Pole start for Polestar
The news around flashy EV start-ups hasn’t been hugely positive. Especially if you’re Faraday Future, the Chinese-funded, Californianbased company that promised to revolutionise luxury EVS and beat Tesla at the game it invented.
Cue a cash crunch, several highlevel resignations and now it would appear this buzz-word business has bitten the dust. That’s a pity, but then it ain’t easy starting a car company. If you’re Tesla, it ain’t easy keeping one going either, regardless of how much universal goodwill you generate.
What a breath of carbon emission free air it is, then, to see the news out of Polestar this week. The Chinese-owned Volvo offshoot has started building cars. Out of actual physical materials. On a proper assembly line. Okay, put the deposit cheque (or whatever you do these days) down for a second.
The cars being produced at this point aren’t destined for dealerships. They’re verification prototypes, hand-built to ensure every complex onboard system is working as it should.
But that Polestar has got to this point is promising. After the 34 test mules being assembled at Polestar’s Gothenburg prototyping facility in Sweden have been assessed, fine-tuned and — for some — crash tested, the real deal mass-production cars will begin rolling down the production line next year.
The first model (aptly named Polestar 1) will be a luxury all-wheel drive GT rival for the likes of the Bentley Continental GT. Except it will have a hybrid electric engine set-up that Polestar reckons will be good for a whopping 400kw.
Built on the same SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform as Volvo’s XC, S and V90 models, the Polestar will be a fair bit shorter than its closest comparative car, the S90 sedan. Polestar shrinks everything, cutting 320mm from the wheelbase and 200mm from the rear body. Remarkably, the Polestar 1 shares a similar footprint to a Porsche 911.
Oh, and when it comes time to swipe that credit card at your nearest Polestar dealer (which possibly won’t be anywhere near you here in New Zealand, at least not initially), you won’t actually own the car, either. At this stage the company is offering lease-only deals to interested parties.
The lease fee will include servicing and give you access to the wider Volvo range of vehicles too. So, if you feel like going skiing with the family and don’t want to use your Polestar, you can borrow an XC90 from your nearest dealership for the weekend. The hire fee is already covered in your Polestar lease.
Sorry Faraday. It looks like the future as you described it definitely lies somewhere else.