Polestar, previously Volvo’s performance and motorsport arm and now a brand in its own right, has unveiled its first vehicle at an event in Shanghai, reiterating the brand’s electric performance credentials.
Called the Polestar 1, the new model shows off the new brand’s focus on electrification, utilising a high performance petrol-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain that generates 447Kw of power and a staggering 1000Nm of torque divided between the turbo and supercharged four-cylinder petrol engine and dual electric motors driving the rear axle.
The design of 2+2 coupe borrows heavily from Volvo’s 2013 Coupe Concept, and apart from the Polestar badging could easily take its place as a member of the Volvo range featuring the same square-shouldered look and C-shaped tail lights as its current models.
Like the S90 sedan and recently released XC60 SUV, the Polestar 1 is based on Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) chassis, but at 4.5 metres in length it is is around 65cm shorter from nose to tail than an S90 with a 32cm shorter wheelbase and 20cm cut out of the rear overhang for a more sporting stance.
The Polestar 1 will be produced at a purpose-built facility in Chengdu, China as part of a joint venture with Volvo’s parent company Geely with maximum production capped at just 500 units per year. Production will start in mid-2019 and later that year a Polestar 2 mid-size sedan (based off the next-generation S60) and Polestar 3 performance SUV will also kick off production.
Polestar also promises that its future vehicle range will be powered by fully electric powertrains.
Polestar 1 will boast the longest electric-only range of any plug-in hybrid currently available with up to 150 kilometres of range from a single charge, based on Volvo’s current Drive-E engine range.
A new double electric motor connected by a planetary gear set will generate 163 kW at the rear axle, while an integrated starter generator will provide assistance to the 2.0-litre petrol engine powering only the front wheels. A Pure mode will allow the Polestar 1 to operate as a wholly electric rear wheel drive machine.
The axle system will also bring torque vectoring to the Volvo group for the first time, using each individual rear motor to push the car through corners rather than traditional torque vectoring by braking systems of rival cars.
As well as Polestar’s innovative EV technology, the 1 will also debit Ohlins' Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension, able to to respond in 2 milliseconds to changes in road conditions, with the driver able to adjust ride and damping on the go.
Akebono will provide the brake hardware including 400mm front brake discs with six-piston calipers.
“Most electric cars are fast - that’s a product of the attributes of an electric motor. However, for Polestar, performance is far more holistic than just straight-line speed. It’s about acceleration, of course, but it’s also about cornering, braking, suspension control, chassis feedback and steering feel. This is what Polestar calls Progressive Performance,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar’s Chief Executive Officer.
Volvo will also debut a new ownership model with access to its vehicles via a subscription service that eliminates traditional ownership concerns like insurance, maintenance, and depreciation.
Users will be able to book valet services, change vehicles for vacations should they require something larger, add accessories like a roof box for short term use, and pay for it all with a monthly inclusive bill over a fixed two or three year term.