Electric Performance Sedan Aims for Volume
Polestar, the electric performance brand from the Volvo Car Group and Zhejiang Geely Holding, revealed its first all-electric vehicle, the Polestar 2, this week. It is a midsize four-door sedan priced at roughly $63,000. It will be initially offered with a 72 kilowatt-hour (kWh) actively-cooled lithium-ion battery with a targeted range of 500 kilometers on the WLTP (Europe) and NEDC (China) test cycles and 275 miles for the EPA (US test cycle).
Polestar has taken the next step in its development as an electric performance brand with the reveal of the new Polestar 2. Polestar 2 is the marque’s first fully all-electric fastback that attempts to bring electric performance cars to a broader and increasingly progressive audience. It offers an avant-garde design and unique customer experience in the premium compact electric segment.
Available Online or in Spaces; Buy or Subscribe
In common with all Polestar cars, Polestar 2 will only be available for ordering online as a purchase or as a subscription. Polestar vehicles will be shown in “spaces” and online. The first Polestar Space, of which there will be 60 worldwide, is located on Øvre Slottsgate in central Oslo and will be throwing open its doors this year. With the opening of this Space, Polestar will have a physical representation both of the brand itself and a retail concept that exemplifies its view of the world of automotive sales.
Polestar is introducing the concept that a car doesn’t have to be a colossal, one-time expense on which you lose money the second you begin to drive. Polestar feels that car ownership should more closely resemble phone ownership: an all-inclusive monthly fee, with the option to return or upgrade at the end of your term, without any hassle or headache. Polestar’s future subscription model makes this a reality, with a monthly price including a host of services that allow you to focus on the joys of having a Polestar.
Polestar 2 is the first electric car to compete in the marketplace that is directly targeted at the Tesla Model 3, with the range starting price of €39,900 or about $45,300. The Initial Launch Edition will be available in late 2019 with pricing at €59,900 or $63,000. The monthly subscription has not yet been announced.
First Volume Polestar Model
“Polestar 2 is our first fully electric car and first volume model. Everything about it has been designed and engineered with passion and dedication. As an electric performance brand, and through the forthcoming launch of a portfolio of fully electric cars, Polestar is determined to address the world’s air quality challenges. Polestar delivers electric performance cars that are great to own and drive,” says Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar.
Polestar 2, a premium five-door fastback with two electric motors, is based on Volvo Car Group’s adaptable Compact Modular Architecture platform (CMA). The 27-module, 72 kWh battery pack is integrated into the floor and contributes to the rigidity of the chassis as well as improving the car’s noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels–road noise has been reduced by 3.7 dB compared to a traditional chassis.
The all-wheel-drive electric powertrain in Polestar 2 produces 300 kilowatt (408 horsepower) and 660 Newton-meters (487 pounds-feet of torque). This power translates to a 0-100 km/ht acceleration time of less than five seconds.
The standard dynamic chassis can be enhanced by the Performance Pack that improves driving dynamics with Öhlins dampers, Brembo brakes and unique 20-inch forged wheels. Polestar’s signature gold seat belts, brake calipers and valve caps complete the performance visuals.
Maximilian Missoni, head of design at Polestar, comments: “We decided to bring something different to the segment. Our avant-garde design has evolved from Polestar 1 into an edgier, bolder statement. We have also designed a standard vegan interior with progressive textiles that will appeal to the forward-thinking audience who will subscribe to Polestar 2.”
Design-led features include Pixel LED headlights and proximity lighting that enables a unique welcome sequence, Polestar’s now-signature frameless side mirrors and the unique illuminated Polestar logo, which is reflected onto the car’s panoramic glass roof.
The Next Step in Sound & Apps
Polestar has partnered with audio experts Harman Kardon to fit the Polestar 2 with a fully integrated sound system to create an immersive, detailed audio environment with the Dirac Unison tuning software, which ensures that everyone in the car enjoys the same powerful listening experience regardless of where they’re sitting, while also providing a tight, unified bass sound.
The Polestar 2 will be the first car offering an Android system featuring Google Automotive Services. Google Automotive Services is an over-the-air update format that is always on and has full access to all automotive-optimized apps from Google Play, including Google Maps and Google Assistant. The Polestar 2 will update as quickly and with the same frequency as a smartphone.
It will also come equipped with other features the Polestar feels are missing in automotive UI. The first of which is a functional voice command system. There are, as of 2018, 160 distinct dialects of English spoken throughout the world. Also in 2018, voice command systems in cars can handle four of them. Not so in the Polestar 2. With Google, which has been perfecting its Assistant for years, commands will be heard clearly regardless of accent. Don’t worry, people of the Cape Flats, Abercraf, South Ballachulish and Ruatahuna. Polestar hears and understands you.
The second feature is something that is being used in cars all over the world but on a secondary device. Google Maps is the undisputed champion when it comes to navigation, an online mapping service that is unparalleled in terms of accuracy and real-time information. It was the natural choice to make Google Maps the preinstalled navigation software for the Polestar 2, removing the need to consult a phone while driving.
Both Android users and iPhone owners (though Apple CarPlay) can wirelessly connect their devices to the Polestar 2, enabling access via voice commands and the center console
The tailgate of the Polestar 2 has its hinge at the top of the window, granting unrestricted access to the entirety of the trunk. With multiple options available for opening and closing (via the Polestar Connect app, a button on the dash, a button on the lid itself, and a sensor under the bumper), there are no drawbacks to a larger-than-usual tailgate. The benefits include 404 liters (VDA) of luggage capacity, further augmented by the 34-liter front storage compartment.
Polestar is moving the interaction of the driver and owner to also being the key to the vehicle, with the phone-as-key solution. The Polestar 2 will make use of the driver’s phone to access the car, leading to greater accessibility and fewer hardware complications. It’s yet another innovation that allows the Polestar 2 to adapt to the driver, and not the opposite. The UI wakes up incrementally, responding to the presence and position of the driver and mimicking different key positions. It is the driver, and their phone as an authentication device, that enables the UI to be so interactive. As the driver approaches, the car senses the presence of the phone and the display wakes up, showing limited information such as charge status and remaining range. Once the driver enters the car and sits down, intelligent sensors in the driver’s seat signal to the UI to wake up even further, granting access to all of the car’s functionality short of driving. Finally, the gas pedal is depressed, and the shifter is moved, and the engine starts.
Polestar 2 Will Launch at Geneva Motor Show.
Polestar 2 will make its first public appearance at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show this month, and then embark on a global roadshow in Europe, North America and China throughout 2019. Initial launch markets include China, the United States, Canada, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the UK. Other markets are under consideration for future expansion.
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