Volvo’s Polestar plans

Tun­ing arm set to go elec­tric


Volvo will rein­vent Polestar as a maker of high­per­for­mance elec­tri­fied cars — and its first model is likely to be the new XC60 and pre­viewed later this year.

Polestar was ac­quired out­right by Volvo in 2015. Be­fore then, it had long been known as a maker of pow­eredup Volvos, as well as be­ing in­volved in rac­ing Volvos.

Now Volvo is poised to rein­vent Polestar as a maker of solely plug-in hy­brid and all-elec­tric ve­hi­cles, Volvo boss Håkan Sa­muels­son told Au­to­car, with SUVS such as the new XC60 the most likely can­di­dates for the Polestar per­for­mance over­haul.

“We now see Polestar as fo­cused on ‘pro­gres­sive pre­mi­um­ness’ and elec­tri­fi­ca­tion,” he said on the eve of the Geneva mo­tor show. ‘Pro­gres­sive pre­mi­um­ness’, Sa­muels­son said, meant Volvo was look­ing ahead to what peo­ple thought would be a pre­mium per­for­mance car in five years’ time, and that it will be elec­tric-pow­ered.

He said Polestar “will not be a high-per­for­mance petrol brand or model” and will “move from petrol to elec­tric”.

Elec­tric means both plug-in hy­brid and pure elec­tric, he said, and Polestar mod­els will be used to in­tro­duce new elec­tric and con­nected tech­nol­ogy that will fil­ter down to the rest of the Volvo range.

Sa­muels­son said Volvo was look­ing at en­ter­ing For­mula E through Polestar to back up the brand’s elec­tric cre­den­tials.

Polestar would re­main a sub-brand of Volvo, he said, and would not be spun off into its own brand as Mercedes-benz has done with AMG.

Volvo is com­mit­ted to launch­ing an elec­tric model in 2019 with a range in ex­cess of 310 miles. It will be a vari­ant of an ex­ist­ing model, most likely the XC60 or XC90, rather than an all-new car. Then the tech­nol­ogy will be of­fered across the rest of its range. Volvo hopes to have sold one mil­lion plug-in hy­brid and elec­tric cars by 2025.

Volvo is also on track to hit its sales tar­get of 800,000 units by 2020, ac­cord­ing to Sa­muels­son. Sig­nif­i­cant growth will be pro­vided by the launch of the new XC60 and smaller XC40 mod­els later this year. The S60 and V60 re­place­ments will be in pro­duc­tion by mid-2018, be­fore a re­place­ment for the V40 is launched. Volvo will then con­sider fur­ther ad­di­tions to the 40-se­ries fam­ily.

SUVS cur­rently ac­count for just over 50% of Volvo sales, but that is set to rise sig­nif­i­cantly with the launches this year of the XC60 and XC40.

XC60, launched at Geneva, is likely to be Polestar’s next car

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