Polestar, the young performance sister brand to Volvo, has launched its first all-electric model and the first car to take the fight directly to the Tesla Model 3.
Described as a ‘premium five-door fastback,’ the 2 has a vaguely Saab-ish profile. Distinctive Volvo-inspired tail lights define the rear end behind thick C-pillars and unusually large alloy wheels. In order to maximise range and efficiency, EVs and hybrids normally settle for wheels originally designed for supermarket trolleys, but the hoops underpinning the Polestar 2 are, if anything, a little too big.
The €39,990 Tesla-baiter (although that balloons to €59,990 for the ‘launch edition’) is based around a two-motor platform, so you should already know it won’t be slow. True enough, the two power units produce a silky 402bhp and 487lb ft – that’s more torque than a Mercedes-AMG C63. For context, a Model 3 AWD Performance produces 450bhp and 471lb ft.
All-wheel drive helps the car launch to 62mph in “less than five seconds.” Speed is standard, then, but buyers can upgrade their car’s handling with a Performance Pack comprising Ohlins dampers, Brembo brakes and 20-inch wheels unique to that spec. Inside the vegan cabin, the upgrades include taste-optional gold seat belts, but gold brake calipers and valve caps are neat touches.
Driving range should be around 310 miles courtesy of a 78kWh battery pack that also acts as a stressed member of the chassis and a sort of damper for some of the noise, vibration and harshness that wheeled road travel creates.
Digital technology is at the car’s heart in more ways than one. Its infotainment system is powered by Android and makes it easy for apps to integrate seamlessly both now and in the future, when the number of paid-for connected services will only increase. Google Maps with EV-specific features and Google Assistant are embedded for full functionality.
It will be built from early 2020 in left- and right-hand drive in a facility in China. The markets to receive it first will be the USA, Canada, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UK and China.
In the US it will cost $55,500 for the bells-and-whistles launch edition after government incentives are deducted. A cheaper price should be announced in due course for the regular version. The Tesla Model 3 starts from $35,000 before incentives, so even accounting for the lower future entry price of the Polestar 2, the Model 3 is likely to remain thousands cheaper.