Polestar has had an interesting past. Founded in 1996 to train participants in the Swedish Touring Car Championship, Polestar eventually became Volvo’s official performance partner in 2011. Volvo Cars, itself owned by Chinese company Geely, fully acquired Polestar in 2015, by rotating it his own brand which builds electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids using existing Volvo platforms and powertrains.
Polestar’s position as a former motorsport company turned tuning house, however, doesn’t quite match its current product line. As good-looking as the Polestar 1 grand touring coupe and Polestar 2 five-door crossover look, they don’t exactly match race cars in terms of driving excitement. Adding to the identity crisis of the young brand, Volvo has announced that its entire range will be free from internal combustion by 2030. What is the point of an electrified car bearing a relatively unknown brand, especially if its partner? much more established company is also planning a range consisting only of electric vehicles?
Back to its roots
Polestar seems to have anticipated this question as the company just unveiled a three-year plan that involves new horsepower, bespoke product architecture and greater differentiation from Volvo. The electric vehicle maker doesn’t mince words – Porsche is in Polestar’s sights as it seeks to improve its reputation for high performance. Along with this focus on driving pleasure, Polestar also plans to break even, in 2023, with its first profits arriving in 2025.
Engineering is an integral part of these goals. John Paolo Canton, Polestar’s public relations and communications manager in the Americas, confirmed that the automaker is developing a new aluminum space-frame chassis that will not be shared with Volvo. This lightweight architecture will also be capable of Level III driver assistance, allowing unattended highway driving under certain conditions – the company credits its partnership with Luminar and long-range lidar technology to this.
A new engine, named the P10, will likely remain a Polestar exclusive. Designed in-house, the P10 EV engine on its own is capable of producing 603 hp (450 kilowatts), about 50% more than Porsche’s most powerful electric mill. Like the Porsche Taycan, the engine will also incorporate a two-speed transmission, and a size of 36 x 50 x 64 centimeters (14 x 21 x 25 inches) will allow it to accommodate a variety of automotive form factors.
Given its history of building championship-winning touring cars, Polestar has a credible claim on Zuffenhausen-level performance. But if that’s not enough to convince the buying public, Canton has also acknowledged the weight control of one of Polestar’s other business partners: Lotus, the English sports car maker owned by Geely. While Canton refrained from saying that Lotus was involved in the development of future Polestar cars (although it too will go all-electric), he suggested that each brand would bring their own best practices and know-how to the ecosystem. Geely.
What will be shared between the Geely brands is a new battery design compatible with 400 volts and 800 volts infrastructures. Polestar claims that the battery can reach an 80% charge in about 20 minutes thanks to a maximum charge speed of 103 kilowatts. The electrical architecture will also allow two-way charging, allowing the car to keep a home powered in the event of a power failure or bad weather.
While the automaker won’t commit to timing the arrival of the new battery, Polestar’s bespoke space frame platform and P10 engine are expected to appear on an upcoming fastback sedan inspired by the Precept concept. Called the Polestar 5 and pictured above, the sleek five-door would rival the Porsche Taycan in performance, design and innovation, according to Gregor Hembrough, director of Polestar USA. And to be fair, he’s probably right, especially if Lotus is actually passing Polestar grades in class.
Short term growth
Until the arrival of the 5 in 2024, Polestar will likely continue to use its parent company’s architectures. That doesn’t mean he’ll rest on Volvo’s laurels, however. Polestar’s next first launch will be an SUV based on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) large chassis found under the XC90, but it would instead be tuned to feel more performance-oriented. The automaker specifically called the Porsche Cayenne a potential rival to its mid-size five-seat Polestar 3 offering, which we’ve already seen in camouflaged form (as well as rendered by digitally removing the disguise).
The Polestar 3 slated for 2022 certainly looks sportier and more aggressive than its cousin XC90. A quick-back roofline and two rows of seats set it apart from the more traditional Volvo, and reports suggest it will also be faster, thanks to retuned versions of the parent company’s electric motors or the aforementioned P10 units. Available in a single or dual engine configuration, the flagship configuration will be more powerful than any Volvo SUV. That means we can expect more than the 402 hp and 486 pound-feet (300 kilowatts and 659 newton-meters) offered by the also electric C40 Recharge fastback crossover.
After its big brother will be a small SUV Polestar 4 the size of a Porsche Macan, which is due to arrive in 2023. Representatives of the automaker were silent on details and would not give in when in a rush, but the silence spoke volumes. (or at least deducted) from the volumes. Since Polestar wasn’t ready to divulge any specs or architectural details, we think the company might be up to something a little more unique than an EV based on the midsize SPA platform. of the XC60. The Polestar 4 could use the Sustainable Electric Architecture (SEA) from parent company Geely, with power that is expected to slightly eclipse the XC40 charging.
The 2023 Polestar 3 will likely have a starting price of around € 75,000 (around £ 64,300), while the 2024 Polestar 4 is expected to be a little cheaper at around € 45,000 (£ 38,600), according to CEO Thomas Ingenlath. The two crossovers will help the brand achieve even greater growth among premium electric vehicles, especially as consumers continue to prefer high-performance vehicles. Alongside today’s standard Polestar 5 fastback sedan and Polestar 2, the Polestar 3 and 4 will help the automaker sell 290,000 units worldwide in calendar year 2025 – a huge improvement by compared to 2021 forecast sales of 29,000.
Dollars and cents
Along with this greater market penetration, the financial outlook will improve, according to Polestar. As part of its aforementioned plan to break even in 2023 and generate profits in 2025, the the automaker will go public through a proposed business deal with Gores Guggenheim Inc., a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) that will give Polestar a spot on the NASDAQ ticker.
SPAC will partner with Polestar, with existing investors in the electric vehicle maker receiving a controlling stake in the company and public and private investors in Gores Guggenheim also receiving a slice of the pie. Polestar is expected to trade under the symbol PSNY once details of the partnership are finalized in the first half of 2022, when the public is expected to be able to buy shares in the automaker. Polestar expects a market valuation of $ 20 billion (£ 15 billion) when it all comes down.
Although small to medium among other automakers, this number is still far removed from the company’s artisanal roots in Swedish racing. But despite its modern attributes (and US investment dollars), Polestar is keen to uphold its Scandinavian heritage in design, performance, and environmental sensitivity.
Armed with Volvo’s logistics and retail know-how, Geely’s broad engineering portfolio that includes Lotus geniuses, and a healthy dose of capital, Polestar is eager to tackle the high-end electric vehicle area. As much as we love the gorgeous Polestar 1 and the practical Polestar 2, we’re excited to go hunting Taycan and Tesla with the brand’s compass rose badge in mind.