Polestar, the EV specialty brand of Volvo Cars, has big plans. Specifically, it wants to sell more cars than Porsche and will release 3 new battery-electric vehicles in the next 3 years designed to attract customers away from Porsche’s Cayenne, Macan, Taycan, and Panamera models. Polestar is targeting sales of 290,000 cars by 2025, which is 10 times its sales in 2021.
“This is a really exciting time for Polestar,” chief executive Thomas Ingenlath said in a recent statement. “With two award winning cars on the road today in 14 active markets across three continents, we seek to expand to 30 markets by 2023. We are thrilled about the targeted addition of three new premium electric cars to our line up by 2024, starting with our first SUV expected in 2022.”
The plug-in hybrid Polestar 1 will go out of production soon, leaving only the Polestar 2 in the company’s electric car lineup, but 2022 will see the introduction of the Polestar 3, a battery-electric SUV designed to take sales away from the Porsche Cayenne. The car will be built at Volvo’s factory in South Carolina and exported to other countries from there. It is intended to compete with the Audi e-tron, Tesla Model X, and the Jaguar I-Pace, as well as the Porsche Cayenne.
The 5-passenger SUV will be available in single and dual motor versions and will “offer autonomous highway piloting powered by the best-in-class LiDAR sensor from Luminar and centralized NVIDIA computing power,” the company says. The Polestar 3 will have a range of 370 miles and will list for $85,000, according to Carscoops.
Also coming is the Polestar 4, a slightly smaller battery-electric SUV intended to compete against the Porsche Macan. That car will be manufactured at Geely’s Hangzhou Bay factory in China and will have a more ground-hugging design with a coupe-style roofline, according to Ingenlath. It will be priced from $62,356 and will use Polestar’s PMA platform — a version of Geely’s Sustainable Experience Architecture. It will also have a range of 370 miles. It should be noted that the Macan is the best selling model Porsche offers at the current time.
Lastly, the company plans to launch the Polestar 5 in 2024. Said to be based on the company’s Precept concept, it is aimed not only at the Porsche Panamera and Taycan, but also at the Tesla Model S, which is 10 model years old this year.
Building Its Own Motors
In an interview with Autoblog, Polestar made it clear its business plan calls for targeting Porsche in terms of performance, design, and innovation. One part of that plan is a decision by the company to build its own electric motors in house with an estimated output of 603 horsepower (450 kW). That’s more than the base Taycan and Tesla Model S. The power will be transmitted to the wheels via a two-speed dual clutch transmission, a feature also found in the Taycan.
Polestar says its motor, known by the code name P 10, will be exclusive to the brand so it can tailored it to the precise requirements of each model it builds. At the present time, there is no expectation that any future Volvo models would require such a powerful motor.
The battery for the upcoming Polestar models will be capable of both 400 and 800 volt operation in order to match the available charging infrastructure. Charging to 80% capacity is expected to take 20 minutes using a charger of 100 kW of more. Vehicle to grid capability will be included as well.
Unlike the motors, which will reserved exclusively for Polestar vehicles, the batteries will be shared with Lotus and Volvo cars. A lightweight aluminum space frame architecture designed by ex-Formula 1 engineers at an R&D facility in Coventry, England, will be used in all upcoming Polestar models, the company says.
A Bold Plan
This initiative by Polestar will be funded in part by a reverse merger that is expected to generate $20 billion in new funding to move Polestar’s ambitions forward. According to Car Magazine, the SUV market is projected to grow 46% between now and 2026, so positioning itself to take advantage of that market is a smart business decision by Polestar.
Of course, every other manufacturer is targeting the same market, so over the next few years, those shopping for an electric SUV should have a dizzying array of choices available to them. For those who wonder if people will pay that much money for a Polestar, the answer is that Porsche has experienced record sales in the past few years and its cars have always come with premium price tags. The real question is whether Polestar will be able to stand out in a crowded market segment. We put that question to our resident prognosticator, the Zen master. “We’ll see,” he said.