience in vehicle manufacturing. South Korean manufacturing has set a goal of reducing its CO2 emissions by half by 2030 and aims to become climate neutral by 2024. “As the Polestar 3 is scheduled to go into production in Chengdu in early 2024 and in South Carolina in summer 2024,” says Thomas Ingenlath, “we will soon be producing in five factories in three countries, thereby supporting our global growth ambitions.”
The technical basis of the 4.84 meter long Polestar 4 is the Premium Sustainable Experience Architecture developed by the parent company Geely. Thanks to the wheelbase of 3.00 meters and the closed rear wall, the up to 544 hp electric model offers a lot of space for the occupants, especially in the rear – but no rear window. The lack of light is compensated for by variable ambient lighting and the panoramic roof that extends far to the rear. The idea of the missing rear window is not entirely new. “With the Polestar Precept we had already given a glimpse of a breathtaking new vehicle experience by doing away with the rear window for the first time,” said Polestar chief designer Maximilian Missoni, “at the same time, the rear head area, which plays an important role in safety moved further back.”
The Polestar 3, which is worth seeing, poaches the international competition with its striking design, variable interior and a 380 kW / 517 hp all-wheel drive, while the 111 kWh battery pack with its 204 prismatic cells in 17 modules is supposed to guarantee ranges of more than 600 kilometers. Even in the basic package, the Polestar 3 offers an impressive 360 kW / 489 HP / 840 Nm for a starting price of just under 90,000 euros. But Polestar fans are not the only ones who are already looking forward to the four-door sports sedan Polestar 5, which will compete against electric models such as a Mercedes EQE, a BMW i5 or the aging Tesla Model S from mid-2025. Following the example of the Precept concept study, it also does without a rear window.
In addition, all new Polestar models will receive highly automated driving functions. The Polestar 4 is said to be the first series vehicle in which the so-called Mobileye Chauffeur is used thanks to Luminar Lidar technology. Thanks to the camera-based supervision platform, autonomous driving on the highway should be possible. The Polestar 4 is equipped with three EyeQ6 processors, Luminar’s LiDAR and a radar that supplies the artificial intelligence on board with data.