Volvo’s performance electric car arm, Polestar, has given the public a first real-life view of its second generation all-electric SUV, overnight at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.
It follows an online presentation last week by the Swedish-Chinese electric carmaker, revealing a sleek, fastback-style vehicle with 78kWh battery, dual motors offering 300kW power combined and 330Nm torque, and a targeted 500km range that meets the likes of Tesla’s higher spec’d electric vehicles.
While the carmaker was at first adamant that the online presentation would suffice, it appears the publicity to be gained by being at what has shaped up to be a veritable festival of zero emissions vehicles was too good to pass up.
Received well, the Polestar 2 is likely to offer a more sophisticated experience than the first Polestar, which is a plug-in hybrid with a hefty price tag of €150,000 ($A240,000 at today’s rates), and for much less – its starting guide price is just €39,900 ($A63,720 at today’s rates) in Germany.
A first launch edition will cost considerably more however – a cool €59,900 ($A95,660 at today’s rates) in Germany and $US63,000 in the US before incentives ($A88,960 at today’s rates).
“Polestar 2 is our first fully electric car and first volume model. Everything about it has been designed and engineered with passion and dedication,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath in a statement.
“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.”
Buyers will be given the option to buy the electric fastback outright , or to pay a monthly subscription fee with a number of services included (such as connectivity), and then either return or upgrade the car at the end of the term, much like a mobile phone.
With an online store and configurator much like Tesla (which has just announced it will now only its sell electric cars online), the new Polestar 2 does indeed throw down the gauntlet to the Californian EV maker.
It’s automated software is also sophisticated, with functions including readying itself as the owner approaches, to adjusting the seats, mirrors and more according to the driver’s app settings on their phone, to switching on the motor when the owner settles in the driver’s seat.
“We are making it hassle-free and easier for customers to engage with the Polestar brand and enjoy their car. From finding out information about Polestar cars, through to subscribing for a new Polestar, all the way to starting your car using our Phone-as-Key technology – everything can be done through your mobile device,” says Ingenlath.
“The addition of the new Polestar Explore app brings our awesome new car configurator to a mobile platform with a simple and engaging interface.”
In addition to the ability to buy online, the Polestar 2 will also be available for those who like to look, see and touch, via a network of showrooms.
“At the same time, we continue our plans to create a global network of Polestar Spaces where our customers can visit us in person if they want to,” Ingenlath says.
Whether it will sell in the same numbers as Tesla’s best-selling Model 3 or its all-electric SUV, the Model Y, which is due to be unveiled next week (which Tesla CEO Elon Musk believes could have double the demand of the Model 3) is unlikely.
However, given the somewhat lower profile of the Polestar – it is the brand’s first EV after all – Ingenlath is determined: according to German motoring site Automobilewoche, at the Geneva Motor Show he said, “We clearly have our volume forecast…Tens of thousands is the ambition”.
Expected to enter production in early 2020 initially for a Chinese market, Polestar has also said it will be making the mass-market electric fastback in both left hand and right drive version – opening up the ability to make it available on the Australian market.
“It’s definitely touted to come to Australia,” Volvo Australia’s Greg Bosnich tells The Driven.
“We definitely want it to come here. It’s a matter of defining the exact timing…it will be roughly 6 months time [after other markets]”.
This article has been updated to add confirmation from Volvo Australia that yes, the Polestar 2 WILL come to Australia.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.