Polestar is finally ready to take aim at the mainstream as it sets a date to unveil the third entry into its line-up, Polestar 3 on tap for a formal October debut.
The startup brand’s very first model was a high-cost, limited-edition plug-in hybrid coupe, with the Polestar 2 an all-electric hatchback. The Polestar 3 will be a battery-electric plug-in hybrid and will be produced here in the U.S. market alongside Volvo’s new EVs.
Polestar already has offered some insight into what it has described as an “aerodynamic performance electric SUV.” CEO Thomas Ingenlath has also referred to it as a “big, tall, grown-up SUV.”
What we can expect
While no specs have yet been released, the Polestar 3 is expected to be a midsize crossover with two rows and five-seat capacity. That could put it up against upscale models like the BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne — or the Jaguar i-Pace and BMW iX among all-electric models. It will start around $70,000 and top out in the mid-$80,000 range, according to various sources.
The design is that of a coupe-like crossover, based on the teaser image that Polestar has released, though the camouflage makes it difficult to pull out specific details. It does pick up some familiar cues from the Polestar 2, however, including the front fascia and light bar. The teaser suggests that the 3 will have recessed or, more likely, pop-out door handles to improve aerodynamics.
For his part, Ingenlath — a former designer — told CNET last year that the Polestar 3 will “define the look for SUVs in the electric age.” Of course, the new brand will have plenty of competitors also looking to set the defining shape and style as the industry rapidly migrates to battery power.
Up to 370 miles range
The battery drive system is believed to use an 800-volt design which would allow for faster charging as well as extended range that Polestar hopes will push as high as 370 miles. The lithium-ion battery pack is believed to have a capacity of around 100 kilowatt-hours, if not higher.
An all-wheel-drive package is certain. It’s less clear if a rear-wheel-drive package might also be offered.
The 800-volt system should bring the ability to go from a 10 to 80% state-of-charge in under 30 minutes, based on competing offerings.
Polestar is a spinoff of Volvo, backed by the Swedish automaker’s Chinese parent Geely.
It has so far been a niche player, but sales volumes have been on the rise, reaching 13,600 during the first four months of this year. That’s nearly double its volume during the same period in 2021. And it exceeds the overall bump in EV demand. In the U.S., sales were up 81% for the full year. The segment recorded another 60% jump during the first quarter of 2022.
“We believe our future growth will be further accelerated by our entry into the lucrative SUV market later this year with the world premiere in October of the long-awaited Polestar 3 electric performance SUV,” Ingenlath said in a statement accompanying the debut announcement.
“Polestar 3, which will be manufactured in the U.S. and China, will stand out amongst other SUV offerings and boost our strong growth trajectory to take us into our next phase.”
Until now, Polestar products have been assembled exclusively in China. But the Polestar 3 will find a place on the assembly line Volvo operating near Charleston, South Carolina. Production is set to begin during the second half of this year.
For its part, Volvo is also prepping to roll out its first EV at the plant in 2022. The longer-term plan is to shift it entirely to battery-electric vehicles in the coming years. Volvo plans to phase out internal combustion engines by the end of the decade.
What’s next from Polestar?
While Polestar hopes the 3 will give it more momentum, it’s already laying out plans for an expanded line-up. The carmaker’s next offering, the Polestar 4, will be a compact crossover more in line with the BMW X3 and Porsche Macan.
It also is working up a flagship sedan, the Polestar 5, based on the Precept Concept first shown in 2020.