Polestar, Volvo Car Group’s performance arm, has revealed its future as a new standalone electric performance brand. Polestar has confirmed the company’s first three models, a new purpose-built production facility in China and a new, customer-focused route to market with all-inclusive subscription-based services that will set a new industry benchmark for performance car buyers.
The company’s first car, Polestar 1, will start production in mid-2019. As an Electric Performance Hybrid, the car can travel up to 150 km on pure electric power alone – the longest full-electric range of any hybrid car on the market. In combination with its four-cylinder Volvo Drive-E engine, the Polestar 1 delivers 448 kW and 1 000 Nm of torque, placing the car firmly within the performance car segment.
Polestar will act as a technology spearhead for the Volvo Car Group, bringing new technology and performance attributes to market. At the same time, Polestar will benefit from technological and engineering synergies within Volvo Cars and significant economies of scale as a result. These synergies will allow Polestar to accelerate the design, development, and building of its electrified performance cars.
Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar, says: “Polestar 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar badge 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".
Pure Progressive Performance
The first car from Polestar, named Polestar 1, will be the halo model for the future Polestar brand. The Polestar 1 is a two-door, 2+2 seater Grand Tourer Coupé with an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain. A maximum of 500 cars per year will be built. All cars will be offered on a subscription basis, with customers benefitting from the convenience of a single, all-inclusive payment that can be topped up by additional on-demand services if required.
A further example of the technology spearhead role is an all-new double electric motor system driving both rear wheels, connected together by planetary gears. Producing 163 kW, plus the support of an Integrated Starter Generator, the Polestar 1 in Pure mode, is a rear-wheel drive electric performance car with up to 150 km of electric range. This range ensures that many customers will only ever use the car in full electric mode.
For those needing increased range, or wanting to exploit the full performance attributes of the Polestar 1, the double electric rear motors combine with a two-liter four-cylinder Volvo Drive-E petrol engine, powering the front wheels. In Power mode, the Polestar 1 delivers a total of 448 kW and 1 000 Nm of torque.
Ingenlath continues: “The Polestar 1 is an Electric Performance 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 Performance Electric 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”.
When the driver enters the first corner in the Polestar 1, the car further differentiates itself from its electric car competitors. This is what Polestar defines as Progressive Performance. Polestar’s experience of fitting Öhlins suspension to all its previous performance road cars has been harnessed, with Polestar 1 fitted with a state-of-the-art chassis, including the all-new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi) – the world’s first car to be fitted with such advanced chassis technology.
Each Öhlins shock absorber is fitted with a new electronic valve, installed for the first time on any road car in conjunction with Öhlins shock absorbers. The valve constantly monitors the driver inputs and road surface conditions, reacting in two milliseconds, to immediately change the ride characteristics to the prevailing demands. For the first time on an Öhlins suspension setup, the driver can also make changes to the suspension settings within the car, constantly able to tailor the chassis damping and ride quality to their own requirements.
Complementing the suspension technology is a powerful braking system to provide the driver with total confidence in all driving situations. Manufactured by Akebono, the 6-piston brake calipers and 400-millimetre discs provide maximum stopping capability. The weight distribution of 48F:52R also ensures the car delivers class-leading handling.
The Polestar 1 also brings other new technologies to market for the Group. Thanks to the double electric rear axle’s planetary gears, torque vectoring features for the first time, separating the power from each of the electric rear motors to drive the car through corners, rather than conventional traction control systems that brake the inner rear wheel, slowing the car in bends.
“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,” says Thomas Ingenlath.
A contemporary approach for modern performance customers
Polestar brings a fresh approach to taking vehicles to market, removing all the hassle and allowing the customer to focus on what’s important: the driving experience.
At the heart of the Polestar customer offer is a monthly subscription model. This all-inclusive, no deposit, flat monthly payment ensures that the customer need never concern themselves with the inconvenience or cost of depreciation, insurance and maintenance, and all Polestars will be offered on this basis.
The subscription also includes pick-up and delivery servicing where Polestar contacts the customer to arrange a convenient time for scheduled maintenance. It will also consists of a number of car rental days and access to a range of concierge services.
Polestar also recognises that its customers can’t always plan their future motoring requirements. For this reason, Polestar on-demand services are available. Simply ordered online or through a Polestar app and added to the one monthly invoice, further reducing the ‘hassle’ traditionally associated with car usage.
Polestar’s own Phone-as-Key technology is the main enabler of these concierge services. With an easy-to-use app for Apple or Android devices, the driver can gain access to the car without using a key if required. More importantly, the app allows the owner to virtually pass a key to a third-party concierge or driver to facilitate the collection of the car to re-charge it, service it and more, without the owner ever leaving their home or office.
“Our vision is that the Polestar subscription model and services that we will offer will define the Polestar brand as much as our cars will. Services that exceed the needs, desires and expectations of the premium performance car customer are at the heart of Polestar, removing the inconvenience of ownership and allowing customers to purely concentrate on the pleasure of driving a Polestar car,” says Jonathan Goodman, Chief Operating Officer of Polestar.
Polestar Production Centre
Polestar cars will be built in China. To facilitate this, Volvo Cars has formed a joint venture with two companies within its parent company, Zhejiang Geely Holding. The new Polestar 1 will be built in a state-of-the-art, purpose-built Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu, China. Currently under construction and due for completion in mid-2018, the new Polestar Production Centre has been carefully created together with international award-winning Norwegian architects Snöhetta.
When complete, the new Polestar Production Centre will be the most environmentally-responsible car factory in China, and one of the most efficient in the world, with a target of Gold status in the globally-recognised LEED ratings (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).
“Our new Polestar Production Centre is no ordinary car factory,” concludes Polestar COO, Jonathan Goodman. “It is designed for the low volume production of Polestar 1 but is also being designed to cater for the larger volumes of the future. The Production Centre has also been designed to act as a strong representation of our brand as well as a state-of-the-art production facility”.
For more information visit volvocars.com/za. All images © Polestar, Volvo Car Group.