News

2020 Polestar 2 EV: What We Know

Electric upstart from Sweden and China aims to challenge Tesla.

The Polestar 2 EV is the second vehicle—and first fully electric model—from Volvo’s electric-vehicle spin-off, which launched with the 1 coupe. Here’s what we know about the new car.

The Polestar 2 should be pretty damn quick. All Polestar 2s sold in the U.S. will have a dual-motor setup, with a 150-kW motor driving each axle. Total output is 402 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque, and the automaker estimates a zero-to-62-mph time of less than five seconds.

Its range is comparable to a Tesla model 3’s. While the numbers haven’t been finalized, Polestar is targeting an EPA-estimated range of 275 miles.

But its price isn’t. The U.S.-market Polestar 2 is expected to launch with a pre-incentive retail price of $63,000 (before applicable federal or local incentives). All cars will be well equipped, and the only options will be leather upholstery and a Performance package with upgraded dampers, brakes, and wheels. About a year after launch, a $55,000 model will join the lineup.

Its infotainment system is powered by Android. The Polestar’s portrait-oriented screen looks like what you’d find in a Volvo, but it runs Google’s Android Automotive (not to be confused with Android Auto) operating system. Integrated apps include voice recognition, Google maps, and many of the same audio apps you use on your phone.

There’s no key—and no start button. Instead of a traditional key, or even a key fob, the Polestar 2 will be unlocked and switched on via a smartphone app.

There will be an even cheaper Polestar 2, but not here. Polestar will launch shorter-range, lower-cost models in China and other markets, but for now, the plan is that all U.S.-spec vehicles will have the same battery and powertrain.

It’s related to the XC40. The Polestar 2 EV is built on the same CMA (Compact Modular Architecture) platform that underpins the XC40, which explains the familiar proportions. There’s no engine, though, and the Polestar 2 has a small “frunk” in its place.

The Polestar 2’s design originated with Volvo. According to Polestar designer Maximillian Missoni, the original design sketch came out of Volvo—it does bear an uncanny resemblance to the 40.2 concept—but there was no place in the lineup where such a shape would fit. When Polestar came about, Missoni’s team thought the sketch would work for a one of its vehicles. Also of note, the company’s CEO, Thomas Ingenlath, serves as its design chief.

Like Tesla, Polestar uses a nontraditional dealer model. Polestar retail stores—called “spaces”—will have salaried (rather than commissioned) sales staff and demonstrators for test drives, but no inventory. Instead, customers will order their cars, then wait eight to ten weeks for delivery. As sales ramp up, Polestar will look for ways to shorten delivery time (such as allocating cars already in the pipeline), but there are no plans for dealers to stock cars.

Buy, lease, or subscribe? Polestar will offer all three methods to customers.

It’s made in China. Volvo (and by extension Polestar) is owned by Chinese automaker Geely, so it’s no surprise that the Polestar 2 EV will be assembled in a new purpose-built plant in China.

Want a Polestar? Go west. The first Polestar “spaces” in the United States will open in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto, and Seattle, with eastern expansion scheduled to take place over the following 12 to 24 months. The first Canadian stores will open in Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto.