The Geneva motor show was abuzz this year with the unveiling of numerous electric vehicles that promise to bring a dash of flair and excitement to a subject that has previously been dominated by topics of social responsibility and rationality.
In the centre of the hubbub sat an imposingly sleek and minimalistic stand that housed Polestar’s upcoming Model 2 – a car that promises to realign any preconceptions surrounding EVs. “In contrast to our Polestar 1 model that featured a performance hybrid system, Polestar 2 is fully electric and sets the tone for all future Polestar cars,” explains Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar.
“The launch edition features a 300kW (408hp) all-wheel drive powertrain, a long-range battery with a target range of 500km (311 miles) on the more stringent WLTP test cycle and a very high level of specification. The 0-100 km/h (0-62mph) sprint is achieved in 4.7 seconds, proving our focus on electric performance,” Ingenlath adds.
Despite its practical five-door fastback body style, which allows generous room for five adults and their luggage, Polestar wants to cement its reputation as a producer of engaging electric vehicles.
“Customers will be able to option a Performance Pack to their practical everyday car, which adds an extra level of dynamic performance on top of the standard performance chassis. This will include Öhlins dampers, Brembo brakes, 20-inch forged wheels and our signature gold detailing,” Ingenlath says.
Inside, Polestar introduces a world first in the stunning 11-inch Android infotainment system that brings the power of an Android operating system and Google services into the car, rather than merely running an app as an afterthought.
“Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Play Store will all be available on the system, while Polestar 2 also features an on-board SIM card, which enables the permanent Internet connection and over-the-air updates (OTA), as well as all the benefits of the Google services. This means that the Android platform and all the apps that run on it are always update, much like a mobile phone,” Ingenlath adds.
Unlike the Polestar 1, which was an exercise in lightweight and featured large amounts of carbon fibre and hand-built elements, the Polestar 2 is a higher-volume, more affordable machine, so it uses a version of Volvo’s Compact Modular Architecture. But that is where the similarities with the sister company end, as this is a vehicle with its own character, defined by the beautifully minimalist exterior styling and carefully considered interior touches.
“The Polestar 2 interior is a very good expression of functional minimalism, where our designers have taken a strong minimalistic approach with superb design elements, such as the floating tunnel console and the premium textile decor elements,” Ingenlath says.
“As standard, Polestar 2 also features a completely vegan interior, with progressive new textiles that exude a premium feel,” explains Maximilian Missoni, Design Director at Polestar.
Those with a keen eye and a finger on the automotive industry’s pulse will likely have noticed that some of the performance statistics and dimensions rival those of a certain Tesla Model 3. Missoni admits that yes, the Polestar 2 is a premium C-segment fastback with very similar proportions to Tesla’s volume player. But he also claims that the company sees the Polestar 2 as more of a companion to the Tesla Model 3, rather than a rival.
“For Polestar, performance is not just about straight-line acceleration. For us, it really starts when you get to the first corner, which is why chassis dynamics are our focus,” Ingenlath says. “As standard, Polestar 2 has a dynamic chassis that allows the driver to exploit its high power and torque outputs, while enjoying the driving experience, but with a good balance of comfort and dynamics for everyday suitability.”
The Polestar 1 may have laid down the gauntlet to other manufacturers and proved that an impressive all-electric range can also be coupled with hair-raising performance, but its second model looks set to push boundaries further.
Sales will predominantly take place online and a new ownership model will be introduced that sees customers pay a monthly fee for their new vehicle (like a mobile phone contract), while traditional dealerships will be replaced with beautiful Polestar Space retail labs where customers can interact with the modern digital brand.
The electric vehicle may be very much at the forefront of most major manufacturer’s future plans but Polestar looks set challenge the car industry’s traditional conventions by thinking on a different plain when it comes to everything from electrification, design and user experience.
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