Volvo Cars’ Polestar – the future models | Automotive Industry Analysis


The 1 will make its dynamic world debut at next weekends Goodwood Festival of Speed

The 1 will make its dynamic world debut at next weekend’s Goodwood Festival of Speed

The next make in a series which is looking at the current and future models of Geely Automobile Holdings is Polestar. This follows previous features on Geely, Geely Emgrand, Terrafugia, Zhi Dou and LEVC as well as Lynk & Co. Volvo Car Group refers to Polestar as its “new electric performance brand”. 

From Swedish touring car racing to production cars

VCG acquired 100 per cent of Polestar Performance in July 2015, having worked together in motorsport since 1996. The decision was subsequently taken to create Polestar branded cars. These do not carry a Volvo logo. However, ‘optimisation’ packages for Volvo’s range of cars continues (see below). Such vehicles have a ‘Polestar Engineered’ badge. This can mean more power and/or items such as larger wheels and tyres, special touches for the interior and side skirts/spoilers.

The 1 will have a longer range than any other plug-in hybrid car.

There has been some misunderstanding about what Volvo wishes Polestar to be. Not, it turns out, an electric rival for Mercedes-AMG, BMW M or Audi Sport’s models. Instead, a high-performance electric brand which is about what VCC’s CEO says should be “progressive performance”. So more of a rival for Tesla.

Breaking the usual sales model

Polestar will not sell cars in the usual way. Instead, customers must order online and rent the car for two or three years. A zero-deposit, all-inclusive subscription will add features such as pick-up and delivery servicing and the ability to rent alternative vehicles within the Volvo and Polestar ranges, all incorporated into one monthly payment.

Polestar cars will use Phone-As-Key technology. This allows the ‘owner’ to share a virtual key with a third party, and also enables access to a host of other on-demand features.

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The range: it starts with the 1

The Polestar 1, which is still a year away from production, will have a 600hp and 1,000Nm version of VCG’s 2.0-litre petrol engine. As with PHEV versions of the same basic design in the XC90 and other models, the engine has both supercharging and turbocharging. The big boost in power and torque is not the USP of this car though – Polestar claims that the 1 will be able to travel up to 150km on the energy stored in what will inevitably be large and heavy batteries. As of now, that gives it the furthest range of any plug-in hybrid car.

The 1 was announced to the media in October 2017. The prototype looked a lot like the the Volvo Concept Coupé which premiered at the Frankfurt motor show in September 2013.

Due to go into production in China in mid-2019, Polestar describes the 1 as “a two-door, 2+2 seat Grand Tourer Coupé with an Electric Performance Hybrid drivetrain”.

The Polestar 1 will be a low-volume model: just 500 cars a year are planned, and none of them with right-hand drive.

Polestar says the 1 will be the world’s first car to have Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension (CESi). The body, meanwhile, will be made from carbon fibre, while the car will have an electric rear axle.

LHD only and no explanation why

Manufacturing will take place at the just-completed Polestar Production Centre in Chengdu. The first countries where the 1 will be sold were announced in December 2017: the USA, China, Germany, Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands.

The Polestar 1 will be a low-volume model: just 500 cars a year are planned, and none of them with right-hand drive.

382hp+109hp+109hp =600hp

The engine will produce 382hp and all of this power goes through the front wheels: there is no mechanical link to the rear axle. Each back wheel has a 109hp motor, so the total is 600hp. At low revs, only the supercharger provides boost, then in the mid-range, the turbocharger joins in and at high revs the supercharger is disconnected. The only transmission for this car will be an eight-speed automatic gearbox. There are three 33 kWh battery stacks: one in the middle of the car and two at the rear.

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As the 1 will effectively be a six-year old car by the time it goes on sale (the original Volvo concept dating to 2013), Polestar will probably only build this model for two to three years.

Pricing for this car in China, Europe and the USA was announced at the Beijing motor show in April. It will be as follows: RMB1.45m RMB in China, EUR155,000 and USD155,000. No prices were announced for Sweden or Norway.

Polestar 2 – derived from the new Volvo S60

After the 1, Polestar will move to adding a fully electric vehicle: the 2. Volvo announced preliminary details of this car in July 2017:

“Volvo Cars will introduce a portfolio of electrified cars across its model range, embracing fully electric cars, plug in hybrid cars and mild hybrid cars.

It will launch five fully electric cars between 2019 and 2021, three of which will be Volvo models and two of which will be high performance electrified cars from Polestar, Volvo Cars’ performance car arm. Full details of these models will be announced at a later date”.

The 3 will be aimed at the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron, Mercedes EQC and Tesla Model Y.

The additional vehicle will be based on the S60. It will be a rival for the Tesla Model 3.

3: going after the Jaguar I-Pace

The third model for Polestar is to be a “…larger [than Polestar 2] SUV-style BEV, the 3, which will create a modern expression of electric performance and driving dynamics”. So said a media release issued last October.

The 3 will be aimed at the Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron, Mercedes EQC and Tesla Model Y and others in that class of electric crossovers and SUVs.

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Engineered – the Volvo tuning business

There is another part of the business model and this is called Polestar Engineered. This name is applied to tuned versions of Volvo cars.

The latest Volvo to have come in for the Polestar treatment is the new S60. The car gains 15hp and 30Nm as well as various external and chassis modifications. The official name is S60 T8 Polestar Engineered. The 2.0-litre Twin Engine + rear motor has a combined output of 415hp and 670Nm and there is of course all-wheel drive. The PE package includes Öhlins shock absorbers and an under-bonnet strut bar as well as gold-painted brake callipers.

As other Volvo models are released in the coming years, they too will be available with a Polestar Engineered package. Existing models such as the XC60, S90 and XC90 are already available with a Polestar Optimisation badge, in the case of the XC60 that means a 21hp power upgrade to 314kW (421hp) for the PHEV variant.

The next brand to be looked at in this series will be Volvo, to be followed by the final chapter: Proton and Lotus.

Future model plan reports for other manufacturers can be viewed in the OEM product strategy summaries section of just-auto.com.

Future product program intelligence

More detail on the past, current and forthcoming models for every division of Groupe PSA can be found in PLDB, the future vehicles database which is part of QUBE.





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