If there’s one car that perhaps best symbolizes the rise of the EV, it’s the Tesla Model 3. The electric sedan has won a lot of consumers over for its daily usability and surprising performance. However, it’s also become a poster-child for Tesla’s continuing quality-control issues. And the Tesla Model 3 now faces a growing field of competitors. In addition to the Audi e-tron, electric Mini Cooper, and Porsche Taycan, BMW, Subaru, GM and Honda are all working on their own EVs. And now, there’s another Tesla Model 3 rival: the Polestar 2.
Initially, Polestar was Volvo’s performance division. Think of it as a Swedish AMG. However, it was eventually split off into its own brand, Road & Track explains. Its first product was the plug-in hybrid Polestar 1. However, as Roadshow explains, the brand’s eventual plan is to go all-electric. And its first pure EV is the Polestar 2 sedan.
Polestar 2 specs and features
Externally, Automobile Magazine and Car and Driver, the Polestar 2 can seem like a crossover. More like the Tesla Model Y than the Model 3. However, The Drive reports it is, in fact, a sedan, just with more ride height. Also, instead of a traditional trunk lid, it’s got a hatchback-style powered liftgate.
The Polestar 2 is powered by dual electric motors, one in front, and one in the rear. Together, they put out 402 hp and 487 lb-ft, and also give the sedan all-wheel drive. A 78-kWh battery pack gives a claimed 275-mile range. The 2 will also reportedly go 0-60 in less than 5 seconds, though no official testing has been performed as of this writing. However, it’s possible that the range and 0-60 could change in the future via over-the-air updates. Tesla and Jaguar have both done that with their respective EVs.
Initially, Roadshow reports the 2 will be available only in ‘Launch Edition’ trim. However, the EV sedan will offer several additional options packages. The standard car comes with a vegan-friendly fabric interior, though Nappa leather can be ordered, instead. In addition, Polestar will also offer a Performance Package, which adds Brembo brakes, fully-adjustable Ohlins suspension, and forged wheels.
However, the base car is fairly well-equipped. It has no need for Android Auto, as it already runs on Google’s Android software platform. That means Google Maps is built into its 11” touchscreen infotainment. Satellite radio is also standard, as is a Harman/Kardon audio system. Finally, the Polestar 2 comes standard with various driver-assistance features, including adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and automatic emergency braking.
Pricing and availability
Initially, Car and Driver reports, the Polestar 2 was expected to start at $63,000. Now, though, after delivery and registration, it will start at $61,200. The slight price decrease, The Drive reports, is to make it eligible for certain states’ EV incentives.
Those options will, inevitably, wipe some of the price cut out. The Performance Package, for instance, costs $5000. The Nappa leather? $4000. And, naturally, certain metallic paint options will also carry additional costs.
Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Roadshow reports that Polestar 2 production has already begun in China. Polestar, like Volvo, is owned by Chinese company Geely. However, Polestar has announced no cases of COVID-19 amongst its workforce.
Polestar won’t have traditional dealerships in North America. Instead, it will have Apple Store-like showrooms, with orders being done online. The first 2s are expected to arrive sometime in late summer 2020.
Polestar 2 vs. Tesla Model 3 and EV competition
On paper, the Tesla Model 3 still beats out the Polestar 2 on range and acceleration. The Model 3 Performance went 0-60 in 3.5 seconds in Car and Driver’s testing and has a claimed 322-mile range. Additionally, the Model 3 Performance has a pre-incentive price of $56,690.
However, as with the Model S, the Tesla Model 3 struggles to reach its claimed max range. Both Autocar and Carwow have reported sub-300-mile ranges in their respective tests. In addition, as the Harley-Davidson LiveWire has demonstrated, the latest EVs are catching up or even surpassing Tesla’s cars in battery efficiency. It’s possible the Polestar 2 may deliver closer to its estimated range than the Model 3 does. And, as Car and Driver has demonstrated, Tesla EV acceleration isn’t necessarily repeatable.
The Audi e-tron also comes with dual electric motors and a luxury interior. And with a 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds, it is quicker than the 2. However, it only has 204 miles of range. Plus, it’s about $15,000 more expensive than the Polestar sedan.
The Porsche Taycan 4S, meanwhile, is more expensive still. Though, while it is luxurious, and more efficient than the EPA claims it is, the Taycan is also more sports car than a luxury car. It’s also been having some quality issues recently.
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