When Volvo acquired Polestar in 2015, the Swedish brand was known for high-performance sports cars. A short time later, Volvo reimagined Polestar as an all-electric brand that mixes performance and luxury in a very Scandinavian fashion. Today, the Polestar 2 is one of the most sought after electric cars in America. Here’s why drivers are falling in love with Polestar’s take on affordable luxury.
Interior and Exterior Design
The Polestar 2 exudes its kinship with Volvo from every angle, yet the Polestar brand has managed to take on its own identity among EV enthusiasts. With origins in Swedish racing, Polestar is synonymous with style and performance, at least in Europe. In North America, Polestar is unknown to most, however one headline-grabbing Super Bowl commercial improved the brand’s name recognition in the US.
On the exterior, the Polestar 2 is defined by sharp angles and a slightly elevated posture. Volvo-like headlights and taillights leave no guessing as to the design language. With a ground clearance of 5.9 inches and an overall height of 59 inches, the Polestar 2 is a few inches taller than the Model 3. It’s no crossover, but it provides room to grow that many other electric sedans lack.
Behind the back seat, there’s 14.3 cubic feet of cargo space. That may not sound like a lot, but the trunk is accessible via a hatchback-like power liftgate. That’s one serious advantage over the Tesla Model 3. Up front, there’s a little frunk with 1.2 cubic feet of storage space.
Eco-Friendly Interior Meets Minimalism
The Polestar 2’s interior is carefully crafted with eco-friendly accents and fabrics. The main touch points and sight areas are a fusion of wood, fabric, and conservative use of plastic. If you’ve seen the interior of any recent Volvo model, you already have an idea of what the Polestar 2 offers. If anything, the Polestar’s interior breathes minimalism into the Volvo family. Seating is offered in sustainably-sourced cloth upholstery or leather. The performance package throws in polarizing gold seatbelts to brighten up an otherwise dark interior.
If you’re a fan of the Android operating system, Polestar has a treat for you. The digital instrument cluster is presented on a 12-inch horizontal display in front of the driver. Infotainment and climate controls are found on a centrally-located 11.3-inch touchscreen that operates on Google’s Android Automotive operating system. Google Maps is seamlessly integrated into the Polestar 2’s navigation system, and apps are displayed much as they are on any Android phone.
Polestar 2 Powertrain and Performance
Going electric comes with tradeoffs. Range is still king, at least until DC fast chargers become commonplace in America. Rarely does an electric car offer the best range AND performance on the same spec. That remains true for the Polestar 2.
If you foresee the need for maximum range, the single-motor variant is rated for 270 miles. Range comes at the expense of power. The single-motor Polestar 2 cranks out 231 horsepower, which is good for a 0-60 time of around 7 seconds. Speed enthusiasts will be inclined to go for the 408 horsepower all-wheel drive (dual-motor) option. The dual-motor Polestar 2 leaps to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, which is just a hair ‘slower’ than the dual-motor Model 3. The performance package drops that to 4.1 seconds.
Polestar 2 Over-the-Air Updates
You know what Tesla has that other automakers don’t? A superior charging network, a vertically-integrated platform, and seamless over-the-air (OTA) updates. Other OEMs are catching up slowly but surely. Now, Polestar can tout OTA update capability. An OTA update will increase the dual-motor Polestar 2’s horsepower from 408 to 476 HP and torque from 487 to 502 lb-ft. All that’s needed for an OTA update is a secure wireless internet connection.
Polestar 2 Range and Charging
The Polestar 2 is powered by Volvo’s electric Compact Modular Architecture (CMA). A 78.0-kWh lithium-ion battery pack (75 kWh usable) lies under the floor. The single-motor model has a range of 270 miles, and the dual-motor variant should make it 249 miles on a single charge. Real-world tests have found that highway driving cuts range considerably. Car and Driver’s 75 mpg highway test yielded just 190 miles of range. For comparison, the dual-motor Tesla Model 3 managed 310 miles at 70 mph.
Charging is not one of the Polestar 2’s strengths, at least compared to the major competitors. The powertrain supports DC fast-charging up to 150 kilowatts. That’s similar to the Ford Mustang Mach-E and Volkswagen ID.4, but slower than what you’ll get in a Model 3, IONIQ 5 or Kia EV6. Polestar claims a charge time from empty to 80 percent in 40 minutes.
Polestar is providing 2 years of free charging sessions (for 30 minutes per session) to new and existing 2021 and 2022 Polestar 2 customers. For those who travel plenty, this could add up to thousands of dollars saved. Tesla no longer offers a free charging incentive, so keep this in mind in addition to the EV tax incentive.
How Much Does the Polestar 2 Cost?
Polestar 2 pricing starts at $47,200 including the $1,300 delivery charge. Upgrading to the dual-motor Polestar 2 will tack on $4,000 for a price of $51,200. The performance pack adds performance brakes, suspension upgrades, performance tires and gold (yes, gold) seat belts for an additional $5,000. The $4,000 plus package adds a heat pump for improved cold weather range, and a long list of luxury upgrades. The $3,200 Pilot package includes upgraded driver assistance tech and better LED headlights.
A fully-loaded Polestar 2 will total up to about $70,000 before taxes. Polestar sells direct to consumers (much like Tesla), so don’t expect any negotiating or surprise dealer fees.
Does the Polestar 2 Qualify For the EV Tax Credit?
Yes! All automakers who have not yet reached the 200,000-sale milestone continue to qualify for the $7,500 EV tax credit. Tesla and General Motors electric vehicles no longer qualify, but revisions to the tax credit are under discussion in 2022. Until Polestar grows their sales numbers considerably, their electric models will continue to qualify for this incentive in the US. State incentives may provide additional ways of lowering the total cost of ownership for the Polestar 2.
What’s Next For Polestar? Polestar 3 Pricing and Specs
The Polestar 3 electric crossover SUV should arrive in the North American market in the first quarter of 2023. Volvo will make the 3 in America at Volvo’s South Carolina production plant. Polestar has not released many details about the 3, but it is expected to start around $60,000 to $70,000 considering the base MSRPs of the Tesla Model Y, BMX iX, and others.
The electric vehicle space is heating up, and Volvo’s Polestar brand is going full steam ahead. The Polestar 2 represents a compelling alternative to the best-selling Tesla Model 3. Will Swedish sophistication and sharp looks be enough to propel Polestar into the list of top EV contenders? Time will tell.