Polestar, the electric car brand owned by Volvo’s parent Geely, has started production of the Polestar 2 in Luqiao, China, while car makers around the world grind to a stand still due to the Covid-19 crisis.
First models of the Polestar 2 are now rolling off the assembly line, bound first for Europe and then for China and US markets, the company said in an announcement on Tuesday.
Auto makers have ground to a halt in many areas of the world, including in Europe, the US and China. But the spread of Covid-19 in China has reportedly plateaued, according to official data, thanks to tough isolation and quarantine measures, allowing production to go ahead – albeit with precautionary measures.
“The world is facing enormous upheaval in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic,” said Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath.
“We start production now under these challenging circumstances, with a strong focus on the health and safety of our people. This is a great achievement and the result of huge efforts from the staff in the factory and the team securing the supply chain. I have a huge amount of respect for the entire team – thanks to them!”
“Being able to produce in Luqiao means we are able to bring Polestar 2 to market with high build and quality standards right from the beginning,” said Ingenlath.
The Polestar 2 is the first all-electric vehicle to be borne out of the electric car offshoot that sprung from Volvo’s original plug-in hybrid Polestar, and the all-electric 5-door lift-back promises to lay down a challenge to other brands such as Tesla.
It has a 78kWh battery which Polestar says will offer up to 500km driving range and 300kW (combined) dual motors delivering a hefty 660Nm torque, and its price will start in Europe at €39,900 ($A72,403 converted). And, as we reported in May 2019, it will also be offered on a subscription model.
The Polestar 2 will also come with world-class connectivity, powered by a built-in Android infotainment system featuring Google Maps, Google Assistant and the Google Play Store.
It is understood that the Polestar is slated for a release in Australia in late 2020, and while a price has not yet been set for Australia, it is understood that Volvo will be targeting sales of 1,800 vehicles in Australia in its first 12 months from release, and will also be available via a Tesla-like online purchase model including showrooms as opposed dealerships.
Chinese Volvo owner and Daimler partner Geely has also been chipping in on the effort to contain the novel Coronavirus.
German auto site Automobilewoch reported on Monday (Europe time) that staff at Geely headquarters in Hangzhou near Shanghai started loading protective equipment and test kits headed for Germany and Sweden, and was also considering sending equipment to Malaysia, where the group is active through its Malaysian automotive subsidiary Proton.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.