POLESTAR 1: a new electric rising star from Volvo

High performance hybrid

The same country that gave us the infuriation of building flat packed furnitures and, conversely, the pleasure of owning a Saab and a dependable Volvo, has a new star rising her head from the pole country.

Chronology

2009 – Polestar became the official partner of Volvo, tasked simply to assist Volvo to enhance and design new breed of cars with enhanced performance.

2013 – We were given S60 and V60 Polestars, the company’s first production road cars.

2015 – Polestar was bought by Volvo. However, that’s not where the story ends. Volvo announced Polestar would develop and deliver high-performance hybrid and electric cars under the Polestar banner as an independent brand.

So, for all those still not convinced, this is absolutely “not a Volvo”.

So, what is it?

The Polestar 1 is being marketed as an “Electric Performance Hybrid”, and will make use of a 338bhp 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine powering the front wheels. A starter motor generator will inject a further 39bhp, and electric motors will send 215bhp to the rear axle.

That means total power reaches 592bhp, with torque hitting 1,000Nm. The Polestar 1 will be capable of 0-60mph in under 4 seconds. The company has even more goodies in the pipeline in in form of Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 (OK, so no points on naming originality).

The Polestar 1 has double wishbone front suspension, connecting each wheel with two transverse links. This design enables the front suspension to counteract torque steer, delivering a neutral balance with a minimum of unwanted understeer. In addition to these benefits, most suspension parts are made of aluminium, to reduce weight.

 

The rear suspension is an integral link design, a unique solution to the Polestar 1 – with a transverse composite leaf spring, replacing traditional coil springs. This design delivers neutrally balanced cornering characteristics, minimum roll and low levels of noise, vibration and harshness.

Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar, in a recent press release says, “With over 7,000 people interested in owning a Polestar 1 since its reveal, we are extremely encouraged by the passion shown for our product. We will now take the next steps towards delivering this beautiful car to our first customers.”

The Snag

Yes, there are few irritations that we should mention.

The brand’s success will depend on enticing an audience looking for an alternative to the regular performance brands. These will be and one willing to pay a premium for it. So, the brand will bash heads directly with Tesla, which already has a massive follower base.

The Polestar 1 will hit the showrooms in mid-2019 with a limited production run of up to 500 units per year. The high-performance coupe is being built at a new facility in China, and while it will be available in the UK as well as China, North America and seven other countries across Europe, it will only come in left-hand drive. Mustang built and created a right hand drive version, just to break into UK market, having a left hand drive, will not help the sales figures.

The pre-order process involves a fully-refundable €2,500 deposit, which serves as a placeholder in the queue for a Polestar 1, does this remind you of any one? Yes, Tesla and we know how that played out.

The big snag, it’s the price. If you want to forgo and buy it outright, the Polestar 1 will be priced from €155,000 (£135,500). It doesn’t matter if the car comes with a double wishbone front suspension, or parts of the car is made of aluminium to reduce weight, or by driving it more of Al Gore’s polar bears will be saved. That is an astounding amount, this is Tesla territory again.

So do you pay £135,500 for Polestar 1, or ~£140,000 for Tesla S model, or do you simply save yourself some serious cash and spend £80,000 and buy a BMW M5 which is a better car, and in the UK comes in with right hand drive.

The choice is yours.

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