Polestar, the Volvo performance division that recently repositioned itself as a standalone performance electric car brand with Tesla firmly in its crosshairs, has revealed its first new-era creation, the Polestar 1.
While this two-door grand tourer will serve as a halo model after its mid-2019 introduction, with volumes limited to just 500 units a year, it will soon be followed up by the more mainstream and higher-volume Polestar 2 and Polestar 3 models, the former a mid-sized sedan designed to give the Tesla Model 3 a hard time and the latter a larger crossover-type vehicle.
Although sharing its basic architecture with Volvo’s 90 family, the Polestar 1 is 50 percent unique, even sporting a carbon fibre body that shaves 230kg off the body weight and increases torsional stiffness by 45 percent.
Yet unlike every other Polestar that will follow it, which will be fully electric, the Polestar 1 is a plug-in hybrid, only its claimed electric-only range of 150km is significantly longer than that of any other PHEV that’s been released to date.
The drivetrain, which sees a 2-litre four-cylinder Drive-E turbopetrol engine driving the front wheels and two electric motors powering the rear axle, produces total system outputs of 441kW and 1000Nm. The double-electric rear axle also allows for torque vectoring, effectively pushing the car through corners rather than slowing it via the braking system like conventional traction systems.
The Polestar 1 is also fitted with Öhlins’ first Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension system, in which the dampers have electronic valves that can react in just two milliseconds.
No owners, only subscribers
Yet possibly its biggest point of departure will be the ownership model, or lack thereof in the literal sense.
Acquiring a Polestar will be very much like taking out a cellphone subscription, with cars offered on a two or three year subscription basis, after which you’ll either part ways or get a new car on a new subscription, while Polestar will then fix up the old car and pass it on to someone else as a pre-owned subscription car.
Polestar’s subscription service will include a range of services, such as pick-up and delivery maintenance appointments and various other concierge services, and owners will also be able to temporarily rent other vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar ranges if so desired.
Traditional showrooms will be done away with too, cars being ordered and configured online via an app or traditional website, although there will be a network of so-called “Polestar spaces” available for those customers that want to physically see and experience the vehicles before signing on the dotted line.
And on that note the order books, if you could call them that, are now officially open, from October 17.