Safety first as Polestar 2 edges closer to Euro launch
As Covid-19 restrictions eased in China at the end of March, car manufacturers in the world's largest market were able to get their production lines operating again. Among them was Polestar, the sister company to Volvo that is dedicated to electric vehicle
AS Covid-19 restrictions eased in China at the end of March, car manufacturers in the world's largest market were able to get their production lines operating again, writes William Scholes.
Among them was Polestar, the sister company to Volvo that is dedicated to electric vehicles.
Its first major product is the Polestar 2, which is probably the first direct rival to Tesla's Model 3 in a part of the market that has traditionally been dominated by sporty saloons, such as the BMW 3 Series.
The Polestar factory in Luqiao is owned by Volvo parent Geely and operated by Volvo. Geely's stewardship of Volvo is regarded as exemplary, which means that much is expected of Polestar.
Until the brand becomes better established, it is probably a shrewd enough move to be thought of as 'Volvo's electric sidekick', with the Swedish company's stock so high. The Polestar 2 certainly looks a lot like a Volvo...
Polestar boss Thomas Ingenlath said production had started amid enormous global upheaval because of the pandemic.
"We start production now under these challenging circumstances, with a strong focus on the health and safety of our people," he said
"This is a great achievement and the result of huge efforts from the staff in the factory and the team securing the supply chain."
China itself, North America and some European markets, including the UK, are the markets Polestar is targeting the 2 initially.
The first year of Polestar 2 production will be devoted to the full-fat 402bhp, 487lb.ft version with a motor on each axle, all-wheel-drive and a 78kWh battery pack. Range is quoted as just over 290 miles. The 0-60mph time is 4.7 seconds
Though you appear to be able to order a car through the Polestar website - the brand is operating without traditional dealers - it is not entirely clear how coronavirus will affect the planned summer launch of the car in Europe. The website says delivery is "from July 2020".
The launch edition of the car costs £50k, though less expensive versions are expected in the future.
However, the first year of Polestar 2 production will be devoted to the full-fat 402bhp, 487lb.ft version with a motor on each axle, all-wheel-drive and a 78kWh battery pack. Range is quoted as just over 290 miles. The 0-60mph time is 4.7 seconds.
Connectivity is an essential part of EVs like the Polestar 2, and it is billed as the first car to feature a built-in infotainment system powered by Google's Android software, and featuring Google Maps, Google Assistant and the Google Play Store.
As well as cutting-edge tech, more traditional Volvo values of safety are present and correct. Polestar is particularly proud of how the car's batteries are packaged and protected, as well as of the sound the car makes.
"We deliberately did not want Polestar 2 to sound like a robot or symphonic spaceship," said Mr Ingenlath.
"We wanted very natural, subtle sounds that simply let pedestrians know the car is moving.
"At the same time, we wanted Polestar 2 to sound slightly unique and become identifiable as a Polestar, while remaining relatively simple."
What that means in the real world remains to be seen - or heard.
"Safety is of paramount importance for Polestar," said Mr Ingenlath.
"We are directly linked to Volvo Cars and with that comes their famous reputation for outstanding safety technology.
"So of course, Polestar cars are designed to be amongst the safest in the world and we are really proud of that."