While the formal debut of the new Polestar 3 won’t take place until October, Volvo’s high-performance electric spinoff finally has offered up a first uncamouflaged look at the new battery-electric crossover — while adding a number of new details.
Among other things, plans call for the use of lidar technology to allow Polestar to operate fully autonomously — though not at launch. Production, the automaker said, will begin in early 2023, though it will start taking orders right after the official October unveiling.
“Polestar 3 is the SUV for the electric age. Our design identity evolves with this high-end large luxury EV, with a strong, individual brand character,” Thomas Ingenlath, Polestar’s CEO said in a statement released early Tuesday. “With this car, we bring the ‘sport’ back to the SUV, staying true to our performance roots.”
Volvo spun off Polestar in 2017. It’s owned by the Swedish automaker’s Chinese parent, Zhijiang Geely. It launched its first product two years ago in the form of the high-performance plug-in hybrid, the Polestar 1. But the carmaker has since shifted direction. Starting with the current Polestar 2 model, all future products will be 100% battery-powered.
The Polestar 3 is aimed at accelerating the brand’s growth by targeting a more mainstream segment that will put it up against other high-line battery-electric vehicles like the BMW iX, Audi e-tron and Jaguar i-Pace.
The new image reveals a sporty design that is as much wagon as SUV, with a relatively short nose and a long, sweeping roofline that extends into an integrated spoiler.
The front doors and quarter panels feature a gentle curve, with a more sharply creased character line flowing from the rear doors toward the tailgate.
Polestar has not yet revealed interior images, nor has it said whether the Polestar 3 would feature an under-hood frunk.
The initial version of the Polestar 3 will use twin motors, one on each axle. Range is targeted at 600 kilometers, or 372 miles per charge, the carmaker confirmed in its latest release. That’s based on the European WLTP standard, however, which is likely to mean a rating of around 300 miles based on the stricter EPA test cycle. Though details have no been released, the electric crossover is expected to use a lithium-ion battery pack of around 100 kilowatt-hours.
Polestar 3 will use the latest 800-volt electrical architecture which should enable it to go from a 10% to 80% state-of-charge in under 30 minutes, based on competing offerings.
Later in its lifecycle, Polestar plans to release a single-motor version of the crossover.
It also plans to launch a hands-free “highway piloting” system using lidar, a high-resolution laser technology already found in the driverless robocabs being used by services like Cruise and Waymo. The sensor will be provided by Luminar, though the central processing system is being developed by NVIDIA.
The Polestar 3 will be just the first of three new models set to come out between 2023 and 2025. During that period, the automaker plans to expand its presence into 30 global markets while boosting sales tenfold, from the 29,000 sold in 2021 to 290,000.
The Polestar 3, said Ingenlath, “is a major milestone for our company, one that boosts our growth trajectory and takes us into our next phase.”
The carmaker’s next offering, the Polestar 4, will be a compact crossover more in line with the BMW X3 and Porsche Macan.
Polestar plans to form a SPAC merger later this year with Gores Guggenheim Inc. that will see it listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.