Polestar 2

Style

The visual appearance of the Polestar 2 is a winner, arguably the most striking EV design to come along since the Tesla Model 3. Volvo’s influence is strong—from the signature sideways-T “Hammer of Thor” running lights to the clean interior lines.

Maximilian Missoni, head of design at Polestar, told us that the Polestar 2 will “really stand out.” He pointed to its “straight lines and sensual surfaces” that give the model its muscular stance. You can see the restraint indicative of the best in Scandinavian design. Exterior color combinations are limited to muted shades of gray, black, and white. The interior has relatively few buttons, replacing them with the dashboard touchscreens with well-designed, minimalistic layouts.

Compared to the Tesla Model 3, the Polestar all-electric sedan is 3.5 inches shorter but 1.5 inches taller, so it has a bulkier feel that’s further accented by the fastback roofline. Both the Tesla and Polestar vehicles have an expansive panoramic glass roof, a trunk, and a front storage area now commonly called a “frunk.” (The Polestar’s frunk is only 1.2 cubic feet.)

The company gets a little bit fancy with its LED headlights—consisting of 84 individual pixels—that flash in a welcome sequence as you approach the vehicle. A single angular bar of light adorns the tail. An upgraded Performance Package brings 20-inch alloy wheels with Brembo brake calipers and seat belts that have a matching golden color.

Polestar 2

Performance

Like Tesla, the Polestar 2 unlocks doors as you approach because the car recognizes your phone. There’s no start button. A sensor in the driver’s seat activates the powertrain to turn on when you sit down.

On the road, two 204-horsepower motors—one on each axle—provide acceleration to 60 miles per hour in less than five seconds. The Performance Pack (mentioned above) improves driving dynamics. A slower and less expensive single-motor variant is expected in 2021, about a year after the all-wheel, two-motor model arrives.

One-pedal EV driving is available when the center screen brake-regen level is set to High. You can also set the braking levels to Medium and Off for degrees of coasting.

Efficiency/Range

As a relatively small sedan with a 78 kilowatt-hour, liquid-cooled battery pack, the Polestar should deliver about 275 miles on a single charge. Official EPA ratings are not yet available.

The battery pack consists of 324 pouch cells stacked into two levels—with the top level shaped like a T. Part of the top stack of batteries is housed in the central tunnel of the car. While this takes up some room for the occasional third rear passenger sitting in the middle, it allows the footwell to drop lower for the other two rear passengers.

Polestar hinted that it might introduce a more affordable smaller, lower-range battery pack, but specific plans and prices have not been announced.

Charging

The Polestar 2’s onboard AC charger is expected to support up to 11 kilowatts of power—enough to add 25 to 30 miles in an hour when hooked up to a 240-volt home charging station.

The DC Quick-Charger, which uses the CCS combo-cord protocol, can handle up to 150 kilowatts (for when that higher charging rate becomes more widely available in the coming years). That could mean charging from empty to 80 percent, adding about 220 miles of range, in approximately 45 minutes.

Most CCS highway chargers these days are still 50-kW units, which will add closer to 150 miles of range in a one-hour pit stop. (See our article about quick charging of electric vehicles.)

Passenger/Cargo Room

Polestar 2

Christian Samson, a product manager at Polestar, told us that the Polestar 2 is closest in size to the Tesla Model 3. He said that it’s a “half-segment” smaller than luxury crossovers such as the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron.

The feel from the behind the wheel is being nestled into a cockpit. The center console between front-row seats is tall, thereby creating a distinct space for the driver. The backseat passenger space is similarly snug, comparable to what the back row feels like in compact EVs such as the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan LEAF.

If you’re a third passenger in the back row, the raised center tunnel could present a challenge to find a comfortable spot for your legs. Polestar says that the design decision leaves a deeper space for the other rear passengers’ feet. Given the fastback design, headroom for tall rear passengers is limited, likely resulting in a bump on the noggin over rough roads.

The Polestar 2, as a sedan with trunk versus a hatch, offers less cargo storage than compact EVs like the LEAF and Bolt. The Model 3, due to its overall design and generous frunk, beats the Polestar 2 for cargo space.

The biggest interior advantage for the Polestar 2 is arguably the use of an embedded, native Android-based infotainment system from Google. In essence, the car becomes a connected device for a seamless experience that doesn’t require pairing your phone via Bluetooth. The Polestar 2’s navigation and media are already connected so you can leave the phone in your pocket.

The other chief advantage is that you don’t have two competing interfaces—the one provided by the car and the other as a projection of what’s on your phone. The built-in Google Assistant also offers state-of-the-art voice controls (such as they are).

The layout of apps, including those you can download from Google, uses a quadrant for easy organization and access. Essential functions, like climate control, are displayed persistently at the bottom of the screen. The system will receive regular over-the-air updates.

Polestar and Google promise robust development of third-party apps designed specifically for EV driving.

Price

Polestar 2

The inaugural two-motor Polestar 2 will be introduced in West Coast cities in mid-2020. For the first year, the price will begin at $63,000. A single-motor variant will be added for $55,000 in mid-2021. These figures do not include federal and local incentives.

The Polestar 2 will be available to buy, lease, or subscribe. Volvo, a part owner of Polestar, was one of the first automakers to offer an all-inclusive monthly subscription plan.

So-called Polestar spaces, owned and operated by dealers, will be opened in high-end retail locations in Seattle, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, and San Diego. That’s where you can see the car in person and configure an order using an in-store kiosk. Alternatively, orders can be placed online.

Regardless, after placing an order, buyers will wait eight to 10 weeks for delivery. There’s no inventory on site.

A big outstanding question is whether the vehicle will be produced in quantities to meet potential demand. Jonathan Goodman, Polestar’s chief operating officer, told us that the first year of output from the company’s factory in China’s Zhejiang Province would be in the “tens of thousands.”

Keep in mind that those units will be distributed globally, with China and Europe competing for allocation with the United States. Goodman made it clear that the company is not trying to maximize production numbers. “We are not looking to do silly volumes,” he said.

Polestar 2 specifications

Availability: 2020
Base MSRP: $63000
Est. tax credit: $7500
Technology: Electric Vehicle
Body type: Sedan
Seats: 5
EPA Range: 275 miles pure electric
Battery size: 78 kWh
Charging rate: 11.0 kW

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.