New electric car brand Polestar seeks to challenge Tesla, other makers of electric vehicles

There’s an exotic new alternative-fueled car hitting the roads called Polestar.

“Polestar is the new performance electric car brand from the Volvo and Geely car groups. So you get the safety and security of what we like to call a 92-year-old startup,” said J.P. Canton, director of communications for Polestar in North America.

Sure, you’ve probably heard of Volvo, which is still making premium cars with an emphasis on both Scandinavian design and safety. And Volvo is busy adding electrification across its own model line. There will even be a fully-electric Volvo SUV for the 2021 model year.

But think of Polestar as Volvo’s more specialized cousin. And cars don’t get more specialized than the sleek Polestar 1, which definitely has Volvo’s DNA in its design. It’s actually based on a former Volvo coupe concept car. The structure of the Polestar 1 is made of carbon fiber, and it’s a plug-in hybrid with about 60 miles of battery range, and a total of over 600 horsepower from its combined gasoline and electric motors.

There will only be a few hundred sold in the U.S., partly due to its nearly $160,000 sticker price. But again, it’s an exotic, and a flagship for the brand. And as the name suggests, Polestar 1 is just the first in what will be a whole line of Polestar electrified vehicles.

Coming along very soon will be the Polestar 2, a 4-door fastback with a rear hatch. It’s a much more affordable and mainstream vehicle, within the world of pure electrics, with a starting price of about $60,000 before federal and state tax incentives. (In California, that means the purchase price will be closer to $50,000. And yes, it’s intended as a competitor to Tesla, among others.)

“The range is going to be in the mid-200s in terms of mileage on a full charge. It’s a really fun-spirited car to drive, and that’s really what Polestar’s all about, being the driver’s car in our family,” noted J.P. Canton of Polestar.

I got to be among the first to try out the Polestar 2, and I found that it drives like most modern electric cars – in other words quiet and quick. The optional Performance Pack gets you suspension, brake, wheel, and tire upgrades. And standard on all Polestar 2s is connectivity via Android and Google, the first for a car brand. Alexa is along for the ride, and you can still use Apple Car Play as well. The Google-Android system will also let you connect to other Google-connected devices, like a smart home. And everything can be updated over-the-air.

And there will be more vehicles coming along, as this new brand ramps up.

“We’re going to be showing the Polestar 3 in the not-too-distant future, which will be an SUV,” said J.P. Canton of Polestar, without revealing too many more details. The Polestar 3 should be unveiled in the next month or so.

So you will start seeing these designs with Polestar’s distinctive logo (a stylized four-pointed star) out on the road. Cars from a “startup”…which has sort of been around for decades.

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