Polestar, Volvo’s all-electric vehicle spinoff, has signed up its first U.S. dealers and plans to open the new “Polestar Spaces” during the second half of this year with two new models, the plug-in hybrid Polestar 1 and all-electric Polestar 2.
Polestar is one of an assortment of ground-up battery-car brands hoping to crack into the traditionally closed U.S. market, a group that also includes Lucid, Faraday Future and Rivian, among others.
“We have been able to partner with retailers that that embrace Polestar’s innovative retail and service models. This will of course be a major benefit to our customers,” Gregor Hembrough, head of Polestar USA, said in a news release. “With more than 80% of Polestar 2 reservation holders residing within a 150-mile range of the Spaces scheduled to open by mid-2021, customers will be well supported throughout their relationship with Polestar.”
Like Tesla, the Swedish EV start-up is hoping that it can crack into the U.S. market with a line-up of distinctive battery-cars:
The Polestar 1 isn’t entirely new from the ground up. It starts out with a shortened version of the Volvo V90 platform motivated by a drivetrain similar to Volvo’s T8 Twin-Engine pairing a turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder 2.0-liter gas engine with two motors mounted on the rear axle;
- Polestar 2 is a five-door hatchback powered by a pair of electric motors, one on each axle, producing a total of 408 horsepower, with 0 to 60 times promised at “less than 5 seconds.”
Where Tesla has opted to set up a factory-owned dealer network, Polestar is partnering with several U.S. powerhouses, including Manhattan Motorcars, Galpin Motors and Price-Simms Automotive Group for its initial Polestar Space showrooms in New York City, Los Angeles and San Francisco – two “Spaces” on tap for the Bay Area. The automaker says it will next target Boston, Denver, Texas, Washington D.C. and Florida regions.
While Polestar plans to have brick-and-mortar showrooms, it intends to put an emphasis on online sales, a shift that is expected to rapidly sweep through the rest of the auto industry due to the coronavirus pandemic. A number of states still require some in-person contact, however, if for nothing more than to get customers to sign physical paperwork.
But Polestar will offer home delivery and service, meaning most customers will seldom, if ever, have to actually see a showroom or service shop.
“Polestar customers living within 150 miles of a Polestar Space can have their new car delivered to their door and picked up for future servicing,” the automaker said, adding that, “For customers living beyond the 150-mile delivery radius, their nearest Polestar Space will work to provide the most convenient solution for their needs.”
It remains to be seen how well Polestar will fare in the immediate future. Many industry analysts had forecast 2020 would see a marked surge in interest in battery-based vehicles, in part due to the flood of new offerings coming to market this year. But the pandemic has thrown everything up into the air, in part due to the huge slump in gasoline prices, but also due to the slump in overall vehicle sales.