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Polestar is to Volvo what IKEA meatballs are to any other brand you might pick up at the supermarket: a superior Swedish work of art that manages to improve upon the competition in almost every conceivable way, even if, on paper, they sound like the same thing.
Once upon a time, Polestar was the sexy, sporty, let’s go racing division of Volvo, after the Swedish automakers acquired it in the mid-90s, before going on to make Polestar the official brand that Volvo used for performance modifications to its cars (think M cars for BMW or AMG for Mercedes).
Now Polestar is its very own high-end, design-focused electric-car brand, with imaginatively named models like Polestar 1, Polestar 2 and Polestar 3. In terms of nomenclatures, it’s either refreshingly straightforward, or something like a bad Hollywood sequel completely devoid of any kind of imagination, depending on your point of view.
Volvo became a subsidiary of Chinese automotive manufacturer Geely Holding Group in 2010, which now owns Polestar as a result.
Although Polestar’s headquarters are in Gothenburg, Sweden, the cars themselves are mostly manufactured in China. The Polestar 1 is made at the Polestar Plant in Chengdu, China, and the Polestar 2 is made at the Luqiao CMA Super Factory.
The Polestar 3 is the current outlier, and is being manufactured at a plant in Ridgeville, South Carolina, in the United States.
The lowest Polestar price is $59,900 plus on-road costs, for the base model Polestar 2.
Polestar models available in Australia
The only Polestar EV currently available in Australia is the Polestar 2, which, like The Godfather 2, is considered to be an excellent and worthy continuation from the first one.
The Polestar 1 coupe, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), never made it to Australia on account of it only being developed for left-hand drive, making the all-electric Polestar 2 the first EV from the brand available to Australian drivers. It has been discontinued overseas, its production run ending with 25 limited-edition models in a bespoke matte gold exterior paint, giving them the look of Academy Awards on wheels, but faster.
Set to take on the world’s most popular EV, the similarly sized Tesla Model 3, the Polestar 2 crossover is launching in Australia with three variants, starting with a base model that retails for $59,900, plus on-road costs. This basic version of the car is front-wheel drive and comes with 470km of range (the equivalent Tesla Model 3 has a claimed range of 491km).
Those with a spare $5K to spend can upgrade to the Single Motor Long Range Polestar 2, which goes for $64,900, plus on-road costs. For the extra coin you’ll get a significant range upgrade to 540km, although everything else is pretty much the same as the base model.
The top-tier option is the Dual Motor Long Range, which is more of a performance-focused model that goes for $69,900. For that price you’ll be upgraded to all-wheel drive (AWD) via a second motor that almost doubles the vehicles’ output, although the range is only slightly better than the base model, offering 480km.
The Polestar 2 is available in Australia from January 2022.
By the time 2022 is through, we should see the Polestar 3 arrive in Australia, which is being billed as a ‘luxury aero SUV’ (the idea of an SUV being aerodynamically sound is certainly futuristic sounding). It’s predicted to be in the same price range as the Porsche Cayenne SUV, which starts at $147,400 in Australia.
Those after a less-beefy SUV may be drawn to the smaller Polestar 4, which is set for a 2023 debut and sits in the same price range as the Porsche Macan (starting at $84,800).
Those looking for a sporty Polestar, one more in line with the origins of the brand, will have to wait until 2024, when the Polestar 5 races onto the local scene. The 5 will be a luxury sport GT four-door that, like the Polestar 4, will have 600km-plus of range in the high-spec variants. It’s expected to go head-to-head with the Porsche Panamera, which starts at $203,500 in Australia.
Upcoming higher-end Polestars will come packing the brand’s new electric powertrain, the P10 rear motor, which has an output of 450kW in rear-wheel-drive models, or 650kW in AWD models, plus battery sizes of up to 103kWh, with those batteries capable of bi-directional charging and reaching an 80 per cent charge in a rather swift 20 minutes