The Polestar 2 electric car will be priced from under $60,000, making its two, single motor variants eligible for the NSW and Victorian electric vehicle rebates of $3,000 and pitting it head to head with the Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus.
Official pricing announced on Friday by Volvo’s all-electric brand reveals that the Standard Range, single motor Polestar 2 with 64kWh battery, up to 440km range and a 165kW/330Nm motor will be available to order in early 2022 from $59,900 before on-road costs.
A long-range battery can be added to this configuration for an extra $5,000, delivering up to 540km range from a 78kWh battery and upping the power output to 170kW for $64,900 before on-roads.
The dual-motor variant with long-range battery likewise slides under the $70,000 mark, bringing the power output to 300kW and maximum torque to 660Nm.
The highly competitive pricing, which is coupled with a focus on environmental considerations, Volvo’s characteristic attention to safety as well as the Polestar 2’s sleek design and a guaranteed future value proposition, will offer Australia’s drivers wanting to make the switch to electric mobility another compelling option, says Polestar Australia managing director Samantha Johnson.
Pricing is well under what was expected based on European pricing announced in early September, which suggested that Australian pricing could start at the $75,000 mark.
These are still relatively expensive prices for the average new car buyer, however.
But with a clear majority of Australians wanting stronger action on climate change and a net-zero target by 2050, Polestar makes it clear it understands that if drivers are to jump into a higher price bracket for their next vehicle, it must be transparent on its sustainability claims.
Having already released a report making transparent the climate impact of its first all-electric model, Polestar says each vehicle will come with a “Product Sustainability Declaration” that will flag metals traced via blockchain, and also the carbon footprint of the product via the lifecycle assessment findings.
“We use blockchain technology to make sure we can trace supply chain materials,” says Johnson. This is done through a partnership with blockchain provider Circulor, which allows it to track the recycled cobalt used in its batteries and identify ethical and environmental risks associated with other materials such as nickel, manganese, graphite and lithium.
It also allows for greenhouse gas tracking, which the company says delivers a more accurate emissions footprint than using generic database information.
“We’re trying to be very open about what we’re doing,” says Johnson. And it wants to make its sustainable jounrey more local, also. While the company is currently recycling materials overseas, turning them into smartphones and laptops, it is looking to establich a local partnership to recycle batteries on Australian soil.
“Polestar was the first carmaker in the world to chase recycled material like cobalt,” she says. “We’re talking with authorities in Australia, and working with the Battery Stewardship Council on recycling of batteries …. to see what opportunities there are in Australia to do that.”
“It’s really important that we do bring EVs into Australia that people take up – it’s such as good thing for lowering emissions,” she said.
While its sustainability credentials will no doubt assure potential drivers, Polestar’s attention to sophistication and technology promises to seduce, says Johnson.
While Polestar’s engineering team has had a hand in Volvo models such as the XC60 Recharge and S60 Recharge plug-in hybrids, this is a more sophisticated, emissions-free vehicle says Johnson.
“They’re beautiful cars – every detail on the outside and the inside is meticulously designed,” she says. This includes details like an 11-inch touchscreen that responds as you move your hand towards it, and the use of the Android Automotive infotainment system with Google Play included.
A local streaming service is also being looked at to satisfy those after a “laptop-on-wheels” experience, and for the inner geek Polestar is planning “hackathons” to encourage local developers to build apps such as games and charging point locators.
As with overseas, a suite of premium packs allows drivers to add on features from a safety pack known as “Pilot”, a premium trim and heat pump “Plus” pack and a “Performance” pack.
The $5,000 Pilot pack adds 360-surround view, adaptive cruise control, all-round parking sensors, blind-spot and cross-traffic alert, rear collision warnings and front fog lights, while the $6,000 Plus pack adds premium heated wiper blades, WeaveTech vegan upholstery, interior illumination, panoramic sunroof, power seats with memory , inductive charging for phones, 12 volt power and a heat pump.
The heat pump will be invaluable for cold weather drivers, reducing climate control requirements by 50% and up to 10% extra range.
The Performance pack – which is only available for the dual motor variant – includes adjustable Öhlins dampers, Brembo brakes, forged 20-inch alloy wheels and signature ‘Swedish gold’ details inside and out for $8,000.
While all these push the price up even further, Johnson says Polestar is putting together a future value guarantee that it thinks will make the Polestar an even more compelling proposition for drivers.
And while a subscription model that would allow customers to avoid the immediate upfront sticker price touted previously by the company is not yet confirmed, it is being considered.
“At the moment we’re building in required loans and guaranteed future value product, to provide surety for consumers on residual value,” she says.
While she wouldn’t be drawn on what that future value might be, she said, “We’ve had market assessments on residual values and I can say residual values are quite strong. The market is very strong for pre-owned vehicles generally because of supply constraints.”
A deal with charging networks is not yet confirmed. But, says Johnson, “I think consumers want choice as well.”
“We’re working with potential partners to understand if we will have an offer and what that looks like.”
Drivers will soon have the chance to see, touch and feel the Polestar 2 at a number of locations in capital cities and centres that will be announced in coming months. There is also a roadshow planned although its timing and path will be announced closer to date pending Covid restrictions.
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 Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.