Polestar's Model 3 Fighter

by Michael Satterfield

Polestar reveled the Polestar 2, their new all-electric compact that is squarely aimed at the Tesla Model 3 with a projected starting price of just over $45,000 and similar performance numbers, premium electric car shoppers will have a new choice in this fast-growing segment. A special launch edition available for the first 12 months at over $63,000, putting in Jaguar I-PACE territory. Polestar, like all electric manufacturers, is promoting the price less the federal incentive of $7,500 which makes the advertised price for the launch edition $55,500 stateside.

The compact five-door fastback is based on a Volvo chassis and sports two electric motors powered by a 78kWh battery that gives the 2 a projected range of 275 miles. The all-wheel-drive electric powertrain produces 300 kW (408 hp) and 660 Nm (487 lb-ft). This translates to a 0-62mph time of less than 5 seconds.

Like Tesla, the Polestar 2 has a performance version, the Performance Pack gets Öhlins dampers, Brembo brakes and unique 20-inch forged wheels, as well as gold seat belts, brake callipers and valve caps to complete the performance visuals. Polestar says that the 2 is the first car to directly compete with the Tesla Model 3 on range, performance, technology, and price. On paper, the Polestar 2 and Tesla Model 3 are very close, but it will be nice to see them tested head to head. 

“Polestar 2 is our first fully electric car and first volume model. Everything about it has been designed and engineered with passion and dedication. As an electric performance brand, and through the forthcoming launch of a portfolio of fully electric cars, Polestar is determined to address the world’s air quality challenges. Polestar delivers electric performance cars that are great to own and drive,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar.

Polestar is also rolling out a network of "strategic collaborations" which they claim will offer owners hassle-free access to the world’s largest public charging networks, but what that means for US drivers is unclear as Tesla has been the only automaker at this point to invest in building an extensive charging network.

As expected the Polestar is packed full of new technology like Phone-as-Key, something I tested at Bosch last year, which allows you to grant and deny access to the car via a smartphone app, it worked well when I tested it and I expect we will see it offered on more cars in the future. If you are an Apple user you might run into a few minor issues as the entire infotainment system is powered by Android and the car comes with embedded Google services including the Google Assistant, Google Maps with support for electric vehicles and the Google Play Store, all controlled via the 11-inch touch screen display or by voice commands. 

Maximilian Missoni, head of Design at Polestar, comments: “We decided to bring something different to the segment. Our avant-garde design has evolved from Polestar 1 into an edgier, bolder statement. We have also designed a standard vegan interior with progressive textiles that will appeal to the forward-thinking audience who will subscribe to Polestar 2.”

The Pixel LED headlights, standard on US and Canadian models, and proximity lighting perform a welcome lighting sequence which will make getting into your Polestar an event. While the signature frameless side mirrors and the unique illuminated Polestar logo carry over from the Polestar 1.

Like the Polestar 1, you will only be able to order the Polestar 2 online, currently, pre-orders are open at polestar.com with a subscription service rolling out at a later date. If you want to see one in person your first chance is at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show in March, and then embark on a global roadshow in Europe, North America, and China throughout 2019. Polestar 2 will also be available in a network of soon-to-be-opened Polestar Spaces that will provide physical viewing and test drive opportunities.

Production of Polestar 2 begins in early 2020 in China for global markets in both left- and right-hand drive. With initial launch markets to include China, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the UK.