Volvo unveiled the first car to be launched under its new Polestar sub-brand October 17, the Polestar 1 hybrid sports coupe, to start production in mid-2019.

Since 1996, Polestar has been the name of Volvo’s performance arm, like Mercedes-Benz’s AMG, but the Swedish automaker is now spinning Polestar off into its own cutting-edge-technology electric performance brand with its own line of vehicles.

The first will be the Polestar 1, a futuristic-looking plug-in hybrid sports coupe capable of churning out a total 600 horsepower and 737 lb-ft of torque between the two electric motors powering its rear wheels and the 2.0-litre Drive-E gas four-cylinder underhood.

The car’s all-electric range is an industry-best(-for-hybrids) 150 km (90 miles) and the technology built into the car incredibly impressive; standard are carbon-fibre body panels, rear-wheel torque vectoring, and Öhlins’ all-new Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension system.

The Polestar 1’s looks match the advanced tech inside—the styling is simple and clean, with unique touches like sci-fi inspired Helvetica-font stickers instead of chrome badging and a panel mounted in the trunk with neatly marked heavy-gauge orange wires and connectors.

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Following the Polestar 1 later in 2019 will be the fully electric Polestar 2 high-volume-production four-door sedan, which will take on cars like the Tesla Model 3; and the fully electric Polestar 3 SUV, which would compete with trucks like the Tesla Model X.

Like Tesla, Volvo wants to send customers not to traditional dealerships to look at the Polestar 1, but to a website or to standalone “Spaces,” though servicing may still be performed by Volvo dealers and the model may look different in Canada and the U.S.

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Prospective customers won’t actually be able to buy a Polestar 1: the company will make the car available only through a two- or three-year subscription service similar to a lease but managed through a phone app.

A monthly payment plan gets you access to the car, covers insurance, and includes scheduled maintenance and detailing.

Volvo plans to build just 500 Polestar 1 cars per year in a new plant in Chengdu, China beginning mid-2019, and to have the brand operate independently from its parent. The car will be made available only in China, the United States, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands.

(Volvo)