The EV Powered Interview

Navigating to an electric future with Polestar’s Jonathan Goodman 

With the updated Polestar 2 on sale now and two innovative new models coming in 2024, we spoke to the brand’s UK boss to get the lowdown on Polestar’s bright future.

How has Polestar grown in the UK in recent years?

We delivered our first car in August 2020 and we’ve seen really good growth in the brand ever since then. We did 800 cars that first six months of the year, we did 4,000 the second year, 7,500 the third year, and 12,500 last year. So we’ve seen really good growth in the brand as both the brand and the cars have resonated with the UK public.

I think we’re in a great position. We’ve got around 25,000 Polestars driving around the UK, and I’m really excited about the future that’s coming.

Tell us a little bit more about the future and Polestar 3 and Polestar 4

We’ve done a super job in the UK with Polestar 2 but, it’s one car. What we have now coming in the next five months is two brand new cars and both of those cars are electric, of course, but they’re both SUVs.

Polestar 3 is a large, but very stylish SUV. So it’s not a boxy vehicle at all. It’s a Porsche Cayenne-sized vehicle which takes us into a new audience. It’s selling at just under £80,000. So, we’re appealing to a different consumer. We call Polestar 3 the SUV for the electric age, because it offers people the range, performance, space and it embodies what Polestar is all about, which is really strong design.

Then Polestar 4 is an SUV coupe. Slightly lower and, again, a stunning car. And that’s coming in at around £60,000 mark. So we’ve got two brand new SUVs — the two fastest growing segments in the electric vehicle marketplace — coming out within months of each other, giving a real burst to the brand.

Polestar 3 in Polestar Space Silverburn
The Polestar 3 is arriving this year

So are 3 and 4 customers new to the brand or are they Polestar 2 owners?

Some of the customers who have had a car for three years are very interested. They like the brand and they’re very keen to see Polestar 3 and Polestar 4 as the next step on the Polestar journey for them. But the vast majority we’re taking from other brands.

They might have had BMWs or Fords for years and they’re coming and having a look at this Polestar brand, and they want to take the time to understand it, and feel reassured by it. And that’s where being able to build the cars on the Volvo platforms to start with, having access to 92 service points around the UK, just gives people reassurance.

On the subject of Volvo, with that brand withdrawing investment from Polestar and funding coming in from elsewhere, what does the long-term future of Polestar look like?

There’s been an enormous amount of fast and loose reporting on what’s happened.

Polestar 1, Polestar 2, Polestar 3 are all built on Volvo platforms. Volvo’s been a great partner for Polestar. They’ve owned 48.5% of Polestar from the get go and there’s no way we, as a company, would have been able to launch as quickly and get things established as fast as we have done without that support.

If you look at what’s now happening, Polestar 3 will be very quickly followed by Polestar 4, which is built on a Geely platform and Polestar 5, which comes after that, is built on our own platform, but with Geely electrical architecture. So there’s a separating of the ways.

Volvo have done a great job for us. We’re still highly connected with them commercially because all of our dealers are Volvo dealers. We have not just the seven Spaces, we also have 92 aftersales locations, which are Volvo dealers, which have all signed contracts with us to do the after sales and service work and that will continue straight on.

But it’s also a logical time for Volvo to take a slight step back and for Geely to take a step forward because we’re getting more involved with the Geely technology. Volvo will remain the third biggest shareholder in Polestar, so they’re not walking away but Geely now become our second largest shareholder.

If you look at the Geely structure, Geely owns Volvo, they own Zeekr, they own Lotus. They own Proton, they’ve got shares in Mercedes, It’s a big global car brand. And now Polestar sits alongside all those brands on the same footing, whereas before we were a sub-brand under Volvo.

And at the same time, we have around $1 billion dollars of external funding coming in, which meets the majority of our funding requirements for our business plan.

As a purely EV brand, how is Polestar reacting to the recent negativity around EVs and softening demand?

The UK government said it was no longer going to insist that the new car market is 100% by 2030, they can move it out to 2035. But at the same time government put in place the ZEV mandate, which means that every single car manufacturer has to be at 80% of their total volume as zero emission vehicles by 2030.

What that means to the car industry is that the vast majority of cars are going to be EVs by 2030. Nothing’s changed. For a pure EV brand like us, nothing that’s announced has changed our approach. We still have to produce cars that stand on their own two feet, that look good, that are great to drive, and that deliver the experience and the performance that a customer wants.

There are more questions about demand, and I think that the government’s got to do an awful lot more to help people make the change to zero emission vehicles.

I believe fundamentally that the the air quality in our cities is not good enough, and it is a burden on health. And the solution to that is to have electric vehicles more widely adopted.

The government has set the glide path and said ‘this is when it’s got to be done by’. Great. Now what is the government going to do for the retail customer to make it easier to transition. The reality is there is almost no country in Europe that does less to incentivise the retail customer for the purchase of an EV than the UK.

If you’re a company car driver, you have benefit-in-kind taxation benefits that make it a very easy decision but there’s nothing for the private customer.

The government wants 80% of the market to be EV by 2030. You need to back that up. It can’t just be stick. There needs to be a little bit of carrot for the consumer as well.

The Polestar 2 will be joined by three new models in the coming years

What does that support look like?

One step would be to half VAT on an EV. It’ll be 10% rather than 20%,which reduces the cost of the initial purchase. And a lot of people who are umming and ahhing suddenly have a reason to go ‘I’m going to give this a try’.

If I charge at home and have an off-road parking, I pay 5% VAT. If I charge publicly, I’m paying 20% VAT. Why not have the domestic rate of VAT applicable to public charging so that people who don’t have a home charger aren’t penalised?

The third thing that the government has got to help move the needle on is to increase the number of charging points. And that can be done by making the planning simpler, making bridging into the grid simpler. We’ve seen a massive expansion of the infrastructure in the UK, but if the number of cars being sold is going to increase, then that acceleration needs to continue.

Finally, what can you tell us about Polestar 5?

It’s a sports GT coupe and what I love about that car is that the design and engineering is done here in the UK.

We have a fantastic team in Coventry, of 500 engineers who’ve come from Formula One, McLaren, Lotus, and other EV brands within the group, and they have this amazing ability to design cars that are exhilarating to drive. It’s fantastic handling and has bonded aluminum technology that the team are masters of, enabling us to have this wonderful shape vehicle that we showed at Goodwood last year.

I can’t wait to have that car there, but I also think it’s a great advert for the engineering capability in the UK. So many people in the UK are quick to say ‘oh, we’re not good at this or that’. Well, I beg to differ. There’s fantastic engineering capability in the UK, and 500 of them work for us in Coventry and are producing that car, and that makes me very proud.

Click here to listen to the full interview on the Everything EV Podcast and be sure to like and subscribe!

Want the latest Electric vehicle news in your inbox? Sign up to the free EV Powered email newsletter...

Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.