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.
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.
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.