If you’re unfamiliar with Polestar, here’s the elevator explanation: It started out as Volvo’s performance sub-brand, your ticket to hot S60s painted in nuclear shades of blue. Now Polestar is its own electric-focused brand, with three models on the way. There’s the $150,000, 600-horsepower hybrid Polestar 1 coupe, an as-yet-undefined electric SUV (the Polestar 3) and this imminent sedan: the Polestar 2, an openly declared shot at the Tesla Model 3.
Like the Tesla, the Polestar will be available for order online and sold thorough “stores” rather than dealerships. (Buckle up for Tesla-style dealer-franchise static, Polestar.) Like a Model 3 Performance, the Polestar 2 uses dual electric motors and all-wheel-drive.
But it looks like the stats, at least for the Launch Edition, don’t exactly threaten the Model 3’s numbers. Polestar is “targeting 275 miles of range” from a 78 kWh battery, while the Model 3 Performance is rated at 310 miles. Polestar says its 0-60 time will be less than five seconds, but a Model 3 hits 60 in 3.3 seconds—and knowing Tesla, they’ll chip away at that by the time the Polestar begins production early next year. The Polestar makes 408 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque, and how that compares we don’t really know because Tesla is bizarrely paranoid about discussing horsepower numbers. But the Model 3’s 0-60 time suggests something above 450 horsepower.
Straight-line acceleration aside, the Polestar 2’s Performance Pack includes Öhlins dampers, 20-inch forged wheels, and Brembo brakes, which are kind of a strange commodity for a vehicle that presumably does a lot of braking with its motors in regen mode.
The Polestar’s infotainment system will be powered by Android. How that’ll work for people who live outside the Google ecosystem remains to be seen. An 11-inch touchscreen dominates the center stack. The seat belts are gold-colored, which Polestar aims to turn into a signature feature. The standard interior is vegan, which is good news to both vegans and people who simply think cloth seats are more interesting than leather.
The 2 will be built in China and production begins early next year. The Launch Edition will cost $63,000, which translates to $55,500 (R765 663) after the $7,500 tax credit. Speaking of which, that might be one main advantage for the Polestar 2 versus the Model 3—Tesla’s tax credits are phasing out, while Polestar’s full $7,500 credit will be in effect for years. Eventually there will be a version of the Polestar 2 that will sell for about $45,000, before the tax credit. But, like Tesla, they’re building the expensive ones first.
Originally posted on Popular Mechanics