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Polestar is sending its 1 hybrid coupé on a brand-building world tour that will begin at next month’s Geneva motor show and reach a climax at its public launch in the middle of next year.
Worldwide sale of the model, which is the first production car from Volvo’s new electric performance brand, will begin soon afterwards. It will be priced from £120,000 and is available only in left-hand drive.
According to newly appointed Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath, who also continues as Volvo’s design director, Polestar will become Volvo’s “technological spearhead” that, after the 1 hits the market, will make only all-electric performance cars. The company is preparing for a 2020 launch of the all-electric Polestar 2 crossover saloon that bears a very close relationship to Ingenlath’s Concept 40.2 already seen at motor shows. A full-sized Polestar 3 SUV will arrive after that.
The 1 coupé, which has an all-carbonfibre body based on a shortened S90 platform and just under 600bhp available from a front-mounted 2.0-litre turbo engine, plus twin electric motors on the rear axle, is very much a halo car. In Geneva, the 1 will be shown to a group of more than 100 potential customers who will then be invited to confirm their interest by submitting a deposit of €2500 (about £2227). The car will make more European appearances — possibly including a driving debut at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed — before heading to the US and then China, where a special manufacturing facility capable of handling carbonfibre structures is already under construction close to Volvo’s existing plant at Chengdu.
The 2 (imagined by Autocar below), an all-steel hatchback saloon that shares Volvo’s smaller CMA platform and uses the exterior design of the well-received Concept 40.2 car, will go into production late next year for sale in the early months of 2020. It will be made in both left and right-hand drive. Ingenlath won’t say where the car will be built but is keen to point out its suitability as a rival to Tesla’s Model 3. Polestar is understood to still be deciding the details of its powertrain design, although two electric motors (one front, one rear) are suggested. The car should cost “from €40,000” and have a practical driving range of about 200 miles.
The 3 (imagined by Autocar above), a radically styled, low-roof SUV that will use the next generation of Volvo’s SPA big-car platform and have a mixed aluminium and steel body construction, is understood to be heading for a 2022 launch and is likely to be made at the Chengdu factory. When all three models are selling as anticipated, Polestar volume could reach 80,000-90,000 cars annually (with the 1 accounting for 500 and the 2 around 50,000). Ingenlath says further models are being considered in areas that wouldn’t be mainstream enough to suit Volvo.
As well as developing its rule-breaking new models, Polestar is working on a bespoke marketing set-up aimed at increasing convenience for owners and moving beyond the traditionally adversarial customer-dealer relationship. Cars will be paid for by a monthly ‘subscription’ that includes insurance, servicing and possibly customer hire days (in case they need a van or fancy a sports car for a few days, for instance). Cars will be picked up from customers’ homes or workplaces and delivered back after servicing.
Polestar commercial director Jon Goodman expects to choose about 80 Polestar ‘spaces’ around the world to sell its cars, with around eight of them in the UK.
Polestar to take on Tesla with Model 3 rival and SUV by 2019