Polestar: Volvo’s electric high-performance brand
More than 440kW of power. 1000Nm of torque. A 150km zero-emissions range. And a striking, lightweight carbon fibre coupe body.
In 2019, the future of dynamic motoring will manifest itself in the stunning shape of the Polestar 1, the first production model from Volvo’s new standalone performance brand.
While the Polestar 1 (main image) will be for left-hand-drive markets only, it will be followed by the Polestar 2 that will eventually go on sale in Australia.
The Polestar 2 will be a mid-sized battery electric vehicle (BEV) with higher sales volumes and positioned in a competitive set including Tesla.
Additional models will include an SUV-style pure electric vehicle.
Above: The Polestar badge has a long history with Volvo Cars.
Customers will be able to physically interact with the cars through a network of facilities called Polestar Spaces, which will stand alone from Volvo showrooms.
The traditional ownership experience will also change, with customers configuring and ordering Polestar models for two- to three-year subscriptions (known overseas as Care by Volvo) via the brand’s dedicated app or online portal.
Polestar’s transformation into a performance sub-brand is a natural evolution for a name that has long been associated with Volvo.
Its origins go back to the mid-1990s when, as a company called Flash Engineering, it took owner and driver Jan “Flash” Nilsson to victory in the inaugural Swedish touring car championship driving a works Volvo 850 Super Touring car.
A year after ownership of Flash Engineering changed, the company name changed to Polestar – reflecting both the frozen north of Sweden as well as pole position and the star of racing.
In 2006, Polestar separated into racing and performance divisions, with engineers from the latter eventually becoming involved in sportier versions of Volvo models – with Australia playing an important role in 2013 when it became the pilot market for the S60 Polestar performance sedan.
That was followed by the V60 Polestar wagon and an expansion into other markets.
Above: The 2013 Volvo S60 Polestar high-performance sedan was trialled successfully in the Australian market.
Volvo Cars bought the Polestar performance division in 2015, with the Polestar 1 announced two years later as the first production project.
The Polestar 1 is a 2+2-seater GT that will be the halo vehicle for the Polestar brand, powered by an ‘Electric Performance Hybrid’ drivetrain capable of high-output figures as well as the longest full electric range of any hybrid car on the market.
Polestar 1 uses the same Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) as Volvo’s 90-series and 60-series models, though about half of the modular components are unique - created by Polestar engineers.
This next-generation driver’s car benefits from a raft of new technologies.
A carbon fibre body reduces weight, improves structural rigidity and lowers its centre of gravity.
A double electric rear axle enables more responsive acceleration and maximum road grip via torque vectoring.
And the Polestar 1 is founded upon an advanced chassis, as the world’s first car to feature an all-new, class-leading Öhlins Continuously Electronic Suspension (CESi).
“Polestar 1 is a beautiful GT with amazing technology packed into it – a great start for our new Polestar brand,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Chief Executive Officer of Polestar. “All future cars from Polestar will feature a fully electric drivetrain, delivering on our brand vision of being the new standalone electric performance brand."
Customers will be able to interact physically with the cars through a network of facilities called Polestar Spaces, which will stand alone from Volvo showrooms.
The traditional ownership experience will also change, with customers configuring and ordering Polestar models via the brand’s dedicated app or online portal.