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Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s performance brand, this week revealed its future as a new standalone electric performance brand. The company also unveiled the 600-horsepower Polestar 1, the company’s first car, which is set to roll off the production line in mid-2019.
Polestar also confirmed plans for its first three models, a new purpose-built production facility in China and a customer-focused route to market that will set a new industry benchmark for performance vehicles, according to the company.
The Polestar 1 will form a halo for the future Polestar brand. The Polestar 1 is a two-door, 2+2 seat grand tourer coupé with an electric performance hybrid drivetrain. An electric car supported by an internal combustion engine, it has a range of 93 miles on pure electric power alone. Its output of 600hp and 1000Nm of torque places the car firmly in the performance car segment.
Polestar 1 benefits from a host of new technologies. The car will be fitted with the all-new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) advanced chassis technology. A carbon fiber body reduces bodyweight and improves torsional stiffness by 45 percent, as well as lowering the car’s center of gravity.
Additionally, Polestar 1 uses a double electric rear axle which enables torque vectoring. This supports the driver with precise acceleration on each wheel to keep the maximum road grip and maintain speed while cornering.
Polestar 1 will go in production in mid-2019, and will be closely followed later in 2019 by a smaller vehicle named Polestar 2.
The Polestar 2 will be the first fully-electric car launched by Volvo Car Group, and the first of a total of five fully electric Polestar- or Volvo-branded vehicles to be launched between 2019 and 2021. It will be a mid-sized BEV, joining the competition around the Tesla Model 3, and with consequently higher volumes than Polestar 1, according to Volvo.
All future cars from Polestar will have a fully electric powertrain. The initial phase of the Polestar product roll out will then be completed by the subsequent arrival of a larger SUV-style BEV, the Polestar 3, which will create a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics, according to the company.
Volvo Cars and its owner Geely Holding jointly invested $756 million to support the initial phase of Polestar’s product, brand and industrial development.
The investment will be used, among other things, to establish a state-of-the-art Polestar manufacturing facility in Chengdu, China, marking a new chapter in the development of China as a manufacturing hub for Volvo Cars. The Polestar 1 and 2 are planned for production at that facility.
The new facility will radically shorten the time Polestar needs to commercially launch its cars, giving it a strategic advantage compared to competitors, according to the company. Volvo Cars and Polestar will also benefit from synergies in the development of next generation technologies such as shared procurement costs, joint development and economies of scale.
With China as a driving force behind the electrification of the global car industry, Polestar will spearhead the development of new technologies and enhance Volvo Cars’ leadership within electrification and connectivity, according to the car company.
Polestar also will move away from today’s traditional ownership model. Cars will be ordered 100 percent online and offered on a two- or three-year subscription basis. The zero-deposit, all-inclusive subscription will add features such as pick-up and delivery servicing and the ability to rent alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar range, all incorporated into one monthly payment.
The flat rate subscription means that having a Polestar car becomes a hassle-free experience for the customer, according to Volvo. This is facilitated by Phone-As-Key technology. It allows the owner to share a virtual key with a third party, and also enables access to a host of other on-demand features. This concierge service ensures that the customer only needs to focus on the enjoyment of driving.
The ordering and configuration of Polestar cars will be conducted online via a Polestar app or online portal. However, Polestar recognizes that customers still want to physically engage with the brand so Polestar will open a network of Polestar Spaces around the world. This is where future Polestar customers can interact with products and the brand. Polestar Spaces will be standalone facilities and not within existing Volvo retailer showrooms, according to the company.
The order books for the new Polestar 1 opened Oct. 17.
Volvo Cars announced this summer that from 2019 every new Volvo-branded car launched will have an electric motor, making it the first established car company to fully embrace electrification and place it at the core of its future business.