Cars > Electric

The Polestar 1 signals brand’s shift to EVs

Volvo’s performance division embraces electrification

You can still make out Volvo's lines and curves here. Only the badge is missing. PHOTO FROM POLESTAR

Remember Polestar? If BMW has its M models and Mercedes-Benz has its AMG ones, Volvo has Polestar vehicles. It’s the performance division of the Swedish automaker—well, used to be, actually. Volvo has announced that Polestar is being spun off as a stand-alone electric-vehicle brand. Which should come as no surprise as Volvo is now owned by Chinese auto company Geely. And EVs just happen to be the biggest thing in the Chinese car industry at the moment.

To be fair, Volvo points out that, outside of China, “40% of global car sales are expected to be electric within 20 years.”

The 1 is the first and last Polestar model to have hybrid propulsion. The next ones will be fully electric. PHOTOS FROM POLESTAR

What you see here is the Polestar 1, the brand’s very first product offering. It’s a two-door, 2+2 GT coupe powered by a hybrid engine. While the succeeding Polestar models will be fully electric, the 1 still benefits from a complementary internal-combustion engine. The car is touted as having a total output of 600hp and 1,000Nm, and a driving range of 150km on purely electric propulsion.

“The 1 is the first car to carry the Polestar logo on the hood,” Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath says in a press statement. “A beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it is a great start for our new brand. All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our vision of being the new stand-alone electric performance brand.”

The rear is probably the least Volvo-esque in the exterior design. PHOTOS FROM POLESTAR

This car is based on Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture, although about half of it is “new and bespoke” courtesy of Polestar engineers. Some of the highlights are the all-new Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension advanced chassis, the carbon-fiber body, and the double electric rear axle.

A total output of 600hp requires serious stopping power. PHOTO FROM POLESTAR

Polestar will manufacture the 1 in a state-of-the-art facility in Chengdu, China. The first unit should roll out by the middle of 2018.

There's no effort to hide the Volvo connection with the steering wheel, save for the Polestar logo. PHOTOS FROM POLESTAR

Apart from being an EV brand, Polestar wants to be known for a nontraditional ownership model. According to the company, “cars will be ordered 100% online and offered on a two- or three-year subscription basis. The zero-deposit, all-inclusive subscription will also add features such as pick-up and delivery servicing and the ability to rent alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar range, all incorporated into one monthly payment.”

Open the trunk and a neatly stored battery pack will greet you. PHOTO FROM POLESTAR

Up next in the Polestar pipeline are two full-electric models: the 2, a midsize battery-electric vehicle, and the 3, an SUV-style BEV.

For now, if you’re interested in the Polestar 1, you may subscribe to the official newsletter here.

Vernon B. Sarne

Vernon is the founder and editor-in-chief of VISOR. He has been an automotive journalist since July 1995. He became one by serendipity, walking into the office of a small publishing company and applying for a position he had no idea was for a local car magazine. God has watched over him throughout his humble journey. He writes the ‘Spoiler’ column.