With a number of new, exciting models on the way across the new few years, could Polestar be leading the way for the electric revolution?
Polestar is entering a new era. For a brand that’s origins began in racing all the way back in the late 2000’s, the Swedish brand became the official Volvo partner in 2009, before being completely taken over in 2015. Only two years later, Volvo Cars and Geely Holding made the decision to set Polestar free and for it to become its own standalone brand. It hasn’t looked back since.
Polestar first entered the market with its plug-in hybrid Polestar 1 back in 2017, but the manufacturer soon entered the fully electric world with the release of the Polestar 2 in 2019.
With a slick design, battery sizes up to 78 kWh and a range of 245 miles, it was a car that was, and still is to this day, highly regarded.
But that was before, and now Polestar is turning the page and entering a new chapter.
The only way is up
It has been a story of continuous success for Polestar so far. Having delivered on its global sales target of 29,000 vehicles in 2021, the company targeted rapid expansion in 2022 with plans to be present in 30 global markets by the end of the year.
Polestar launched its 25th global market in the first half of 2022, a significant increase from 10 markets in 2020. Polestar has added six new markets since the start of 2022, including UAE, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. The company also plans to launch in Israel and Italy in the second half of 2022, adding to its Middle East and European footprint. By the end of 2023, Polestar plans to be present in an aggregate of at least 30 markets globally, while continuing to evaluate new market opportunities for the future.
Thomas Ingenlath, CEO of Polestar, said: “Selling already in 25 countries across the globe, Polestar has a unique position in the pure play EV market. We are a real company, not one based on slideshow promises. More than 55,000 Polestar cars are on the roads globally today and we are launching a stunning portfolio of three new models in just three years. These gorgeous EVs are all in advanced development stages, and we have the ability to produce great quality cars with our experienced industrial partners.”
It has built a solid foundation on which to build on, but what is next for the company?
Unsurprisingly, the next car to be unveiled by Polestar is the imaginatively named Polestar 3. The world premiere of the new electric vehicle will be in October this year and it will be the brands first SUV.
Scheduled for release next year, the launch of the car marks Polestar’s entrance into one of the highest margin and growth segments in the automotive industry, particularly in the United States.
According to the manufacturer, the Polestar 3 will, over time, offer autonomous highway piloting powered by the best-in-class LiDAR sensor from Luminar and centralized NVIDIA computing power. At launch, Polestar 3 will feature a dual-motor drivetrain and a large battery, with a range target of over 600 km (WLTP).
“Polestar 3 is the SUV for the electric age. Our design identity evolves with this high-end large luxury EV, with a strong, individual brand character,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. “With this car, we bring the ‘sport’ back to the SUV, staying true to our performance roots.
“This is a major milestone for our company, one that boosts our growth trajectory and takes us into our next phase.”
Whilst attention is firmly set on the Polestar 3, the manufacturer has also teased the release of a new SUV coupe, the Polestar 4.
Disguised under a thin white sheet, details of the Polestar 4 are few and far between but the image does suggest a tapered roofline with a redesigned rear end from the Polestar 3. Polestar 4 is expected to be launched in 2023 as the manufacturer prepares to go to war in the most competitive market segments in terms of demand, performance and design.
Mike Whittington, Head of Global Sales at Polestar, said: “It’s exciting for the whole team to experience this growing momentum in our business. Our order intake is at record levels and currently represents an annualised run-rate of over 75,000 vehicles, putting us in a strong position as the production landscape normalises. In addition, with both Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 on the horizon, we are set to play a leading role in the electrification of lucrative and sizeable premium SUV segments. With a 2025 production capacity for these two EVs expected above 160,000 vehicles per year, we will have the ability to scale quickly and attract new customers to the brand.”
The last car on the lineup of teased Polestar models is the highly anticipated Polestar 5. Th development of this electric vehicle has been well documented by Polestar, with its YouTube documentary series “Precept: from Concept to Car” detailing the progress and design direction of the fully electric performance 4-door GT.
In the docuseries, key production features are revealed, such as the cars bespoke, bonded aluminium platform. Bonded aluminium is light-weight and rigid, yet the new materials and techniques involved are expected to make the car weigh less than that of cars in smaller segments, contributing to improved vehicle efficiency, real-world EV range and dynamic responsiveness, all while delivering leading safety levels. The new bonded aluminium platform will also help drive faster product introduction, high quality and platform rigidity.
“We knew we wanted this car to be light-weight, we knew we wanted high quality and we knew we wanted it quickly,” says Pete Allen, Head of Polestar UK R&D. “This architecture delivers outstanding dynamic and safety attributes, with low investment technology applicable to high production volumes.”
Polestar 5 is now in advanced stages of development and is planned to be launched in 2024. A prototype was also shown for the first time at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed from in June, along with a limited-edition Polestar 2 BST edition 270.
At Goodwood, Polestar also debuted a new powertrain for Polestar 5 for the very first time. In Sweden, development of the new top-of-the-line electric powertrain is ongoing. A new rear electric motor will provide superior output, along with 800-Volt architecture. Combined with a high-output front electric motor, the complete dual motor powertrain aims to deliver 650 kW (884 hp) and 900 Nm.
Jörg Brandscheid, Polestar’s CTO and Head of R&D, said: “The new powertrain we are working on will set a new brand benchmark in our high-performing cars. Combining strong electric motor engineering ability with advances in light-weight platform technology is leading to truly stunning driver’s cars.”
Along with the other production EVs that are currently in development and production, Polestar has revealed a new concept car that “redefines sports roadsters for the electric age.” Named Polestar O2, the hard-top convertible is Polestar’s vision of open-top performance.
“Polestar O2 is the hero car for our brand,” claimed Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar CEO. “It opens the door to our secret chamber of future potential. This is a taste of what we can design and engineer with the talent and technology we have in-house. It looks incredible, and being able to lower the roof and not hear an engine promises a superb sensation.”
The most distinctive element of the Polestar O2 is the autonomous cinematic drone integrated behind the rear seats. Developed in collaboration with Aerofugia’s consumer electronics brand Hoco Flow, the concept drone can be deployed while the car is moving, to record the “perfect driving sequence.”
Polestar engineers have developed a specialised aerofoil that raises behind the rear seats to create a calm area of negative pressure that allows the drone to take off when the car is on the move. The drone operates autonomously, automatically following the car at speeds up to 90 km/h.
“We wanted to emphasise the experience you can have with a car like the Polestar O2 in new and unusual ways,” said Maximilian Missoni, Polestar’s Head of Design. “Integrating an autonomous cinematic drone was something that allowed us to push the boundaries on the innovation front. Not needing to stop and off-load the drone before filming, but rather deploying it at speed, is a key benefit to this innovative design.”
Asides from the autonomous drone, sustainability is at the heat of the Polestar O2. A new thermoplastic mono-material features extensively in the interior, and recycled polyester is the sole material used for all the soft components of the interior.
In terms of design, the O2 features a compact 2+2 cabin design with a low and wide body, minimal overhangs and a long wheelbase. “This car is a meeting point between technology and art, between precision and sculpture, with a determined but not aggressive stance,” added Maximilian Missoni.
No specific details have been confirmed for the Polestar O2 just yet, with the brand not cementing any plans beyond 2025. However, Ingenlath did suggest the intention to turn this concept car into a production model at some point in the future, so watch this space.
Polestar and StoreDot
As well as its progress and ambitions with new electric vehicle models, Polestar has also made significant strides in the battery technology industry, having teamed up with extreme fast charging innovator, StoreDot.
StoreDot is pioneering the development of silicon-dominant extreme fast charging batteries for electric vehicles. The Israel-based company aims to produce batteries for EVs capable of charging up to 160 km of range in just five minutes, by 2024.
As part of the strategic deal, Polestar is collaborating with StoreDot to explore adapting and applying their technology to proof-of-concept Polestar cars. Test cases already being explored include customising StoreDot’s cell technology for Polestar cars, to enable faster charging and improved circularity.
Commenting on the partnership, Thomas Ingenlath said: “Charging and range anxiety are common concerns holding owners of combustion engine cars back from making the switch to EVs. StoreDot’s advanced battery technology potentially provides real solutions to these obstacles. If our current pilot projects with StoreDot are successful, we could see these solutions being implemented in Polestar cars by 2026.”
What the future holds
With four exciting electric vehicles on the way over the next few years and with the company solidifying its position in the fast-charging market, Polestar has outlined its intentions to establish itself as one of the major players in the electric vehicle market.
The next few years will be interesting, not just from Polestar’s perspective but for the electric vehicle industry as a whole, with the majority of manufacturer’s placing electric vehicles at the heart of their strategies.
There will be increasing competition for Polestar, but that is nothing new. The Polestar 2 entered the market and competed with the prestigious Tesla Model 3 and held its own. Even after its release in 2019, the Polestar 2, the brands only fully electric model available today, continues to impress amongst a growing list of EVs.
Polestar has formed a strong platform to build off over the past few years, and now, with a number of interesting and innovative models on their way, the Swedish brand is ready to take over. As I said at the start of this feature, Polestar has entered a new era, and it is one to be truly excited about.