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Volvo’s Polestar 1 is a 600-HP Hybrid Sports Coupe With 150-Mile EV Range

Look out, Tesla. Look out, conventional automakers going deeper into the performance electric vehicle space. Volvo has spun off Polestar into a standalone performance EV brand, and the first vehicle to wear the new logo will be a 600-horsepower sports coupe with 150 miles of range before the hybrid’s gas engine kicks in.

The Polestar 1 will be built at a new plant under construction in Chengdu, China, which is scheduled to begin production in mid-2019. Polestar will only make 500 of the two-door, 2+2 seat Grand Tourer Coupe. Order banks opened today for handraisers, but pricing has not been announced.

At a press event in Shanghai, Polestar’s new CEO Thomas Ingenlath said two more vehicles are in the works. Although the Polestar 1 is a hybrid, all future models will be pure electric vehicles, a move that makes Tesla a direct competitor.

The Polestar 1 GT is the halo for the brand, Ingenlath said, and the first to wear the new Polestar logo on the hood. It makes its debut with 600 hp and 738 lb-ft (1,000 Nm) of torque, and its 150-mile range beats other hybrids on the market today and far exceeds anything the Volvo brand has done to date with its line of T8 hybrids.

The underpinnings for Polestar vehicles come from Volvo’s Scalable Platform Architecture or SPA, and the hybrid system in the Polestar 1 uses Volvo’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. But 50 percent of the Polestar 1 is new and bespoke from Polestar’s engineers, and Polestar’s future role is as the technology spearhead. Its innovation will trickle down to the rest of the Volvo Group.

The coupe is slightly smaller than the Volvo S90, with a shorter wheelbase and shorter rear end for sportier proportions, but there are definite Volvo styling cues both inside and out. The model bears a strong resemblance to the Volvo Concept Coupe that debuted in 2013.

The Polestar 1 has a carbon-fiber body, making it stiffer and lighter, and it is the first use of the Öhlins Continuously Controlled Electronic Suspension technology, which has an electronic valve for monitoring driver input and road conditions to react instantly.

On the powertrain side, the Polestar 1 has a new double electric rear axle, which enables torque vectoring for better cornering in this rear-drive electric performance car. The 2.0-liter gas engine powers the front wheels.

“We consider it an electric car with support from an internal combustion engine,” Ingenath said. He calls the hybrid a bridge to the rest of the all-electric lineup.

The Polestar 2 will be a midsized electric car that goes up against the Model 3. Tesla is currently struggling to ramp up production for the Model 3 and to keep it to an affordable price point. The Polestar 2 is in the engineering stage and is slated to begin production in late 2019. Although the Volvo Group has a number of hybrids, this will be its first full battery electric vehicle. It will be a higher volume vehicle than the Polestar 1.

The Polestar 3 is a fully electric SUV. The design is currently being locked in. It will slot between the Polestar 1 and Polestar 2 in volume and pricing. It will be on sale within four years.

The new brand also sets itself apart because all sales are online, and it has adopted a subscription model where the buyer signs up for two or three years. The buyer’s monthly payment allows them to add features such as pick up and delivery or the option to rent a bigger vehicle or add a roof box for the weekend at an incremental cost. The flat fee includes pick up for maintenance and other concierge services such as booking a car wash. Everything is ordered online.

There will be “Spaces” where customers can go for a test drive. They will be standalone—not in Volvo showrooms—but all Volvo dealerships will be able to provide service on Polestar vehicles. The first will open in early 2019.

China has decreed that automakers have to start making electric vehicles in 2019 in a bid to address air pollution. The ruling applies to domestic automakers, as well. Polestar is a subsidiary of the Volvo Car Group, which is owned by China’s Zhejiang Geely.

By using Volvo’s SPA platform, Polestar can get new vehicles to market quicker and also enjoy the cost savings of economies of scale, with big parts purchases shared across Volvo and Polestar.

Polestar dates back to Flash Engineering, a racing team in the 1990s. It was taken over by Christian Dahl in 2004 and renamed Polestar. The first Volvo performance vehicle from Polestar was a concept based on the C30 in 2010, and in 2013 the Volvo V60 and S60 Polestars went on sale. In 2015 Volvo bought Polestar from Dahl, giving it an in-house turning brand.

The post Volvo’s Polestar 1 is a 600-HP Hybrid Sports Coupe With 150-Mile EV Range appeared first on Motor Trend.

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