All-electric brand Polestar is setting its sights on breaking the ICE – short for internal combustion engine – with the release of its Polestar 2 in Australia in coming weeks and a new selling strategy that focuses on flexible pricing, “guaranteed values” and a familiar Google interface.
The brand, which is owned by Geely and shares its compact modular platform (CMA) with Volvo, will start taking pre-orders for the Polestar 2 in late 2021 after test drives kick off in Sydney in mid-November. First deliveries will commence in February 2022.
The EV maker has “aggressive, high ambitions” to make a direct impact on the local auto market, says Polestar Australia CEO Samantha Johnson, and intends to achieve this via a multi-pronged attack.
Polestar is not shy in admitting that in the EV market its chief competitor is Tesla, but notes that its focus is on attracting owners of premium European brands such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW rather than Tesla customers.
This way, it says it can stay true to its mission of sustainability – which involves a climate-neutral course that includes transparency on manufacturing emissions – as the Polestar 2 replaces new ICE cars as opposed to other electric models.
The Polestar 2 is a sleek electric fastback that starts at $59,900 for a single motor standard range variant and rises to $79,900 for a dual-motor long-range variant. It can be further upgraded with a choice of packs ranging from $5,000 to $8,000 to add performance, driving assist or premium trim features.
Guaranteed future value
After its pricing structure, top of the list is the “guaranteed future value” product that seeks to take the worry out of lease customers over a possible fall in value. A similar product will also be implemented by VW Group’s Cupra when it enters the market with the electric Cupra Born in 2022.
According to Polestar’s Johnson, this means that at the end of a lease period if the vehicle’s market value is less than promised, the vehicle can be returned to the company for a guaranteed value.
“Encouraging consumers to move from an engine over to an EV, we want to give them some comfort,” Johnson said. “Offering them a guaranteed future value finance product gives them a peace of mind on the residual value for that vehicle.”
Customers will also no doubt be assured that Volvo’s already extensive service network is also available for the Polestar 2 in Australia.
Another point of difference that Polestar hopes will win over drivers is the inclusion of Android Automotive in the Polestar 2, which differs from Android Auto in that it is not merely a phone-mirroring system.
Instead, Polestar has worked directly with Google to create an interface that will allow smart vehicle and smart home to integrate as never before – assuming the smart home uses Google products, of course. Importantly for iPhone owners perhaps, they won’t need to move phone to experience the exact same integration in the vehicle.
“(Our aim was) to make that seamless experience in the car,” says Polestar boss Thomas Ingenlath.
By partnering with Google, Polestar says that it opens up possibilities for developers who want to use Android’s platform to create open source products for the car.
Already, the ABRP (A Better Route Planner) developers have approached the company and the app has been rolled out to Polestar cars overseas. Polestar expects more such apps will come and plans to hold “hackathons” to encourage more.
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.