Volvo Car Group’s new performance brand.
Volvo has undergone some serious changes over the past decade. The automaker was purchased by Geely but it was still kept as a Swedish brand. Under this new ownership came new designs, technology, and more revenue. The automotive industry also changed with automakers focusing more on hybrid and electric technology. Volvo Car Group’s performance wing, Polestar, has gone from making high-performance and racing gasoline-powered vehicles to now being the hybrid and electric performance brand. After much anticipation, the brand released their first car: the Polestar 1.
The new Polestar 1 is the start of a new era for Volvo Car Group and Geely. The Polestar 1 is the first car from the newly-reinvented performance brand and is considered an electric car with the support of an internal combustion engine. Polestar also announced two other vehicles that will be Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) set to be produced after 2019.
“Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar on the bonnet. A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it – a great start for our new Polestar brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar.
The new Polestar 1 is a two-door 2+2 grand tourer with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ system. The new performance car is based on Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) with approximately 50-percent new and bespoke parts. It’s also shorter in length and wheelbase than the S90, giving it more athletic and muscular proportions.
Powering the Polestar 1 is an all-new double electric motor system that drives the rear wheels and is connected by planetary gears. These motors are supported by an Integrated Starter Generator and produce 218 horsepower. In Pure mode, the Polestar 1 has an all-electric range of up to 150 km (93 miles). When drivers need full performance, the Volvo Drive-E 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline engine is engaged and powers the front wheels in Power Mode. This mode results in a combined 600 horsepower and 738 lb-ft. of torque between the front and rear wheels.
“The Polestar 1 is a Performance Electric Hybrid, but with the longest pure electric range of any hybrid car in the world, we consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine. All future cars from Polestar will be Electric Performance Vehicles but the Polestar 1 bridges today’s technology with the future, offering the perfect drivetrain for a Grand Touring Coupé that’s likely to be used over longer distances as well as shorter, faster, enjoyable journeys,” said Ingenlath.
While the Electric Performance Hybrid drivetrain is one of the main highlights for the Polestar 1, the Polestar team also put a great deal of engineering into the suspension to make it a real driver’s car. Polestar drew upon its experience with racing Volvo models and partnered with Öhlins to create a state-of-the-art chassis. The Polestar 1 features the all-new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) and is the first of its kind.
The new CESi on the Polestar 1 utilizes Öhlins shock absorbers with electronic valves for the first time on a road car. The valve reads driver inputs and monitors the road surface, and reacts accordingly in just 2 milliseconds. Drivers can also change the suspension settings at the touch of a button for the first time on a vehicle with an Öhlins suspension. This is combined with new Akebono six-piston brake calipers and 400 mm discs. Instead of a traditional brake-controlled torque vectoring, the Polestar 1 takes advantage of the rear axle’s planetary gears to increase and decrease power between the rear wheels to power the car out of corners. This helps differentiate the Polestar 1 from other electric performance vehicles with what the brand calls ‘Progressive Performance’.
This Progressive Performance can also be seen in the construction of the Polestar 1. The 48:52 front to rear weight distribution and low center of gravity gives drivers a more nimble and athletic driving experience that shines in the corners compared to other electric performance vehicles. The major body parts are made from lightweight carbon fiber that results in a total reduction of 507 lbs. along with a higher torsional rigidity.
“Most electric cars are fast – that’s a product of the attributes of an electric motor. However, for Polestar, performance is far more holistic than just straight-line speed. It’s about acceleration, of course, but it’s also about cornering, braking, suspension control, chassis feedback and steering feel. This is what Polestar calls Progressive Performance,” said Ingenlath.
The new Polestar 1 will be have a production limit of 500 cars per year and be offered on a subscription basis with on-demand services also available. The new Polestar 1 is currently available for order. The Polestar 2 will be the first BEV from the Volvo Car Group and be a mid-sized, fully-electric car competing with the likes of the Tesla Model 3. Production will begin before the end of 2019 with a volume that exceeds that of the Polestar 1. The Polestar 3 will be a larger SUV-style BEV and slot between the Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 with volume and pricing. All Polestar models after the Polestar 1 will be full-electric vehicles.
The new Polestar models will be available through a revolutionary buying experience centered on a monthly subscription payment. The flat monthly payment is all-inclusive with no deposit and takes away the hassle of depreciation, insurance, and maintenance. The subscription also includes a Polestar pick-up and delivery servicing plan where Polestar contacts customers, schedules, and provides rentals and concierge services. If a customer needs an upgrade such as a roof box for a short-term trip, they can schedule and pay Polestar to supply, install, and remove the box for a fee in addition to their monthly subscription. This also applies to vehicles as well if a customer needs a larger or different option for a period of time. Customers can also book car washes and valets as part of the service.
Polestar also offers an innovative smartphone key app for Apple and Android users that allows them to access the vehicle without a key. The app also gives owners the ability to virtually pass a key to a third-party concierge or driver for servicing and charging if needed.
The Polestar subscription service will be a fixed two- or three-year term. At the conclusion, the car is returned and Polestar delivers the next vehicle, with the used model refurbished for a secondary subscription or pre-owned vehicle.
Each Polestar model will be produced at the new Polestar Production Center in Chengdu, China at a purpose-built facility set to be completed mid-2018. The new center has been designed by award-winning architects from Norway and will be built with a joint venture between Zhejiang Geely Holding and Volvo Cars. Upon its completion, the new Polestar Production Facility will be the most environmentally-friendly car factory in Chine and one of the most efficient in the world.
Polestar 1 Gallery