Volvo’s strategy with relaunching Polestar as an electric vehicle brand has been somewhat confusing with their first vehicle being a $150,000+ plug-in hybrid.
Now Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath has clarified their plans by saying that “Tesla and the increasingly electrified Porsche” is their competition.
Polestar used to be Volvo’s performance brand, but it was relaunched as an all-electric brand last year.
It was off to a somewhat awkward but interesting start last year when it unveiled its first vehicle, the Polestar 1.
The car turned out to be a highly expensive plug-in hybrid, which quickly sounded outdated when the automaker announced that they would bring an all-electric “Tesla Model 3 competitor” to production a year later.
Polestar mentioned Tesla’s Model 3 by name in its press release, which is rare in the auto industry. They made it clear that they wanted to go after the vehicle, but it became confusing as we learned more about the car and it didn’t sound much like a Model 3 competitor.
CEO Thomas Ingenlath confirmed that it will be somewhat of a low volume car that will start at around €40,000 (~$49,300) and he pushed production to 2020.
He even started to distance the vehicle from the “Tesla killer” narrative:
We are not saying it’s a Tesla killer, we are here to vividly compete with them in the market. We will launch Polestar 2 in the second half of 2019 and production will begin around the start of 2020.
Now in a new interview with Ward Auto, Ingenlath clarified Polestar’s new position in the market and sees Tesla and Porsche as the competition:
With a path toward electrification firmly in place, it sees itself going head-to-head with a different crowd. Polestar CEO Thomas Ingenlath calls Tesla and the increasingly electrified Porsche “our competitive set.”
We are talking about a performance electric vehicle.
Ingenlath doesn’t want to focus too much on the 0-60 mph acceleration number and instead wants to put attention on the handling:
“As soon as you’re beyond the 4.0-second (mark) and zero to 100, all that feels just flipping fast anyway and you’re not able to detect the difference anymore,” he continues, saying the more important metric is overall performance. “How does the car handle and how does it drive around the street and the bend and how does it feel?”
Tesla has been known to focus and push the boundaries of the 0 to 60 mph acceleration.
Interestingly, Porsche has also been aiming to distance itself from this focus on their upcoming all-electric vehicles and focus on transferring the Porsche driving experience to electric propulsion.
If you are looking to model a new electric vehicle brand after an existing one, Tesla should definitely be on top of your list and it plays right into Tesla’s mission to accelerate the advent of electric transport.
As for Porsche, it’s hardly an electric vehicle brand yet, but as I have discussed in the past, it seems to be one of the most serious legacy automakers when it comes to electrification and therefore, not a bad model for Polestar either.
Like I said before, I thought it was really weird for Polestar to be announced as an all-electric brand with all the future vehicles being all-electric – except for their first vehicle being a plug-in hybrid.
But I’m not counting them out. While I don’t see why people would want to buy the Polestar one, even though some are since they have 550 pre-orders, I think it would have been an awesome car with an all-electric powertrain.
Let’s see what they can do with the all-electric Polestar 2, which we should see soon.